The search for the perfect guest character is an art of balancing license availability, and the will to create a suitable game version. NetherRealm Studios may seem indiscriminate in their ever expanding collection of crossover fighters, but as Ed Boon told Gameinformer in a recent interview, the vetting process sees many characters disqualified.
Boon reveals Keanu Reeves' hero Neo from Warner Brothers millennial franchise The Matrix was in consideration for Mortal Kombat (2011): "I remember they brought up Neo. So there were a whole bunch of ones that for business reasons or that creatively we didn’t think they’d fit."
The martial arts messiah may have lost his lustre by 2011, but could have been a fun inclusion with creative grace. Neo combines the kung fu movie action that inspired the original Mortal Kombat games with a unique, green hued sci-fi gloss that became its trademark. The characters powers theoretically only work within the simulated reality of The Matrix itself, but given no guest character can ever carry true consequence, accepting Neo in MK as just another simulation isn't so tough!
It was the near miss of downloadable characters in 2008's aborted Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe post-release support that encouraged NetherRealm to go deeper into DLC options.
When the developer was acquired from bankrupt Midway Games by Warner Brothers [full story], a world of inter-company characters was opened up to them. Speaking to GameInformer about Warner Bros' collaborative offerings, he elaborates, "... TV and movies and video games. Stuff like that. So that just kind of gave us access to some of these characters through whatever business deals they did." The studio would then be shown a list of "10, 15 characters" they could use.
In the past we've learned about the consideration or availability of a small roster of characters: Sweet Tooth, Marcus Fenix, The T-800 and Michael Meyers. As well as the characters who have made it into games: Kratos, Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, The Predator, Carl Weathers, Alien and Leatherface.
With Neo added, we're getting very close to a full spread of a dozen crossover properties. Injustice 2 is the next game likely to feature misplaced characters, with Boon recently polling fan interest in a short list.
On the persisting choice of horror icons in Mortal Kombat, he notes: "We kind of realized that the horror characters tend to lend themselves to it." A reference to the graphic fatalities that often grab attention over the martial arts of the bulk of the game. The developer has noted an open mind toward creating a dedicated fighting game starring movie maniacs.
[Related Topic: Kountdown: Top 10 Kombat Guests for Injustice 2]
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