The lights are on
Note: This interview originally ran in the E3 Hot 50 issue of Game Informer magazine.
Ed Boon has been a well-known name in the gaming industry ever since Mortal Kombat became a cultural phenomenon in the early ‘90s. Despite having almost two decades of experience in the genre, Injustice is his first fighting game that exists entirely outside of the Mortal Kombat universe. We had a chance to speak with Boon about his plans for the game.
How obscure are you looking to get with the character lineup? Are we going to get a lot of characters that only hardcore comic fans will recognize, or is it mostly going to consist of mainstream names?
I think the majority will be pretty mainstream, but we definitely have appearances that some of the more hardcore guys will be happy with. Obviously with a game like this when we’re launching a franchise, fingers crossed, we want to appeal to as many people as possible with recognizable characters. But at the same time, we certainly aren’t going to forget that these characters started out as comic book characters. They’ve expanded into a number of different media of course, but at their core these guys were comic book guys and we want to satisfy those fanatics.
Did DC have any input on what characters they wanted to include, or did you guys approach them with a list of who you were hoping for?
They definitely suggested some, but I don’t think they ever said to us, “This person has to be in it.” We started this conversation quite a long time ago and we were aware of the New 52 launch that was coming, and we knew which characters were being put center stage. We wanted to be consistent with that, because we’re definitely not going to forget the comic book fans. But they never said to us, “You have to have Superman in the game, you have to have Batman,” even though we would have done it for any other character.
Do you have a certain amount of freedom with the story?
The story for why they’re fighting each other is completely original. We aren’t following the timeline of the New 52 or any of the other timelines for the DC characters. The character designs are ours…the version of Superman is ours, the version of Batman is ours. It went through the whole DC approval process, certainly, and we worked with them with the story as well as the universe that we’re creating, which is a NetherRealm version.
How violent are you allowed to get with these characters?
Understandably, a lot of people ask, “are you going to have fatalities? Are you going to do this?” That’s specifically because we are NetherRealm Studios, we did Mortal Kombat, we have done a bunch of Mortal Kombats, and I think there is an assumption that this is part of every game that we do. But the real message is that this is brand new, that this game has its own identity and we don’t feel like we have to follow any kind of previous template of Mortal Kombat. While we are very proud of the Mortal Kombat legacy we have, it’s certainly not part of this game. This game has its own identity.
How do you balance the powers of the characters? Is the story going to explain why Bruce Wayne can stand up against Superman in this universe?
Absolutely. Since we are trying to do a realistic interpretation of these characters, we aren’t trying to make them look like the animated characters or anything like that. You see a game like Marvel vs Capcom and it has Thor, this gigantic, Superman-like character fighting someone like Ryu or Ken or Mega Man. Not many people question that, because it’s presented in such an animated way. But our stuff seems to be more like, “Okay, well seriously, how will Batman fight against Superman?” We definitely explain it in the story, and we try to keep it on some level of believability.
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