Mortal Kombat VS DC: Midway Interview
Midway's Senior Producer Hans Lo reveals the secrets of the DC Universe tie-in.
The Mortal Kombat and DC universes have this in common: both are beset by formidable red-pen-wielding hosts of nit-picky fans versed in every last plot twist, signature move or fatal character flaw.
They differ, however, in that while DC heroes like Superman, Batman and Wonderwoman are sportsmanlike enough to let enemies get away with a stern admonishment and time behind bars, Mortal Kombat's Raiden and Sub-Zero can't call a victory complete unless they've ripped somebody's head off, spun it on one finger, and slam-dunked it back into their opponent's still-vertical corpse, causing said opponent to explode into lumps of firey intestine. It's one of those 'closure' things, we suspect.
So what happens when you have one versus the other? Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, that's what. Yeah, we were surprised too. So surprised, in fact, that we got in touch with Hans Lo, the game's Senior Producer, to discuss things in depth. Read on for details of toned-down fatalities, a weighty storyline and even the possibility of a Marvel vs. DC cross-over.
Kikizo: How long have you been with Midway?
Lo: Four years.
Kikizo: And is this your first Mortal Kombat project?
Lo: No, I was actually a tester on Mortal Kombat: Unchained for PSP and Mortal Kombat: Armageddon for all the systems.
Kikizo: I want to just start off with a slightly immature question - back in the day it was all about Mortal Kombat versus Street Fighter, so which do you think was best?!
Lo: At first I was a huge Street Fighter head when I was a little kid, but the first time I saw Mortal Kombat I just thought it was hilarious. I saw humour in it, whereas everybody else was freaked out - I thought it was hilarious that you were doing... like, who's had the sick mind to come up with something like that? And now here I am fifteen years later working with Ed Boon and it cracks me up. And it totally makes sense, getting to know him and his warped sense of humour... It makes all the games make sense.
Kikizo: It's great he's still at the helm - how long has the franchise been around, fifteen years? Not many people stick to a series that long.
Lo: Yeah exactly, it's definitely a true a juggernaut franchise. So is Street Fighter - Street Fighter's been around a long time - but Street Fighter is a little more technical. You have a Street Fighter 3 kind of game versus an MK game - people are going to have more fun with MK just because it's a lot simpler. You hit buttons and something cool happens, not having to sit there and be technical and get everything just right...
Kikizo: It's interesting that you mention it's funny - I absolutely agree. Everybody wet themselves over the gore side but it's laugh-out-loud if you don't take it seriously...
Lo: It's a game - it's entertainment! It's like watching the last Rambo movie, the one that just came out, it's like violent porn - seeing him turn around and shoot somebody and their head blows up. You're laughing about it because it's just not real.
Kikizo: Have you been able to get away with similar gore levels given that you're using the DC IP?
Lo: They mandated that we had to do the "T" rating and it did take away the over-the-top thing, but that was something that I think needed to happen. I mean this is something... We've always defaulted to "all right, rip his leg out and beat him with it," or "rip his heart out" or just put blood on the screen. But now we can't do that, so what do we do now? We've tried to make fatalities more bizarre and disturbing versus just over-the-top gore, and by doing that we've sharpened our gory ideas too! The ideas that we had for Batman's fatalities were crazy, awesome, but we'll just put them in the bank and there's going to be plenty of Mortal Kombats in the future.