The fighting game genre is back in full swing. The Japanese and US release of Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition is generating a lot of buzz and Marvel vs Capcom 3 is a week away from release.
April will see the long-awaited return of Mortal Kombat, which has caught the attention of classic MK fans by returning to its roots.
We sat down to Mortal Kombat series mastermind Ed Boon to talk about the return to hardcore roots, cameos from the God of War and his favourite MK characters.
So the new MK is a 2D affair and a conscious attempt to cater for the more hardcore player. Can you tell us how the game aims to do this?
We've placed a lot of focus on providing a deeper gameplay experience that will appeal to the more hardcore player. One of the ways we're doing that is by the use of the power meter, with which you'll be able to pull off breakers, enhanced special moves and the new X-Ray move.
Each move will take up an amount of what is built up in the power meter, so players will need to be strategic in how they use it. Combo attacks are much more organic in how you create and link them.
Most players will be able to pull off two-hit and three-hit combos, and the more hardcore players will be challenged with creating larger combo attacks. It all gives the game a level of depth we've never had before.
Does the move back to a purely 2D plane make developing Mortal Kombat harder or easier?
It's not so much a case of easier or harder, but more a different approach to how people play the game.
You've got God of War's Kratos as a special character. He seems to be a very natural fit. Did you lobby for it or did Sony approach you?
A little bit of both actually. In our discussions with Sony we all wanted a character that was unique to the PS3, and Kratos was at the top of everyone's list. His look and fight style are very compatible to the MK universe.
Everyone is really excited about this opportunity, and it's been great working with the God of War team in making this happen.
What kind of character would you describe Kratos as?
Kratos is very much a power character, in that his attacks can do a lot of damage. After all, he is the God of War. In terms of signature moves, we've made a very conscious effort to keep him true to form, so fans will see some classic Kratos moves in the game.
What kind of considerations are there when importing a character from another game?
With any great IP, there are guidelines that must be followed. We're working really closely with the God of War team to ensure that Kratos looks and feels the way gamers expect him to.
We have nothing but respect for the God of War development team, and our goal is to stay true to their creation.
In the new Mortal Kombat you seem to be reinventing your own IP, with Raiden re-writing events from the first three Mortal Kombat games. What challenges has this thrown up?
The storyline felt like the right thing for us to do. At the end of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, everyone was defeated, so the question was where do we go from here?
A reboot seemed to be a great idea that allowed us to go back to our roots and revisit the original Mortal Kombat arcade games, go back to the 2D fighting plane and return to a mature presentation featuring the Fatality.
Of course rewriting Mortal Kombat's history has its challenges. We wanted to give the fans something new, but at the same time stay true to the essence. It's a fine line to tread, and in the end we hope people will enjoy the retelling of the original story and the twists that come with it.