Ed Boon, creative director at developer NetherRealm, talks about finishing moves and his favourite brawlers exclusively with PlayStation.com.
Mortal Kombat is one of the most enduring and popular fighting games of the last 20 years. Now, its iconic blend of mysticism and outrageous combat is set to grace PlayStation Vita. Here, series co-creator Ed Boon explains how Mortal Kombat has been given a new lease of life on PS Vita.
What appealed in bringing Mortal Kombat to PS Vita?
We've had really good experiences with PSP. We worked on Mortal Kombat: Unchained and we were happy with the process. It made sense to have a look at making something for PS Vita. Once we got the details of the system, we realised how close we could get to bringing the Mortal Kombat we released on PlayStation 3 to PS Vita. We got really excited at the prospect of a handheld version of that game.
And how has the team at NetherRealm found working with PS Vita?
The experience has been very good. One of the big advantages has been the graphics environment. It's very similar to what we're able to run on PS3, which gives you an idea of how strong the handheld is. That let us hit the ground running and put content into the game right away. It was yet another positive factor that showed us it made sense to bring Mortal Kombat to PS Vita.
Can you explain how Fatalities work on the touchscreen?
We wanted to do something that took advantage of what is special about PS Vita, and the touchscreen really sets it apart. The reality is that when you hear "Finish Him!", the clock is ticking and there's a relatively complex button combination to master. As fun as it was to learn them, some players could not perform those moves. We just wanted to create an alternative method of performing Fatalities that was more accessible to people.
Can people switch between button presses and touchscreen prompts?
Yes, that's an option.
Can you tell us a little more about the Challenge Tower mode specific to PS Vita?
The Challenge Tower that we had in the original PS3 game consisted of 300 challenges; we created 150 new ones on PS Vita. One feature we wanted to highlight was the PS Vita system's motion sensors. We created a new mini-game where you have to balance by tilting the system while body parts are being thrown at you. If you get hit you fall into this pit where a really gruesome death awaits.
Which PS Vita games have stood out for you so far?
We always try to stay humble and acknowledge other games' accomplishments and Uncharted: Golden Abyss looks especially nice, as does Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3. I do think that Mortal Kombat really shines among a lot of the games that are out. That's been a lot of the feedback we've had.
Why do you think Mortal Kombat is so popular after 20 years?
I feel it's because we haven't been afraid to introduce pretty radical changes to the formula. I'm a fan of a lot of our competition in the fighting game field, and some of them have come out with really solid experiences.
However, although Mortal Kombat is something people will have played before to some extent, we've always tried to introduce something new to each game, something nobody has seen before. That's how we answer the "Why should I care?" question, and it can be attributed to why we're still releasing games that do incredibly well for us.
Can you shed a little light on NetherRealms' Fatality meetings? Are you ever worried about what your staff are going away and thinking about?
Yes, I am! For every Fatality that we use, we certainly leave a number of ideas deemed inappropriate or too big in scale on the cutting room floor. They usually require months of work for one special move. We're not going to pursue that kind of thing.
You've already ventured down the mash-up route with Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe. What else would be on your wish list, if you had a free hand?
We have the same wish list as the people who ask us that question. It'd be great if some day we could do Mortal Kombat versus Street Fighter. Those two are the fighting series with the biggest rivalry.
Having guest characters is certainly fun but I think the novelty would soon wear off. Going back to the "Why should I care?" question, new features and great gameplay are more important than cameo appearances.
Dare you enter the legendary fighting tournament of Mortal Kombat on PS Vita? Pick up a copy in-store or download it from PlayStation Store to your PS Vita now.
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