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

  • Im “Cautiously Pessimistic” at this point. It always seems like MK never focuses on the fighting mechanics, and thus, everything is very stiff and un-enjoyable.
    But going into it expecting a Super Street Fighter experience is just being unfair to the game, so I dunno. Im sure I’ll end up trying it either way.
    Graphics certainly look better than usual for MK!

  • El_Mas_Chingon74

    Are we going to be able to pick up weapons?

  • This is looking very good! Old school Mortal Kombat games have always been my favorite fighting games. Glad to see they are going back to that style.

  • hay i need friends add me

  • I don’t care much for fighting games anymore but MK definitely has me excited.

  • I definitely remember Steve Beran from games past, but is Ed Boon still involved?

    • Oh yeah, Ed Boon’s the creative director. The new game is packing much of the old-school MK design team, even sound guy Dan “Toasty” Forden.

  • this is the Mortal Kombat i’ve been waiting for, i also have MK2 too, i hope they come out Mortal Kombat collection for PS3 and sid i also enjoyed MK vs DC

  • Mortal Kombat has been one of my favorite series since it came out….I remember when we went to see the 1st Mortal Kombat Movie, people in the audience just kept jumping up and screaming “MORTAL KOMBAT!!!” and then the whole audience went crazy…it was like a concert…The best movie experience I ever witnessed in theaters

  • After selling the 3 PS2 MK games online because of how fed up I got with it, let’s hope they do this one right.

    It is going in the right direction with the 2D gameplay, no more stupid style changes, no more weapon style…

    They better not do mini games and Konquest because those were just dumb.

    “Mortal Kombat is a re-imagining of the events of the first three games…”

    So this is a revisiting of MK Trilogy?

    Now that I think about it, I think it’d be freakin awesome if they included MK Trilogy with fixed up gameplay and Khameleon included in the roster for this game.

    DLC costumes, stages, and characters sounds nice…

    But my only concern is that it looks like they’re trying to copy what Capcom did with Street Fighter IV and Super Street Fighter IV.

    Revive an old fighting game series, go 3D graphics with 2D gameplay, etc.

    I hope the roster is decent enough.

  • Game looks amazing. 100% exactly what the fans have been asking for, for quite some time now. Can’t wait to play as all the classic kombatants again, should be a sick line-up along with the DLC.

    One question though, was/is there any word about a demo sometime in the future? If so will it be the same build (same levels, chars etc.) as the one we got to play at E3? Either way would be great, just want some more time with the game. And the 3D aspect sounds awesome, can’t wait!

  • @Sid Shuman

    “hold a button” to block is dated, you guys should allow players to block by hold back.

    • Hold to block is kind of an MK thing, though, it just works with that gameplay style. I also like Tekken’s auto block out of sheer laziness.

  • looks good!!!

  • i really hope they bring back: Nightwolf, Smoke, Rain, Kabal, Sindel, Sheeva, Styker, Jade, Cyrax. i’m a huge MK3 fan!! favorite one

    • Definitely saw Nightwolf in the trailer. I’d also love to see a comeback for Striker and Sheeva, but it’s so funny that MK3 was your favorite. I enjoy the gameplay in that one, but prefer the look and vibe of MK2.

  • that x-ray attack…that doesn’t work when johnny cage does his split punch attack does it? cuz if i see that, i’m sure i’m gonna feel it too…

  • Yesssss, Kung Lao, yessssssss.

  • i got a question… will there be stage transition like in mk3 where you uppercut your opponent to a second level? and will there be a special collectors edition? just and idea it would be cool if there was a special edition and it had all three MK included oh before i forget can they bring the original costumes from the first MK that would be sweet and well good luck with the game looking good keep up the good work and thanks

  • well sony i think its time to release Mortal Kombat 4 and Trilogy into Psone classics along with mk3 or umk3 arcade version available on psn to bring back memories and mk9 wilol be my day one purchase. I cannnot wait:-)

  • Bring back 1-button fatalities and the old cheat codes menus. (Scott’s stuff anyone?) If not maybe throw in the little space mini-game for laughs.

    DITCH the create-a-fatality from Armageddon. That S-U-C-K-E-D! Keep the “Training” mode. The earlier games were missing that.

    Make the game able to be patched just in case there are exploitable combos.

    Maybe have cutscenes for the Arcade mode and intro’s like SSF4 before each match.

    Last but not least. Put the State of California as the training dummy with an Schwarzenegger head.

  • combat looks really smooth!!

    60fps? whats the res?

  • the 2D fighters are making an epic comback. as a hardcore fighting gamer im glad. this year is going great. first super street fighter iv, then blazblue:continuum shift, mortal kombat, and marvel vs. capcom 3 is around the corner of next year.

  • I’d imagine this MK will be WAY better than MK vs DCU. Kudos

  • This is what we have been waiting for! Can’t wait for this!

  • ahhhhh so nice to see MK coming back to reclaim the throne!
    im a little disappointed though its going back to 2D, i mean 2D restricts the combat too much.
    im really disappointed to see the 3 combo styles are gone too, i mean that was one of the best additions to MK ever!
    ever try sparky? now that was a hair puller!
    i hope they bring back the features they added to V DC universe, like the test your might and the falling combat that was really cool!
    o, and PLEASE give us the famous room fatalities, like the acid pit, or the spike press from MK deception.
    o, and bring back brutalities, they were so cool just plumbing your enemies!

    im really miffed at edd boon now though, ever since he announced fire and ice got canned.
    i mean scorpion is my favorite character EVER! ive got wallpapers, posters ive even got a painting on my wall of him doing his fatality on sub zero!
    shaolin monks was by far my favorite ps2 game, so a styled game like that but with sub zero and scorpion………
    GOD DAM YOU ED BOON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    i hope they bring that back, release it once the MK reboot is out.
    if they dont……….well……….. i cant be held responsible for my actions!

  • Very much looking forward to this game!

    I have so many fond memories of this franchise. I loved going to the local arcade, seeing a group of people huddled around the cabinet, quarters lined up along the screen to show whos next, the tournaments that were held, the trash talking that ensued. Such great times those were. lol

    I am just so damn happy they are going back to what Mortal Kombat should be; over the top, bloody, brutal, juggly combat.

    one questions….Will there be a run button?

    • Good question — did not notice a button, but perhaps it’s done a different way. MK vs DC and the PS2 ones dropping running, didn’t they?

  • never was a big fighting game fan, but the only one i even gave a good try to was the MK series.. so, its cool to see them working on a new game… hopefully itll be a good one…

  • The forest from MK II is in there! MK II was the best MK ever and that stage was my absolute favorite.

  • The Living Forest also made appearances in MK4 and (don’t quote me on this) I think MK Deception.

  • OH, and Shaolin Monks

  • THE-D1RTY-77,

    They showed an X-Ray attack for Cage’s “Golden Globes” at the Gamespot video at e3. TWO nut shots and an elbow to the back or the back of the neck.

  • I love this game, and im looking forward to the new MK.

    BUT PLEASE BRING UMK3 to PLAYSTATION NETWORK. (instand buy, and great time killer until the new one arrives).




  • Anything is better than that MK vs DC lol. Also I hope they bring back that MK tetris style mini game that was in Deception.

  • It wouldn’t surprise me if this turns into a platform in and of itself.

    Imagine this. Game comes out with 24 characters. Maybe missing some old favorites like Kitana or Noob Saibot. Then they start releasing characters and costumes. Then the roster expands and expands…

    I honestly would like to see some of the newer MK people (from the 3D games) in this 2D-plane game. People like Nitara, Shujinko (toning down the move list a tad lol) and the brothers.

  • @80 There are no dial-a-combos, but if you can’t do a combo in this game you need to try harder.

    in the corner, jump HK, air fan, standing HP, wave punch
    fan lift, jump HK, air fan, standing HP, wave punch
    fan lift, jump HK, air fan, land, jump HK (maximum damage

    in corner, hold HP, jump HK, release HP, hold HP, ground roll, jump HK, release HP (maximum damage)

    Just keep looking.

  • I Like MK 2 & 3 back in the day but its mechanics were very inferior to other fighting games at the time…this seems to be the same with this new title …while “xray” attack seems innovating the true form of any fighting lies in the availability to perform a “X” numbers of hits all connecting in what with call COMBOS!!…MK biggest combos were always 6 or 7 hits (& some with glitches help) the only fun about was the fatalities , animality , friendship & stage fatalities.. sorry but no thanks !! after Marvel vs Mortal kombat FAILED Im saving my money for a more complete fighting game ..maybe is time to bring the best fighting game of all time out of retirement …you know who Im talking about ..CO-CO-CO-COMBO BREAKER!! …UUUULTRAAAA COOOMBOOOOO!!! …KILLER INSTINC!!!

  • @83 Okey thats true, its probably because i havent played that one so often. But since i have bought it, and its the only one on PSN, i was really dissapointed, not so much because of the lack of combos (and lack of knowledge of me) But most of all because of the crappy online system. Still UMK3 appeals more to me, there are allot more characters, and if you do a search for it on the web, you wil notice there are allot more ppl that would like to see this one on PSN. My only experience is with mortal kombat deception for the old xbox, i was 7th of europe with that one, and a bit Umk at friends places. But i will give it a go some time and try some of the combos you mentionted. thx ;)

  • They need to put in a “Practice Fatality” mode so that I don’t have to try and memorize the button combo right before the fight starts and then focus so much on remembering the combo that I forget how to fight and lose anyway. I want to be proficient at Finishing He/She/It before the fight starts. And nothing worse than winning the fight only to finish your opponent with the unimpressive jab because you were standing an inch too close.

  • I’m in love with seeing some classic charterers come back and kill in MK. How about Noob Saibot?

  • Will there be a collectors or limited edition? and will there be a behind the scences video that talks about the history of mortal kombat? The first ps2 mortal kombat game, deadly alliance I think? had a behind the scences video. Will there be a hard drive install? Will the ps3 version have anything exclusive to it?

  • Meant that to @85, not @87. But just look up combo vids on Youtube if the message gets deleted.

  • Any word on a public beta? I know a lot of MK fans that would love to give it a go.

  • I Love Mortal Kombat’! XD

  • This game is gonna be awesome. I truly believe that this new MK has that old felling I felt while playing the first three versions of MK series.

  • So its 3D,And does it have a story or konquest??
    I Liked shaolin monks alot because its 3D in gameplay

  • I love Mortal Kombat and I’m going to buy this new game soon or later. But one thing I want so much: Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 on the PSN. Please, make it happen. MK2 is one of the best selling games on the PlayStation Store. UMK3 will sell too, and I want to play it online so much :( It has the best fightning mechanism ever for the series: combos, run, many finishers. It is dynamic – not the very slow style of MK2. Please, tell Netherrealm Studios to think about it as a release to increase the hype to this game, for example!

  • are there any known preorder packages for Mortal Kombat?

  • hey sid when will the demo be out im looking forward to this scine umk3

  • is the “full game” will be availble on PSN for download?
    if yes, i prefer having this game on my hard drive cuz i’ll play 24/24
    This game look like good old MK combat style “fast”
    on the best gfx ever!
    Good Job DEVS!

  • Will there be Smoke in this one?? I hope so cause him and sub zero are my favorite karakters. I wanna put my stinky fingers in someones face.

  • What’s Your favorite MK character? Mine is Scorpion.

  • BOOYAH! 100th POST!

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