Injustice For All: Ed Boon Shares Vision for DC Fighter

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Injustice For All: Ed Boon Shares Vision for DC Fighter

Update: Listen to our full chat with Ed Boon on episode 033 of PlayStation Blogcast.

During EVO 2012, I got a rare opportunity to chat with Ed Boon, co-creator of Mortal Kombat and creative director for Injustice: Gods Among Us. Though NetherRealm Studios’ latest title wasn’t playable at the show, Boon walked me through his vision for the DC-themed fighter, his overall plans for NetherRealm Studios, and some key changes he’s bringing to the fighting game formula.

Injustice: Gods Among Us for PS3

PlayStation.Blog: It strikes me that Superman looks awfully aggressive in Injustice. His cape is torn, he looks upset. What’s up with Supe?
Ed Boon, Creative Director, NetherRealm Studios: We haven’t released many details on the story…but I can say that it’s very observant of you. Our Superman isn’t quite the same Superman that you grew up with. We definitely want to give a more contemporary, NetherRealms spin to the character, and he plays a big part in the story. People will definitely be surprised by this rendition of Superman. We’ll be revealing more details with Comic-con, PAX, Gamescom, and so forth.

PSB: Superman, for me, has never been a hugely relevant character. He’s too perfect, too infallible…kind of boring! What does it take to make Superman relevant in an era of flawed, neurotic heroes like Batman or Watchmen?

EB: That’s one of the first questions people ask us — you know, “why would I play as anyone but Superman? Can’t he kill anyone instantly?” But there are definitely dimensions that we’re adding to our twist on Superman. There are a lot of interpretations that have happened over the years, and we are definitely giving a more complex Superman for this game.

Injustice: Gods Among Us for PS3

PSB: In the promotional artwork for the game, Batman looks to be wearing a Kryptonite ring. Is that just me?
EB: Umm…it’s green! Obviously, with Superman being such an extreme character, we have to tap into some of his weaknesses. Every hero has strengths and weaknesses, and that might come into play with Batman’s interactions with Superman.

PSB: Let’s talk about the Story mode and campaign, which worked so well in Mortal Kombat. Is Injustice’s campaign going to build off the concepts in MK?
EB: With every game we do, there are things that worked and things that didn’t. In Mortal Kombat, the Story mode just worked. We didn’t promote the story leading into launch and it ended up surprising people. So we want to continue that tradition and offer a deep, elaborate story experience in Injustice. And with these [DC] characters, who have decades of history behind them, there’s a ton of stuff to draw from. We can’t wait for people to see the Story mode in this game.

PSB: Interactive backgrounds are a huge addition to the gameplay. I’ve heard you say that choosing a stage is now as important as choosing a character…
EB: Yeah. We wanted to shake up the fighting game formula in terms of the environment and how you use it. Different characters use the environment in different ways; that will really affect your strategy when facing certain characters on certain backgrounds. Power characters can pick up a car and throw it, while the more agile Gadget characters might use the car as a springboard.

Ed Boon - Injustice: Gods Among Us for PS3Ed Boon - Injustice: Gods Among Us for PS3

PSB: And background props can link right into combos, right?
EB: Absolutely, it’s part of the combo system. That’s part of mastering a character — where is he strong, where is he weak? Where should he avoid, where should he maneuver to? Adding new variables to the fighting mechanics allows players to come up with original strategies. We’ll be doing that dramatically in this game.

PSB: If the background props are so integral to the gameplay, will there be a different process for selecting stages?
EB: The stage select will be something you care about now, instead of just mashing the X button. When your opponent gets good at using a particular part of the stage, you’ll learn to avoid it – or go towards it – and that dynamic will hopefully shake up the formula.

PSB: Did NetherRealm arrive at the interactive backgrounds early in the concept for Injustice?
EB: Yeah, it was one of the new staples we wanted to introduce. This game is an interesting balance between appealing to the more mass-market player, who doesn’t get into frame counting and EVO-type stuff, but also catering to fans who really dissect their fighters. We had the same goal with Mortal Kombat, and Mortal Kombat competing at EVO is a validation of that effort. But we want to widen that spectrum even more by grabbing more players while continuing to serve the hardcore fighting community.

Injustice: Gods Among Us for PS3

PSB: Mortal Kombat had a massive cast of characters. Are you looking to include a similar-sized cast?
EB: Speaking personally, I think there’s a line where the perceived value of adding more characters brings a diminishing return. If you have a cast of 40 characters and go to 50, I don’t know that fans are saying “this game is 20% better!” I think there’s a sweet spot somewhere in the 20s or so. We’ll definitely be releasing with a good number of characters, probably comparable to Mortal Kombat.

But then the magic can come in with DLC characters; with Mortal Kombat, we brought in crazy guests like Freddy Krueger. So we’ll definitely want to introduce unexpected characters [via DLC] to Injustice. That’ll be our strategy. It’s comparable to Mortal Kombat, but being really aggressive with our DLC characters.

PSB: I’m sure many of the major DC Universe characters are spoken for, but will there be room for cult favorites too?
EB: Yeah. In our discussions with DC, we have different categories of characters…guest characters, niche characters. When we spoke with DC, they’d say “we’d love to see this character,” and we’d say, “really? Why?” Everyone has their vote, and we’ll probably serve all those categories in some way.

PSB: Air dashing and wagering both seem to be fresh new concepts for fighters. How do they fit in?
EB: Those are new mechanics aimed at the hardcore guys. Air dashing plays with the concept of jumping in and attacking, though not all characters can do it. And Wagers add more layers to the concept of a Super meter. Mortal Kombat had this Super meter that could enhance a special move, initiate a breaker, or deliver this crazy X-ray move. With Wagering, we’re putting players in moments where we ask them, “how much do you want to bet? How important is this conflict to you?” It adds another variable to shake up the formula.

Ed Boon - Injustice: Gods Among Us for PS3

PSB: Speaking of shaking up the formula, Injustice doesn’t have a Block button! What prompted that change?
EB: Yep, some people are really used to having a Block button [thanks for Mortal Kombat]. But the hold-back-to-block concept isn’t new to fighting games at all. Tekken and Street Fighter have been doing it for years, so it’s something people are used to. We definitely didn’t want to make Injustice just Mortal Kombat with DC-skinned characters. We want this game to have its own identity, its own feel, and its own features. The blocking is part of the separation there.

PSB: Is it nice to take a break from Mortal Kombat? Are you luxuriating in your first chance in years to try something different?
EB: Absolutely, it’s great to do something different. But at the same time, it’s also great to let more anticipation for Mortal Kombat build. Everybody’s kind of wondering how we would follow up Mortal Kombat 9, and for us to deliver that a year or a year-and-a-half later just isn’t the best way to do it. We can launch Injustice as, hopefully, a franchise that can be a series of games. But then we can give that sweet spot for Mortal Kombat to do an insane comeback.

PSB: And I know you believe in making sequels very different, not in putting the focus on constant iteration and refinement over several games. Is that your hope moving forward?
EB: I can tell you with a lot of certainty that, if we did a Mortal Kombat 10, it wouldn’t just be MK9 with more characters and the same features. We would absolutely want to introduce something to make that game feel unique and different.

PSB: You’ve been doing fighting games for so long. Now that you’ve broken out of Mortal Kombat, would you ever go further? Maybe a non-fighting game?
EB: We feel like Injustice is kind of our first step towards that. If it does well, we would like to see our next step be a non-fighting game, maybe something unique in its own right. This is our first step in that direction.

Comments are closed.


6 Author Replies

  • 1ST! and will INJUSTICE be in 3D????????????? Mortal Kombat looked great in 3D!

  • OMG sony why are yall keep put stuff on ps3 the ps vita is still living. i mean we have not got nun for 5 week. This is madness. I can believe I pay 300$ for this thing. I want my ps3 back now

  • 3rd .. will it have 3D and a Vita version?

  • I hope Ed gets his chance at a non-fighting, non-Mortal Kombat game.
    I’m sure he’s got a bucket of ideas.

    • Agreed! He’s done only one since MK1; The Grid, that arcade third-person deathmatch shooter (which was pretty badass, actually).

  • Oh, common guys. Don’t tell me that the Vita is really being ignored for something like this. Could I get a response in regards? The game isn’t coming out till 2013 …. there is most indefinitely time.

  • DLC ? Hell yeah!

    – The authority (No contest) – Apollo, Midnighter, The Doctor, etc..
    – WE3 (Bandid, Tinker and Pirate)
    – The comedian, Rro (watchmen)
    – Constantine
    – Jesse Custer (Preacher)
    – SwampThing
    – Spider Jerusalem
    – Animal Man
    – The Sandman
    – V (V from Vendetta)

  • @2 Yes, because Sony decides what people produce games for.

  • @6.. well yes and no. Do not say that Sony does not have influence on what they want published on their platforms though (they very well do).

  • LOOk good. doomsday, firestorm and bojack are deal breaker for me..

  • Will the actual interview be in the Blogcast? considering how there is a recorder in the shots :P

  • I’m really hoping for Swamp Thing. I loved the story mode in MK so I’m sure this is going to be great.

  • How about the Omar interview? No blogcast for that one?

  • Sid,

    Can we expect a PS+ early demo (like MK). I still play MK v DCU from time to time. MK on my Vita is good and wishes this hit vita too.

    I remember playin MK 1 in the arcade and playing for hours with only a few quarters. The line of challengers was always pretty steady.

  • Love the Wonder Woman costume. Is that her current look in comics?

  • Looks like a fun fighting game. I’d really like to see Lobo as at least a dlc character if not a regular one. Hope to see more on this soon.

  • MP_is_for_Chumps

    sorry but this has to be the DUMBEST GAME NAME EVER. who the hell thought leaving ‘DC’ out of the name of a game based on DC characters is a good idea?

    can u imagine if the other comic fighter franchise was called: “Capcom VS Random Superhero Dudes in Spandex” ?

    Seriously Ed, Great looking game with neat ideas, Dumber than dumb name. Change it while u got the time!

  • I trust Ed all the way in making fighting games but DC not wanting to go “M” worries me. I would have loved to rip superman in half that smug jerk.

  • The whole idea behind this game has no sense at all. How is superman going to be defeated by Harley Queen? Or how Night wing is going to defeat Flash, a dude who can run and punch faster than light?

    The scale of powers is not taken into account while making this game. The difference of power between some characters is massive.

    I would prefer that nether realm studios to do a Mortal Kombat action game, or a new fighting IP.

  • Ahh Ed Boon. One of the Godfathers of gaming for me. And genuinely a nice guy too. He makes the best fighting games in the business, and always has. I’ve been a fan since day 1 in the arcades and always will be. Alot of people even tend to bash the 3D MKs like Deception and Armageddon, not me. Deception is my favorite fighter ever, and Armageddon would have been even better than Deception if it just had Fatalities. Awesome create-a-character too.

    @17 C’mon man. You’re a video game geek just like the rest of us. You’re trying to tell me you can’t suspend disbelief for a DC fighting game? And regardless of that Supes is not invincible contrary to the popular belief of people who obviously don’t even read the comics. Batman beats him up alomost every time they fight, Lex has pounded on him, Doomsday killed him with punches, and Superman is weak against any kind of magic or magical items. I tell people all the time Wolverine would EASILY kill Superman because Adamantium has magical properties so Logan could cut him. ANd is a better fighter so would easily kill him. Zatanna a magical stripper has put the hurt on Superman.

  • @17 contintued

    You’ve just got to suspend your disbelief, not only with fighting games, but all comic book related materials.
    Look at Marvel vs Capcom 2. Every character in Marvel in the comics seem to bring down Sentinels with easy yet he’s the most powerfull character in the game. THANOS in that game is CLEARLY wearing the Infinity Gauntlet so “realistically” he’s the #1 ultimate power in the universe even above gods and could just blink any character out of existence, yet he’s a weak character in the game.

    You just gotta let it go and enjoy the game, lol.

  • If this comes to PS VITA i’ll most definitely buy it.

  • agreed, this should so come out for vita

  • I gotta say im interested in this. I mean i somewhat enjoyed DCvsMK, but i know this will be a game for me. i just hope they give some other super heroes in this game instead of the usual well known ones. Also is there any talk on a Vita version? i mean if they can give us Mortal Kombat (which i fully enjoyed) they could surely give us this game right?

  • @18:

    In Marvel Superheroes, all the combatants had around the same “power”. Hulk was much stronger, but spiderman is way faster (and also can carry 10 tons), wolverine is even faster and regen himself, and so on. Character included were balanced on the universe from where they were taken.

    I admit that Thanos could actually defeat them with a pimp slap, but on the other side of things, you can also acquire those gems allowing you to actually have a chance for winning. lol

    But in Injustice the difference of powers between characters is just absurd. Superman is INVULNERABLE, so how is he going to be defeated, unless every opponent has some cryptonite in their pockets ¬_¬

  • Looks great. Injustice and Playstation All Stars are the two fighting games that have held my attention since Street Fighter 4.

    Not much of a fighting fan, but i do plan on picking up PS All Stars for Vita, hope Injustice makes the jump – just like Mortal Kombat did. would love to play it on the go.

  • @24 i thought “the warlock “had the infinity guanlet.. they did comic book on it it .. thano has the rings agn..

  • Is there any chance for a character from Sandman to be in, also is Joker in the game, I think it’s very likely since Harley isn’t very interesting without her Puddin?
    @22 It’s a fighting game, they’ll probably put the same thing they did for MK vs DC, they’ll say some weird magic is affecing them. So everyone can damage Superman and doesn’t give allpowerful punches, Flash can’t run at the speed of light, Batman isn’t overprepared, Wonder Woman can’t just tie you up with her laso and beat you senseless, Harley can hit harder, Grundy won’t break anyone in halve by punching them, Cyborg won’t nock anyone out wit a single metalic punch, and Nightwing can’t electrify anyone (especially Cyborg) into submision or death.

  • a story mode like MK9? I’m in! Now how about another Mk game along the lines of Mythologies?

  • what about a way to finish your opponent? is any of that possible in the game or is it just another version of mk vs dc?

  • This is going to rock, can’t wait to take Supes out for a test drive. I hope Darkseid is in this.

  • @22

    My first post for some reason got moderated out I guess, hence my reply saying “continued”. Which kinda ruined the point, though I guess the post stands on it’s own as well. But the first post was me kissing up to Ed Boon because I consider him one of the Godfathers of gaming along with Carmack, Ono and a handfull of others. But also explaining to you that contrary to popular belief of people who don’t actually read the comics to know better……Superman is NOT invulnerable.

    Doomsday and later Lex’s suit proved that at a certain strength level, a character can go toe to toe, at least for a while, with Supes. Doomsday killed him, just with traditional battle, not employing any of Superman’s actual weaknesses, just punches, kicks and what have you.

    But then if you start exploiting his weaknesses, there are MANY characters that can put the hurt on Superman. Batman beats him down on a seemingly regular basis, not only with his kryponite ring, but he also outsmarts him. He’s also completely vulnerable to magic and any magic items. Zatanna has put the hurt on Supes with like magic playing cards. Adamantium has magic properties…..Wolverine could kill Superman, easy.

  • Well the superman vs. goku argument has been going on for years , i think adding him in as a dlc character would be just plain awesomeness

  • @27 AGREED

  • Wolverine kill superman easy? well i guess it depends on which incarnation or which author your talking about . Pre crisis would hurt wolverine , badly .

  • @ 28:
    Doomsday powers: P1

    Doomsday’s reactive adaptation will make him more invulnerable as he fights. Good examples of this are when he breathed flames against the Martian Manhunter; elongated his knuckle protrusions to attack Superman in the air; or canceled out Radiant, a being of pure energy, by generating an aura of energy and slamming it into Radiant.

    Doomsday has an exceptionally fast healing factor that enables him to regenerate from damage almost instantly.

    Doomsday possesses large, thorny, bone protrusions covering his chest, back, knees, elbows, shoulders, knuckles, chin, eyebrows, and eyes. The durable spikes are razor sharp, and have caused injury to opponents generally considered invulnerable such as Superman and Darkseid. It is possible that these protrusions are a resistance that Doomsday has evolved.

  • @28:
    Doomsday powers: P2

    Doomsday possesses vast physical strength. Engaging Doomsday in physical combat will mean almost certain death; almost 100% of those who have challenged him have lost their lives. He even once knocked out Darkseid, the lord of Apokolips.

    There are your reasons why Doomsday could kill Superman. And also there are your reasons why it has no sense at all that Lex in power armor can offer him some fight.

    In this game (so far) no one uses magic nor kryptonite rings, so Superman would be invincible in the game.

    Adamantium does NOT has magic properties, from where you read that from? Adamantium (according to marvel) is a group of man-made metal alloys that possess varying durability, but are all nearly indestructible. It is partially magnetic and not MAGICAL.

  • @28:
    Superman currently possesses enough strength to hurl mountains, withstand nuclear blasts with ease, fly into the sun unharmed, and survive in the vacuum of outer space without oxygen. If that does not makes him invulnerable to most foes, I don’t know what to tell you. Obviously if he fights someone “like” him, there is the probability that could die in battle.

  • Superboy-prime, from infinite crisis, is another example of another dude who can kill superman.

  • Do not forget about 1 light powered bat.

  • I first learned about this game in the blogcast, and my interest went from “what r they talking about?” to “i want this game!”. Based on mortal kombat vita which is amazing drop dead georgeous, injustice is one title im looking forward to,would be nice to get it on vita :)

  • @ Sid Shuman, What about Powdered Toast Man or Really Really Big Man DLC?

  • To be fair about Doomsday, his adaptive powers and him being ancient kryptonian (kinda) origin didn’t come till quite a few years after Death of Superman. But even so, Doomsday’s powers aren’t all that different from The Hulk’s. The longer the battle goes, the stronger he gets. So eventually the Hulk would be strong enough to beat Superman.

    Also, what do you mean no one in the game so far has any magically enhanced powers or a Kryptonite ring? Batman is clearly wearing his Kryptonite ring in the picture right in the article. And you don’t know for sure what kind of magic is being used in the story. Look at MK vs DC. The whole Mortal Kombat universe is magic based and it was leaking into the DCU, which is why everyone could fight Superman.

    And about Adamantium, yes, it has highly magical properties. Elder Earth Gods were talking about it in a late issue of the original Wolverine ongoing when one God didn’t know what was protecting Logan from another God’s power. Adamantium is not man-made. It was a man-made process to liquify it and graft it to bone. But it’s a natural metal. You may be thinking of Carbonadium (Omega Red’s coils) which is an attempt at man-made adamantium.

  • Another vote here for Injustice on Vita!

  • well true true… you guy are way above me in knowing comis book. Im sittin here learing. I know i have bookj where fire storm is beating super man.. also i have book where spiderman is beating superman for awhile..

    So superman can be beaten with the right power.I doubt harley quinn or squirrel girl will be beating super man. Super man is like a perfect character. I dont wolverine will be super man. if magneto could beat him to a pulp. so did ice man.. wolverine wouldnt last 3 secs with superman.. But with comics book you never know, i havent read any in years.. But i do rememebr a few things..

    and who is super dude.. the guy from school house rock?

  • def interested in seeing how this game ends up, im excited but i hope its better then mortal kombat vs dc!

  • WOW! Sony is really stepping their game up. But Sony is really mind blowing sometimes how they make games for good playstation systems, then when some other new system comes out the older system we own already before the new! system we purchased from Sony and when we go to get a game for that older system, we go to look for a game for EB Games or Game Stop or where ever, the people who works in those stores says “oh we sorry but sony stop making games for this system,” but i knew that was going to happen a little before the ps vita came out, sony has basically throughout the older system, such as the psp, but when the PS Vita has been released, I have brought it new by the way i brought the 3G Ps Vita New, IM SAYING ALL THIS BECAUSE IM REALLY HOPEING TO EXSPECT THIS NEW INJUSTICE FOR PS VITA, AND HOPEING THAT WHEN SONY RELEASES NEW PLAYSTATION 4 Sony Would NOT THROW PLAYSTATION 3 AWAY (FIGHT THE POWER) LOL

  • Oh hey, it just occured to me that V for Vendetta was published in America by Vertigo… and DC owns Vertigo (I think anyways)

  • I’m very intrigued by this game now.

  • “PSB: And I know you believe in making sequels very different” what a load of b.s. that is.
    EdBoon never knows how to appeal to his fans, makes the same game over and over, and has been ruining MK for years. I’ve played/purchased them all and they get worse every time. It’s no wonder why Tobias left.
    And he states aggressive DLC before the game’s even finished? what a pompous jerk. $$$ is all he cares about. not quality.

  • This might be the very first game I pre-order…

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