E3 Encounters: Mortal Kombat for PS3

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Mortal Kombat and I go way back — I can’t imagine the 90s without it. I still play Mortal Kombat II regularly on the PS3, and know the button commands for every single Fatality by heart, even Shang Tsung’s secret third Fatality that requires holding down the Low Punch button for 30 seconds. Ahem.

Anyway, Jeff Rubenstein and I decided to stop by the Warner Brother Interactive booth at the 2010 E3 Expo to check out the new Mortal Kombat. I met with Steve Beran, a longtime MK series veteran and director of art for the newly named Netherrealm Studios. We talked about the new vision for the gory brawler, got a sneak peek at the new Fatalities and stereoscopic 3D support, and went hands-on for a few matches.

First, though, check out the E3 announce trailer below for a quick look at Mortal Kombat’s visual style, fighting mechanics, and the new “X-ray” attacks.

Mortal Kombat is a re-imagining of the events of the first three games (“the fan favorites” according to Beran) meaning you’ll see lots of familiar faces: ninja specter Scorpion, his rival Sub-Zero, cybernetic assassin Sektor, misshapen clone Mileena, and Hollywood action star Johnny Cage have all made the cut. All told, Mortal Kombat will feature at least 24 fighters — a mix of old favorites as well as newcomers — with more on the way post-launch via PSN downloadable content.

Mortal Kombat will return to the 2D, juggle-centric fighting style popularized by the earlier titles, but the core fighting mechanics are seeing modern, HD enhancements. Most obvious are the devastating new “X-ray” attacks. The camera sweeps in to show the victim’s innards as the aggressor snaps, cracks, and gouges away. “Ribs shatter, jaws break, teeth pop out,” Beran elaborated. “It’s one of the things we’re most excited about.” What’s more, each character possesses unique-looking innards, meaning that Reptile’s skeleton looks different than Mileena’s, Sektor’s guts look appropriately cybernetic, and so on.

The gruesome “X-ray” attacks are the most dramatic example of Mortal Kombat’s new Super meter, which builds in power as you inflict and absorb damage during each match. A well-timed “X-ray” attack can wipe out nearly half an opponent’s life bar, particularly when chained into another juggle combo. “X-ray” attacks require a full Super meter but, at lower levels, the Super meter will also enable you to power-up a character’s special move for extra damage and beneficial effects, or swap in a tag-team partner mid-combo for a brutal two-man juggle. How you best leverage the Super meter is up to you.

Then there are the Fatalities, the most recognizable and controversial element in any Mortal Kombat title. “In this game,” Beran told me, “we starting thinking about the Fatalities much earlier.” It shows. The new Fatalities are ghoulishly inventive: Kung Lao dragging his victim through his buzzsaw-like bladed hat, Reptile giving a venom-spewing french kiss, and Scorpion slicing and dicing with his katana will make longtime series fans quiver with delight.

Oh, I also donned a pair of 3D glasses in order to experience a video of a Mortal Kombat match running in stereoscopic 3D on the PS3. The fighting genre seems to be a good fit for 3D: the detailed characters, sparkling projectiles, and gushing bodily fluids popped off the screen at a smooth 60 frames per second.

Mortal Kombat will hit the PS3 in 2011, with online play being a major focus. What else would you like to know about Mortal Kombat? Ask away in the comments, and I’ll do my best to track down the answer.

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19 Author Replies

  • 1St!
    I can’t wait for this!

  • lol cool u finished it! but im gettin it yeaa!!

  • I would like to get more characters, moves and fatalities via DLC. And some nice new costumes, of course!

    • Steve told me each character would have “at least” one alternative costume, so make of that what you will. Characters are definitely coming via DLC, but moves and Fatalities is a smart idea! (^_^)

  • oh hell yea

  • Very nice, i would buy this for sure!!!

  • Mortal Kombat was one of my favorite games at E3. Wish I could get a lengthy hands on time with it though ;(

  • Marvel vs Capcom 3 or MK… :S

  • Ya this gets my attention every time I see a new article for it. I also still play MK2 from ps3 every so often and still love it. I don’t have a question about it, more like a general hope. I hope they balance the fighters and combos as much as possible to truly bring a great multiplayer experience back to this franchise.

    • Me too. I still play MKII online all the time, though some Jax, Mileena, and Sub-Zero players are CRAZY cheap

  • will they have old school type fatalities such as brutalities, animalities and stuff like that?

    • For now, they’ve only confirmed Fatalities. Doesn’t seem like the sillier stuff like Friendships will be going into this game.

  • Let’s hope they get online right, unlike Super SF4 (which got worse IMO since the original IMO). I’d like to see quick efficient stream-lined menu systems (including character and level selection screens), a ladder based on a standard game style (best of 3 99 second rounds), the ability to see a variety of replays from top players and top replays of specific characters, the ability to rewind replays, lobbies like Super but ones where you can change the settings after they’re created, and a button for each game mode that can you press (think Quick Match) that will actually find you a game without you having to baby sit it.

    And lots and lots of statistics! That’s one thing I really like about Super.

  • This games on my must have list. Been a fan for a long time.

  • A create-a-fatality mode would be a awesome edition.
    Will MK be “Move” compatible? Doing scorpions spear or sub-zero’s freeze with move or doing fatalities with move would be sooo cool!

  • While it looks beautiful, lets hope the combat system is deep enough for it to be taken seriously by the hardcore fighting crowd.

    I’d love nothing more than to see this at EVO; but the only way it’s getting there is if the fighting system is good.

    Your game can look pretty, but if it’s not deep, no one will care. (I’m looking at you, Soul Calibur.)

  • I have a question, even though you may not be able to answer it for obvious reasons. Will Cyrax (excuse misspelling) be in the game? He was one of my all time favorite characters. Also, have the developers mentioned anything about including Animalities, Friendships, etc… or will this be all old-school hard-core bloody beat-em-ups Mortal Kombat is expected to be and nothing else?

    Otherwise, this game truly does look like the 90’s just got a modern decade makeover, and I can’t wait for the demo!

    • Didn’t see Cyrax, but they only had 6 playable characters at E3. The official word is that quite a few of the characters from MK1-3 will be making the jump, so it’s certainly possible — though not confirmed. Also, Fatalities only are confirmed for now.

  • Wasn’t this announced already? I remember watching ths video some 3-4 weeks ago…

  • @Kchow Both ;)

  • Are they gonna have the Kreate a Kombatant like in Armageddon?? I loved that feature!!!

  • I remeber the first time i saw MK. i was a kid at disneyland. i was staying at the disneyland hotel and was getting bored sitting around. i decided to go to the underwater arcade next to the Rc boats. i found a huge group of people hudled around 1 out of 50 arcade games. and there it was. I WAS AMAZED AND HORRIFIED(being a kid and never seeing anything like it before) AND I LOVED IT. i spent soo much time in the under water arcade that trip. i cant wait for this!!!!!!!

  • Ah the 90s (and latter 80s) in general… Nostalgia…

  • I saw an interview where they talk about fatalities and stages to be DLC, Im looking forward fatalities as DLC, what about a contest of “Design your Fatality” and let people choose the best ideas for fatalities and then make them into DLC, I remember back in the 90s to sit with my brother and just imagine new fatalities for our favorite characters.

  • The whole time while reading the MK Annihilation soundtrack was playing in me head. lol

  • Aw man how can you forget that feature!!!?? it was awesome!! hahaha. I hope they will implement it for future DLC!

  • It looks awesome, I hope I will have bought a 3D tv by the time it releases.

    One thing tho, i wish you would have got ride of some crappy characters like Johnny Cage. I hope there’s no Lui kang, Jax, Sonia and Kano. Replace them with new bad ass characters. Oh and more new moves with old characters would be nice too. That was my only complaints.

    ‘Finish him’ look incredible too, they are refreshing.

  • Yay,another MK for PS3.Hopefully it’s good enough to make everyone forget about MK vs DC’s failure of making it identical to the others.This was mostly because of the’no decapitation,no dismembering arms and legs’rule because it was a 15+
    I’ll hopefully try to get this for christmas.btw,Kung Lao’s Fatality looks Sick,but in a good way :)

    • I may be in the minority, but I really enjoyed MK vs DC — it was just “fun” to play. It wasn’t gory, but I had quite a few fun times with that one.

  • Any ‘Save Match Replay’ options? I think that would be cool + YouTube support (or export it to the HDD and make a montage using the video editor/uploader. eh? eh?)

  • LOL,It won’t be out by December.My bad

  • cant w8 for this game!

  • I’m really pumped for the party aspect. I’m looking forward to going online with my buddies and trying to hold a lobby down.

  • Will there be a demo of this any time soon?

  • Looks amazing. I am so glad they finally decided to go back to the old school MK and stop with the 3D and silly matching of MK with DC. Not that those elements were necessarily bad, just didn’t like them personally. I will for sure be picking this up.

    Hoping very much that Ermac makes the jump. He and Rain were my favourite characters. Come to think of it all the ninjas were my favourites. Hope they all make the cut or at least come via DLC if they don’t ship with it.

  • I just purchased the PSN version of Mortal Kombat II the other night. Man, I forgot how much fun that game was! Memories… The new MK looks great, but I must say I’m partial to the digitized graphics of the original games.

  • Looks Hella Sick!!!

  • Will it actually run 60fps (as in 60fps gameplay = 2x60fps) in 3D? or will it be 2x30fps as most 3D games are? 2x60fps would rock but does not seem that likely.

    I’m a bit unsure about what you meant with 60fps in 3D.

  • Def excited for this. MK was always my fav fighting game, although they lost their real appeal and style lately. This game seems to be bringing back the MK we all feel in love with from the start.

    I would like to know if they have considered making a Collectors Edition? Maybe a T-shirt with other MK goodies. Special secret CE only chara? lol

  • You weak pathetic fool are too easy!

  • staylor21_dabest

    They def need noob saibot on it. And what about ermac and rain. And it would be nice for them to consider bringing back brutalities, because just fatalities alone get boring quickly.

  • Any word on if tag team Fatalities will make an appearance? I think that would be awesome.

  • I hope the ps3 was used as the lead platform, tired of 360 cheap ports…

  • Will the Immortals do another hot Soundtrack? That would be hot!!

  • Can’t wait. Though, online fighting gaming sucks. Too many cheap-asses.

  • any social features planned for the game:(ex. Home support, Cross-game invites,Twitter/Facebook support,replay/youtube upload system,etc). MK was not just known as a very competitive fighting game, but it was very social as well.

  • other questions:

    other than fatalities, will there be:





    Is Noob Saibot in the game?

    better question, will Dan Forden come out of nowhere and say “Toasty” on the corner of my screen again???

  • I woulda like to have seen raiden in a demo atleast.That Kung Lao fatality was awesome.

  • i hope they add a create a character feature it will be awsome to create your own character, and some 2 vs 2 willb awsome which means u can play 4 player co-op 2 vs 2 offline and online

  • …Sh**…

    Seriously, I think I’m going to have nightmares about this. Lately, more games have had violence that shocks/disturbs/scares even me. The GoW3 demo’s head-ripping moment was one, and that Kung Lao fatality is a very serious other. It’s a very unsettling feeling, I have to say. (Killzone 2, strangely, didn’t have any such reactions for me) Perhaps it’s time I switched to games about raising pets and racing ponies… Or not.

    I’m still really bad at fighting games though- to the point of frustration- so I won’t be partaking in this, but all the same, very cool stuff.

  • Kitana must make a comeback, please

  • i very much enjoy the ps3 system, and fighting games.. been playin mk since befor middle school.. but i keep being dissapointed… mk vs dc.. was fun, but their could had been done much more..

    wats the point of havin blue ray disc games with capacity over 40 gb, as well as paying for the same amount as full ps3 exclusives.. for a just 15 or 20 charaters, and with out even a guarantee extra “costume” do programmer have that much problem creating outfits?? and if they do make dlc.. its likly we be charged for it :/ … not sayin im not excited for fightin games.. but deff want more bang for the buck..

  • that’s what you call, “below the belt” huh? ouch. but very slick looking from seeing this…can’t wait to get my hands on it.

  • What im about to say wont make difference but making moves and characters as DLCs is a bad idea, but what its a good idea for me is DLC for alternate costumes(like Super Street Fighter 4) and fatalities and i say fatalities because theyre not used in the middle of a fight so making fatalities as DLC wont hurt or make the game unbalanced and wont even give a slight advantage to other players who have purchased them.

  • I like the idea of alternate costumes but it can be expanded upon. Maybe like create a costume feature with DLC costume parts. I felt that was the only thing missing from MK Armageddon

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