Gamescom 2010

Mortal Kombat Built For Post-Launch Balancing

by Andrew Reiner on Aug 19, 2010 at 08:41 AM

Even the best, most dedicated QA team can miss a few problems with a game. In fighting games, particularly those with dozens of playable characters, balancing it all can be a nightmare. When players discover an exploit in a shooter or an overpowered move in a fighting game, it can ruin the experience for everyone. Neverrealm Studios is keenly aware of that fact, and they've incorporated a clever solution into their Mortal Kombat reboot.

"This isn't really something we talk much about, but we've put hooks in the game to let us balance things even after the game is launched," says Ed Boon, one of the creators of the original Mortal Kombat and creative director at Neverrealm. "So there are basically global rules with all of the detailed numbers, and we can tweak that even after the game is launched. So if suddenly we find out that somebody's uppercut can be repeated, we can turn this knob down and fix it after the game is out--and it doesn't need a patch or anything."

That's a pretty slick solution to a fairly common problem. While it doesn't excuse sloppy playtesting (which doesn't seem to be the case with Mortal Kombat), taking those factors into account during the development process makes fixing those inevitable exploits easier. And that's something gamers should be behind.

Check out Game Informer online next week for the full transcription of our Ed Boon interview. We talk about stories in fighting games, his past work in providing voices for pinball machines, and plenty more about Mortal Kombat, too.