Interview: Ed Boon on The Ups and Downs of the Mortal Kombat Franchise

With Mortal Kombat vs. DC hitting stores today, we caught up with the creator of the long-running series to find out more about his collaboration with DC, the promise of downloadable content, and much more.

by Gary Eng Walk on Monday, November 17, 2008

Interview: Ed Boon on The Ups and Downs of the Mortal Kombat Franchise

GameDaily BIZ: Given the notoriety Mortal Kombat has had over the years, was it tough convincing DC to let you put their A-list super-heroes in this game?

BOON:: No it wasn't. Everybody knew from the start that we weren't going to be doing the over-the-top violence that Mortal Kombat is known for in this game. From the very beginning we knew we were going to be doing a T-rated game. None of us really expected that we would be able to have Superman rip Sub-Zero's arms off.

BIZ: Was anyone on the development team upset that this game wouldn't be a super-violent M-rated title?

BOON:: We assumed the only way DC would accept this game was to make a T-rated game. When you play the game for a while, you completely forget. The game is so brutal, there's blood. People associate a T-rated game with an E-rated game. There's actually quite a bit that you'll be surprised that we were allowed to do. It feels just like a Mortal Kombat game. It's still the brutal, intense fighting experience that Mortal Kombat has always been.

"I'd like to have [DLC] as soon as possible. I think that might be a great Christmas gift to reinvigorate the game."

BIZ: Did DC set limits on how you depicted their characters?

BOON:: They did. They gave us a guide to what the characters do but for the most part we were very familiar with what the DC characters were all about. I grew up reading DC comics. The characters we selected we knew very well. We knew Superman wasn't going to kill anyone. We were 90% familiar with what those limits would be. It was a pretty smooth process.

BIZ: There are hundreds of heroes and villains in the DC Universe. What criteria did you use to arrive at the roster we see in the game?

BOON:: I think our main criteria for selecting characters on the DC side as well as on the Mortal Kombat side was recognizability or popularity. The first seven characters I think everyone was in agreement should be in the game: Batman, Superman, Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, the Joker, Lex Luthor...then it became a little bit blurrier. We added Captain Marvel, Catwoman, and Deathstroke. Those weren't blatantly obvious choices but they fit better with the Mortal Kombat universe than somebody else, like Martian Manhunter. For the Mortal Kombat side it was same thing – it was the most recognizable characters (that made the cut): Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Liu Kang, Kitana...

BIZ: Do you get a lot of comic book fans walking up to you to whine about their favorite superhero not making the cut in this game?

BOON:: No. I think [the characters we chose] are the most popular. I think that pretty much encompassed 90% of the audience. We'd hear people complaining if we didn't have Superman in the game. ... There was the occasional person who said Lobo or Doomsday or someone like that [should have made the cut] but we're hoping to do downloadable content on this game, so that could also be a great opportunity to add some of the ones that were left out.

BIZ: So the architecture is already in place that would allow gamers to buy and add additional characters for this game?

BOON:: Absolutely; that was always the plan from the beginning. When the game goes on sale and it does as well as we expect it to, we would certainly jump into doing downloadable content. We programmed the game to accept downloadable content because it's a great thing to extend the life of it.

BIZ: Approximately how much time is going to go by before you decide to offer more superheroes as DLC?

BOON:: I can't imagine it being far off. The game is most in people's consciousness [right after purchase] – people like to buy a game and then move onto another one. I'd like to have it as soon as possible. I think that might be a great Christmas gift to reinvigorate the game.


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