Mortal Combat Armageddon: Interview mit Co-Creator

von Richard Olbrecht (23. April 2007)

CVG hat nun ein Interview mit Ed Boon geführt, dem Co-Creator von Mortal Combat Armageddon.

So how have you found working with the Wii hardware in general? Has it been easier than you expected?

Ed Boon: It definitely has its challenges. Our goal was for simplicity, so we really wanted to have... When I say 'go left-right on the controller', you'll be amazed how many go from like this to this (waves Wii Remote around) and the goal was to try to accept the whole range of people's interpretations of what left-right is.

The hardware that's inside of here, programming that and making it universal, that's probably the biggest challenge.

Can you tell us more about the whole accessibility direction you've taken for Mortal Kombat: Armageddon on Wii?

Ed Boon: Mortal Kombat's been around since 1992 - I can't believe how long it's been. And since the beginning, one of the things that's separated us from other fighting games is the crazy moves we've put in it, like fireballs and all the magic moves, so to speak. And they've always been something that we've hid in the game and made it somewhat of a challenge to get. When we did that, it's a great feature because it's a level of skill you have to get to, but there were certain people who just couldn't get there, they just could not get the whole combination of the two.

So, we really wanted to make those moves more accessible, because the Wii player is more of a casual player - more people who might not have been playing videogames since the 1990s and whatnot. Our goal was to make it so as many people as possible could pick up the controller and go left-right with the thing to throw Scorpion's spear, or to go up-down and make somebody teleport. That was really the whole goal of the Wii Remote, to make more people be able to do moves that they couldn't do before.

Do you expect the hardcore Mortal Kombat fan who has a Wii to pick this version of Armageddon up even if they have it already on another platform?

Ed Boon: Well, we're hoping so. We didn't want to restrict the controls to be only Wii Remote, so we included the Classic controller as well as the GameCube controller as it's something that some people are also more used to. In addition we've added the Chameleon character who is exclusive only to the Wii, we've added the Endurance mode which is only for the Wii version, and we've added a new feature where you can make your character lay down and there's a whole set of attacks associated with that.

So we added more layers for people who might have already played Armageddon.

Is this Wii Remote system something you'd build on for future Mortal Kombat games on the platform?

Ed Boon: Yeah, for the Wii the controls are the unique feature of that system. In reality, Armageddon already existed, and we put the controls on a game that existed. But if we were to start from scratch and knew that we had these controls, we'd probably have been more ambitious with it, with the fighting mechanics, and integrate it even more into the basic fighting.

The Mortal Kombat series has been around for many years. How do you stay motivated and keep your passion for the series going?

Ed Boon: With Mortal Kombat we really haven't been afraid to introduce something new or to kind of like do a reset where we say 'OK, let's start all over'. Deadly Alliance was nothing like Mortal Kombat 4, and it was nothing like Mortal Kombat 3, it was just a complete reset. We feel that periodically we have to do that. Mortal Kombat 1, 2 and 3 were like the 2D games and then 4 was like the combination of 3D and 2D, and then Deadly Alliance was the multiple fighting styles.

I think for the next generation of Mortal Kombat games we're going to do that again, we're just going to reset, throw everything out and just start from scratch. I think that's one of the reasons why we've managed to sell even though we're on Mortal Kombat 8, in a sense - the fact that we're willing to add something dramatically new and different into the game.

There's been a lot of speculation about what you're doing for the next Mortal Kombat game...

Ed Boon: The only thing I can say at the moment is we are going to do a reset, we're going to throw everything from the previous Mortal Kombats, we're going to start from scratch and try to introduce as many new characters as possible, new features, new stuff like that and take advantage of the amazing presentation, graphics that all of a sudden you can do, things that are a lot more real.

It'll be a lot more realistic-looking, a lot grittier, dirtier, we're not going to joke around in this one, it's not going to be like jokes - it's going to be a real serious Mortal Kombat.

It's going to be a fighting game, definitely, but after that anything can go. We're not putting any restrictions like we HAVE to keep weapons or we HAVE to keep fighting styles and stuff like that.

So when are you going to start talking about the new Mortal Kombat game in full?

Ed Boon: It's probably not going to come out until then end of 2008, so I would imagine we probably wouldn't start talking about it until the beginning of 2008 maybe. So maybe another year or something like that. There's a lot of work, there's a lot of work that we're doing. The next-gen systems are so much work, it's overwhelming.

How will the power on tap will benefit the next game beyond visuals?

Ed Boon: There's just the visuals, the audio, the controller inputs. The PlayStation 3 controller has the motion sensor and whatnot and obviously the Wii, there's motions in there. We're just trying take advantage of all that, do the most we can with them.

Can we expect to see any more Mortal Kombat games released for download on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network?

Ed Boon: I would be surprised if we didn't do that. There's a lot of previous Mortal Kombat games to draw from that I would be surprised if we didn't do future downloadable versions - even exclusive versions that people never saw or something.

So there's a lot in the Mortal Kombat vault that's never seen the light of day?

Ed Boon: There's stuff that we had on the cutting room floor, like characters that we never used or something like that, and to add them into the mix could be a cool thing.

Has there ever been a point during the years you've been involved with Mortal Kombat where you've just wanted to throw it aside and work on something different?

Ed Boon: You know, we did actually. It was five years between Mortal Kombat 4 and Mortal Kombat 5 and we were doing arcade games at that time, and we did this third-person arcade game and then we went back to Mortal Kombat. But - I don't know if you can call this a problem, you know - the problem or cool thing is that the last few iterations in particular have sold really well, so then the company wants another one; but we also want to try new stuff. It's a weird balance between the two.

What do you reckon of Sony discontinuing the 20Gb PS3 in North America?

Ed Boon: I guess it doesn't surprise me. When I first heard there was a version that only had 20Gb my first reaction was 'That's gonna fill up right away'. With the downloadable games, all of the content they want to display - like TV shows - that stuff takes up room and 20Gb... It didn't surprise me. I would have thought 100Gb would have been the minimum they would have started with.

What's been the most exciting development in the games industry for you personally in the years you've been involved with it?

Ed Boon: You know, I started off doing pinball machines in 1986 and... I think just getting into videogames, like when I started moving pixels around the screen and stuff like that, that to me was the most exciting part.

As great as the Mortal Kombat games were, they really became like a monster - while we were working on Mortal Kombat 2, Mortal Kombat 1 was doing really well, and then when we released Mortal Kombat 2 we started Mortal Kombat 3 and then repeated that for 15 years with the exception of that one break we had for five years.

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