Q: What are the core principles that each Mortal Kombat game is built around?
The core idea is always to introduce something that differentiates this game from not only the other Mortal Kombat games, but also other fighting games. Sometimes thats one, two or three big things: like in Mortal Kombat 9 we had been 3D before so we said lets go back to 2D, lets bring all these old characters that we havent seen in a while back in. And also to tell a really elaborate story was a big goal for that game too.
So its kind of like: what hasnt been done before? Why should I care about Mortal Kombat X? And I think character variations and all these online modes, and everything else that were gonna be announcing, are going to have as big or bigger of an impact than even Mortal Kombat 9 had.
Q: Why is now the right time to bring in character variations?
A lot of attention in Mortal Kombat 9 went into eSports, EVO, tournament kind of stuff; features that the hardcore guys are really going to get into. And in talking to a lot of them, what they talk about is what they call match-ups. Like theyll say Scorpion is a good match-up for Raiden, Raiden is a bad match-up for Mileena, then they rank all the characters.
But some people just love a character, so we asked what we could do to make certain characters match up better with others? So we just came up with a different version of, for example, Sub-Zero a version of Sub-Zero thats better up-close, a Sub-Zero that plays better from afar, a projectile-based one, a clone-based one and that kind of spiderwebbed into every character done like that.
Q: The cinematic, B movie campaign was arguably MK9s strongest feature. Wheres that headed this time around?
Well, you know, ironically we never promoted that in MK9. It just was there and it took people by surprise: it was like, oh my God, what is this?, you know? And, quite honestly, back then I was saying we should be jumping up and down talking about this!
So we havent announced [MKXs story mode] yet, but if we were to do something like this, when you think about it, we have all the way up to April to talk about the game. Id be surprised if we never mention it!
Q. How do you see the health of the traditional beat-em-up at the moment?
Obviously in the 90s it was the category of games, and then over time I think they got too complicated I think a number of games came out that required that you study them, take a college course, and then you are at the entry level. And people just dont have that kind of time to invest; they just want to have fun. So there was a few years where they were just too complicated.
And then in 2008 Street Fighter IV came out, and in 2011 Mortal Kombat 9 came out. I think those two games going back to 2D and simplifying the whole thing, the whole process, the whole ten-hit-string thing, simplifying all that I think that brought a lot of people back to being able to have fun with a fighting game and not have to take a course in it. So I think that was a big part of it.