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Mortal Kombat watches you play, fixes balancing issues when you're not looking

It'd be easy to cross Mortal Kombat off as a mindless, gore-soaked fighter, but it turns out the game has as much brains as it does blood. NetherRealm has revealed details of its new gameplay technology that works in the background to balance fighting mechanics on the fly without ever tipping off players.

In his chat with Eurogamer, series creator Ed Boon said NetherRealm shipped Mortal Kombat with a system that can monitor match-ups and scale the power of certain moves or combos when it needs to in order to keep the fight fair and balanced at all times.

"If an infinite were to come out, or a character is too powerful, we can make adjustments and address those things immediately," explained Boon, who noted the system works as a 'mini-update' which circumvents normal patching practices and allows NetherRealm the wherewithal to analzye real-time game data and upload necessary balancing tweaks. 

"It's something that's built into our system. We can do it without having players have to download a patch. That's something we're very excited about. We can monitor what things players may have an issue with and then correct them as needed,” he added. Meanwhile, Capcom tends to handle its Street Fighter balancing issues by releasing new editions (Super SFIV, Arcade Edition), while MvC3 did feature a patch that toned down the insanity that is Sentinel (among other things). That said, it sounds like NetherRealm's solution is much faster and more dynamic, leading to more frequent, smaller updates.

Our initial review of Mortal Kombat found its balancing system in need of slight repair, but it sounds like Boon and his team are still fine-tuning. Are you ok with NetherRealm watching you play?

[Source: Eurogamer]

Apr 21, 2011

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20 comments

  • jmcgrotty - April 22, 2011 10:05 a.m.

    I actually don't mind this at all, but I am shocked that there isn't a huge uproar about it. This might have been talked about before, or might say it when you buy the game (I don't have it), but does this mean you need a persistant internet connection and/or need to occasionally connect for these non-update updates? Spybreak8, you made an awesome point about Microsoft. I wonder if this means that they found a loophole into updating a Xbox 360 game without MS approving the patch.
  • jmcgrotty - April 22, 2011 10:04 a.m.

    I actually don't mind this at all, but I am shocked that there isn't a huge uproar about it. This might have been talked about before, or might say it when you buy the game (I don't have it), but does this mean you need a persistant internet connection and/or need to occasionally connect for these non-update updates? Spybreak8, you made an awesome point about Microsoft. I wonder if this means that they found a loophole into updating a Xbox 360 game without MS approving the patch.
  • Robusken - April 22, 2011 5:31 a.m.

    as long as it only affects the CPU. If anyone tries to actually work at this game to become good at it, those kind of secret fixes are gonna throw everything off.
  • Heyexclamationpoint - April 22, 2011 2:48 a.m.

    But Shao Kahn is still nowhere near as cheap as Seth from SF4 was. THAT bastard was just infuriating!
  • Heyexclamationpoint - April 22, 2011 2:47 a.m.

    It'd be nice if they tweaked Shao Kahn a bit so that you could possibly beat him with a strategy besides "Projectile Spam Overkill". Seriously, the only way I got past Shao Kahn in Story Mode with Liu Kang (during Kung Lao's chapter) was by unleashing an endless barrage of low fireballs.
  • Spybreak8 - April 22, 2011 12:20 a.m.

    *every, sorry excited too much to type haha I also forgot to say this is good, having to wait for Microsoft to test every single patch slows the process down imo.
  • Spybreak8 - April 22, 2011 12:16 a.m.

    And yet ever time I play Hexic HD, more times than none I have to download a small update?! lol
  • BonesawisreadyforsomeFootball - April 21, 2011 11:22 p.m.

    My Noob Saibot is getting worried.
  • iSeeDeadKittens - April 21, 2011 9:45 p.m.

    Just got this in the mail yesterday and I'm very happy to hear about this. Much better solution than SF (not slandering the creators as I love the series but this is far more efficient and consumer friendly) and I'm hoping to see it in action once PSN gets fixed. Anyone up for fighting an Aussie online when it does? :P :P
  • GreenLeader - April 21, 2011 9:08 p.m.

    I'd love it if Shao Kahn wasn't nearly invulnerable....
  • Bitchslapthehomeless - April 21, 2011 8:04 p.m.

    As of now, I'd just like the King of the Hill lag to be worked on and the ability to find a ranked match. Everything else is pretty gravy for now.
  • RebornKusabi - April 21, 2011 7:43 p.m.

    I'm fine with this. As a fighting game fan, I hate constant balance patches and ESPECIALLY Capcoms tactic with the Street Fighter series.... this isn't the goddamn 90's so re-releasing a game just to balance it is outdated and retarded. I have noticed that during the story mode, if you're stuck at an opponent (like Shao Kahn), the A.I. will suddenly go "egotistic" and start taunting you after every hit (even if they miss), giving you time to uppercut him or combo him. But that sounds like an A.I. thing and not multi-player balancing tech.
  • Sinosaur - April 21, 2011 7:12 p.m.

    @db1331 Hey, as long as you don't play with Kinect on, they won't know when you're getting off on watching Sonya Blade's skull get ripped out her ass. But if you do want to leave it on, I'm sure they can make minor tweaks to optimize the amount of blood for your pleasure.
  • GamesRadarMatthewKeast - April 21, 2011 6:50 p.m.

    I hope they are going to release patch notes, because "stealth" balance changes are annoying if you care about knowing which of your moves are effective.
  • Hotdogkilledyou - April 21, 2011 6:46 p.m.

    "If an infinite were to come out, or a character is too powerful, we can make adjustments and address those things immediately," Then why can I barely land a punch on Shao Kahn?
  • Taterade - April 21, 2011 6:34 p.m.

    I approve of this feature.
  • db1331 - April 21, 2011 6:25 p.m.

    Mortal Kombat is watching you fap.
  • StrayGator - April 21, 2011 6:23 p.m.

    Monday Night Combat has a similar system. Here's a PA post that explains how it works: http://www.penny-arcade.com/2010/8/9/too-deep/
  • RoeTaKa - April 21, 2011 6:19 p.m.

    Great Idea. Theoretically does this mean it should be rated higher than reviews currently show?
  • SpaceCowboy - April 21, 2011 6:16 p.m.

    Sounds pretty cool. Really looking foward to getting this game tomorrow.

Showing 1-20 of 20 comments

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