The lights are on
Ed Boon has been a part of Mortal Kombat since the series began. He programmed the first game, back when a team of four could realistically tackle such a project. As creative director for NetherRealm, Boon is charged with overseeing the latest installment in the series, which is simply titled Mortal Kombat.We sat down with Boon at last week's Gamescom, and talked about his pinball past, the evolution of the series, and how the Internet marked the beginning of the end of gaming secrets.Game Informer: Now, obviously Wikipedia is the greatest source around for background research and fact-checking. Anyway, on Wikipedia it says you did the voice of Rudy from the pinball game Funhouse. Is that true?Ed Boon: Yes. Yes it is. They actually gave me one of those just for doing Rudy.GI: Was that voice all you, or was it electronically enhanced?Boon: No, it was just me. Back in the day, I did voices for about 10 pinball machines. At the time, if someone else at the company [Williams] needed a voice, they didn’t hire actors at the time. I was just somebody who could do different voices, so they’d say, ‘Oh, come in and do this James Cagney voice.’GI: Do you miss pinball, particularly the fact that so few tables are being made?Boon: Yeah, it’s kind of a drag that there’s only one company making them. It would be a shame to see it extinct.GI: No doubt. So I guess we can talk about Mortal Kombat, too. First off, I know it’s important to the degree that it’s included, but honestly, how important do you think a storyline is to a fighting game?Boon: You know, in terms of the repetitive back to back, fight fight fight, who’s going to win it, it doesn’t play a big part. But I think that certainly for Mortal Kombat, there’s this other component, which is our ongoing soap opera. The first Mortal Kombat game was the first one that really had a bio for each character, and I think that contributed to peoples’ connection with the characters. To me, it’s like what are the special moves they do, how cool is their costume, and what’s their back story? I don’t think it was the main reason—they played them because they played cool—but those things made more of an emotional bond. And then we extended it so far with full-motion video and actors that it became cinematic.
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