At Mortal Kombat 11: The Reveal in London, ]{0MBAT got a chance to interview the three NetherRealm Studios developers who attended the event—Erin Piepergerdes , Derek Kirtzic, and Shaun Himmerick! What we learned about MK11 can be found in the videos and summaries below.

Erin Pipergerdes

Erin discussed some of the different modes available – standard 1P or 2P modes, and also "Towers of Time" that sounds similar to the challenge towers from previous games, with different factors that influence the fights, but that change every so often. He also explained that the various game modes will provide the player with rewards, which can then be applied to the character’s customization. Some of these customizations will include character intros, victory screens, special moves, augments for the character, and of course, gear (which includes examples like various masks, weapon tips, clothing, etc.). He also acknowledged that there was some influence from the Injustice gear system that inspired the system Mortal Kombat 11 uses, but with an MK twist and that there will be near-infinite possibilities. The game introduces new meters (one for offense and one for defense). X-ray moves are gone, replaced by Fatal Blows—which can be used when your health bar dips below 30%, but can only be used once per game. He also revealed that the time goddess, Kronika (possibly the final boss?) plans to use her time powers to reset the timeline. Not too much more can be said about story mode, but fans can infer that this will put her at odds with characters like Raiden (responsible for the new timeline) as well as Jacqui Briggs, Cassie Cage, Kung Jin, and Takeda (who only exist in the new timeline).

Derek Kirtzic

Derek discusses some of the work that goes into the new game. From an artistic perspective, a lot of work went into refining two aspects of the game’s visuals that were arguably the most important to the franchise in distinguishing itself early on: photorealism, and blood. They use new technology to do 3D face scans of actual actors, so their movements look more realistic and accurate than ever. There is also a complete overhaul of the blood system, which incorporates physics to ensure that blood spurts are not merely triggered by an event but flow correctly. He went into detail on some of the new characters, Kronika and the character who appears to be her right-hand man, Gerus. They both manipulate time, but in fights, Gerus can adjustments to the actual clock, either adding or removing seconds, which adds an entirely different level of gameplay. He can also use his powers over time stop his opponent in time. He expanded greatly on the "Towers of Time", which includes "consumables." This allows the player to add health back to their energy bar, or even call in other characters, like Sub-Zero, to give an assist during the fight. They can also equip items like a Cyrax net, a Sub-Zero iceball, and a Shinnok dead arm, to assist during a fight. This allows to set up some amazing and intricate combos. Even though this is a one-player mode, there is also an online competitive aspect to it, as players who do well on the leaderboards will receive additional rewards. He also said that developers have not implemented crossplay although there is a strong hope that something like that can be added to a future game.

Shaun Himmerick

Shaun explains some of the gameplay changes in MK11 as well as the reasons behind them. For example, competitive players in esports rarely used the X-ray moves as they took too much meter. New super moves, such as Crushing Blows and Fatal Blows, does not require a meter. Instead, it can only be used once per game. This introduces a new element of strategy, forcing players to decide whether to use it early or save it for Round 2 or Round 3. Additionally, if players miss the Fatal Blow, they have an opportunity to attempt it again, although there is a brief cooldown period. Shaun expanded more on the "Towers of Time" and the role that the consumables will play. The example he provided was that Sub-Zero’s "Crystal of Justice" might do double damage to characters with fire abilities, or cut the damage done by fire attacks in half. When asked about DLC, Shaun explained that their focus now has been entirely on making MK11 as good as it possibly can on launch day. DLC can only be justified if the game has a successful launch. He also shared one of the techniques used to make MK11’s graphics look better; this involves scanning in textures of materials (rather than artists drawing them in a canvas) so that the photorealism is brought to the next level. This is a technique that started with testing in Injustice 2, the way they scanned in a real pizza.

One other important thing that Shaun mentioned: the game looks the best when running on an Xbox One X. This is actually the system that is used for the official gameplay trailer videos, as none of the other systems (even the traditional Xbox One) has the power and capabilities.

A special thanks to MKDan from MK Universe for his support at the event!