Interview: Ed Boon on The Ups and Downs of the Mortal Kombat Franchise
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BIZ: What's your favorite Mortal Kombat game? I know you're almost obligated to say Mortal Kombat vs. DC, so maybe I should be asking what is your second-most favorite?
BOON:: Of the 2-D games, my favorite was Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. I know a lot of people like Mortal Kombat 2 as their favorite but to me I like the faster pace of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 with the run button. Mortal Kombat Deception was my favorite of the 3-D games but I do like the way Mortal Kombat vs. DC plays better than Deception.
BIZ: The Mortal Kombat franchise has had its ups and downs over the years. What was its lowest point? It had to be Mortal Kombat: The Live Tour, right?
"My recollection is that the only Mortal Kombat game that did not make money was Special Forces... I can't imagine them stopping the whole series. It's been going for 16 years."
BOON:: (laughs) That was one of them but my feeling would be Mortal Kombat Special Forces. The game had a pretty bumpy development ride and the game didn't turn out very good at all.
BIZ: You provided the voice of Scorpion in both movie versions of Mortal Kombat. What qualified you to be a really scary badass ninja?
BOON:: You know what? At the time we did the first Mortal Kombat, our production budget was really low. We'd just use voices from people on the team for all the yells, grunts, and all that. We came up with the spear move and I just thought it would be funny to have him yell out "Get over here!" when he did it. So they just said "Well, why don't you get behind the microphone and do it."
BIZ: Be honest, do you ever look in the mirror in the morning and growl, "Flawless Victory"?
BOON:: Never ever.
BIZ: Speaking of Mortal Kombat movies, what's the deal with these rumblings that a new one is happening? Total B.S.?
BOON:: No, it's definitely not total B.S.! It's been in the works for quite a while so it's hard to tell exactly where it is in production. I have been sent several revisions of scripts and commented back and forth, so I know that there is work being done on it.
BIZ: I predict no matter what direction they take the movie in, they'll leave out the techno soundtrack.
BOON:: I hope you're right.
BIZ: There was a time when your name and John Tobias' name went hand-in-hand since you're both credited with creating Mortal Kombat. Are you past the point where people can say your name and not John's, or is this a Hall and Oates, Mary Kate and Ashley, Bert and Ernie kind of thing?
BOON:: I'd like to think of it as more of a Lennon and McCartney thing. John left Midway almost 10 years ago, but at the same time I don't think he should be erased from the Mortal Kombat history. He and I were the ones who came up with the original game and the sequel and Mortal Kombat 3. And then around Mortal Kombat 4, he started doing the Mythologies and then he left while he was working on Special Forces. I went on to do Deadly Alliance. By then the team was 20-30 people. I certainly don't have a problem with him still being associated (with the franchise) because he did so much for those early games.
BIZ: What's the future of Mortal Kombat? How did Midway's recent layoffs affect the team that worked on Mortal Kombat vs. DC?
BOON:: The statement that Midway let go a substantial portion of the people who worked on this game is completely false. I think I would know. Our team is intact and we're already discussing the next game and what we want to do. Mortal Kombat is on pretty solid footing. Right now we're looking at how this game performs and I think it will have a good amount to do with what features we put in the next game.
BIZ: For argument's sake, let's just say this game doesn't sell as well as the bean-counters at Midway expect. Can you ever see a scenario where they would stop publishing Mortal Kombat games?
BOON:: My recollection is that the only Mortal Kombat game that did not make money was Special Forces. So the other ones have been successful. I can't imagine them stopping the whole series. It's been going for 16 years.
BIZ: Many thanks for your time.
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