#EGX2014 Preview & Developer Interview: Mortal Kombat X
At EGX I got a chance to go hands on with NetherRealm’s latest instalment of the long running Mortal Kombat series, with Mortal Kombat X and to say that I was impressed with what I had played was an understatement. The first thing that I noticed was how dam impressive it looks, it looked leagues above Mortal Kombat 9 (which was obvious considering I played that on the PS3) and it also looked leagues above even the PS4 version of Injustice: Gods Among Us (which is a great looking game in its own right).
Upon starting the demo you could choose between these returning fan favourites Raiden, Kano, Scorpion and Sub-Zero. New to the roster in this demo as Cassie Cage (the daughter of Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade), the insect/bee like women D’Vorah, Aztec-like warrior Kotal Kahn and the big bad beast Ferra & Torr, who is a character with the child on his back.
During the demo, four stages were available to choose from and just like the characters available, we’ve seen these stages in the gameplay videos released thus far. We got to choose from the Kove which is set on a sea front with dead bodies jumping out of the sea from time to time, in which you could use them as interactive weapons. The Snow Forest, which was the stage for the Sub-Zero vs. Scorpion gameplay video, Outland Market and the Jungle.
When the first match started, despite selecting the bigger and more cumbersome Ferra & Torr, it soon became evident that the speed of the gameplay for Mortal Kombat X has been taken up a few notches, even for the larger characters, who by tradition are often much more slower than other characters. Obviously the high tempo characters such as Cassie Cage and D’Vorah are much faster than the likes of Ferra & Torr, but it’s nice to know that the larger character might have a fighting chance to fight their way out of a corner when in recipient of a highly charged combo.
As we’ve seen in the previously released gameplay videos, each character will have a choice of three fighting styles to choose from prior to the fight kicking-off. While this won’t charge the pace of your fighter, it will certainly change your special attacks and this element helps keep fights fresh, knowing that there are three styles to master for each fighter. Each stage was immersive and had you wondering of its rich history. The interaction was certainly reminiscent of Injustice: Gods Among Us.
I got to play some great games at this year’s EGX, I don’t know whether it was the over the top gore that satisfied my sinister needs, but I had walked away from my experience of the Mortal Kombat X demo feeling absolutely buzzing. A lot of games are fun (which is a good job), but I got a fun factor feeling from Mortal Kombat X, that I had not experienced in a long time. It’s clear that this game has been built from the ground up, rather than just updating and adding from the previous instalment. If this demo was so much fun now, with its smooth and fluid gameplay, and stunning visuals, just imagine how great this game can become by the time it releases in April 2015! I will go out and say it now, that Mortal Kombat X was my favourite game at EGX 2014 by an absolute country mile!
I also got to chat with NetherRealm’s Studio Designer Derek Kirtzic about all things Mortal Kombat X:
What challenges did developing Mortal Kombat X on the new gen systems bring or was it an easy transition?
With the team at Mortal Kombat Studios, it’s a working formula and we all know what Mortal Kombat is and what the series is all about. Moving on to the new gen systems, it did bring a few challenges, but all in all it was a pretty good transition. And what Mortal Kombat brings, is that it’s always a lot of fun, developing new characters, challenges, fatalities and everything that MK has to offer.
One of the biggest elements of Injustice: Gods Among Us, was the interactions with the environments and various stages. Can we expect the same level of interactivity in MK X?
In Injustice, the interaction was used more for projectiles and damage. In Mortal Kombat X it’s more about leveraging space. So depending on what kind of gamer you are, you can use that interaction to get yourself out of a tight spot or move even closer to your opponent at a faster pace. There are projectiles in MK X, but you are able to block them. So you’re not guaranteed extra damage by using them, but it does bring additional depth to the game.
One of the many things that I loved about Mortal Kombat 9 was the challenge tower. Will the challenge tower return in MK X and will it come with new mini-games that are perhaps compatible the PS4 camera and the Kinect 2.0?
We are not currently talking about any additional game modes, but with this being Mortal Kombat, you never know what were gonna put inside of it. We always have fun developing the game, so you can always expect something to be in there. Editor note: I also stated during the interview that I really like the idea of a motion sensored judo-cop (hint, hint).
Kiefer Sutherland recently announced that he will be voicing a character in Mortal Kombat X, is that true and if so, you will he be voicing?
I’m sorry, that myth was busted a while ago and Kiefer Sutherland will not be voicing a character in MK X, I’m sorry.
Obviously we already know about Goro returning as a pre-order incentive, but will there be any returning faces from the series, that perhaps never made the cut into MK 9?
There will be some more classic characters to be revealed very soon. In MK X you will be able to play as many classic characters, but there will also be more new characters introduced into the series. So I think this will be the Mortal Kombat with the most new characters introduced into the franchise. It will have a roster on par to MK 9 and Injustice, but it will have many faces that you’ve never seen before.
Will there be any cameos to look forward to in Mortal Kombat X?
With Mortal Kombat 9 we introduced Freddy Kruger and Kratos, while in Injustice we brought in Scorpion. So you can expect to see a guest character in MK X, but who that is, you’re gonna have to wait and find out.
Will there be any new ‘alities’ introduced into Mortal Kombat X?
There will be new ‘alities’ introduced into MK X, but again, what they will be, you’ll have to wait and find out. So that’s another secret for now.
Finally, if you could pick any character to make a guest appearance into a Mortal Kombat game, who would it be? Personally I’ve always liked the idea of Shredder from TMNT.
Shredder would be cool and he would blend himself right in with his blades, armour and fighting style. But one character that I would find pretty cool to be in an MK game, would be the lead character Talion, from Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor.
Thank you Derek for taking the time to speak to me, I can’t wait to find out about Mortal Kombat X in the coming months.
Mortal Kombat X will release for the PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One on April 14th 2015, so now it’s just the agonising wait between now and then.