SDCC '08 - Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe Panel

Midway games brought footage, talent, and a few surprises for the fans of two universes Friday morning at Comic-Con International in San Diego for panel focused on the upcoming [Fall 2008] Mortal Combat vs. DC Universe videogame for the PS3 and Xbox 360. Introduced first from the Mortal Kombat side was series co-creator Ed Boon, and from DC, writer Jimmy Palmiotti (Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters).

Boon first mentioned that for those keeping track this new game was number eight in the series, dating back to 1992 and the product of a ten-year effort to crossover the Mortal Kombat franchise with another property. When Midway’s marketing department explored the possibility of working with DC, Boon jumped at the chance, and he was teamed up with Palmiotti to make sure the game’s two universes “mesh.”

At that point, the preview video was ready and clips of fights in progress were shown. Superman battled Sub-Zero in a ruined Metropolis, slowing the icy warrior with his freeze breath. Batman battled Scorpion in hell, trading Batarangs and grappling spears. Catwoman used her agility to get in a few bloody scratches on Shang Tsung. Finally, the Flash darted around Soyna, leaving her spinning and dazed before running her off a cliff, the pair trading blows all the way down before the Flash got the upper hand and whipped his opponent into the ground, creating a small crater.

Each brutal blow drew “oooohhhs” from the crowd, who also cheered when Superman cut loose with his heat vision, and when Flash delivered several attacks at his trademark speed.

Eagle-eyed views could also notice that in addition to multi-level stages, real time damage to characters costumes were inflicted, for example Superman’s cape became tattered and Scorpion’s costume was burned where it was struck with Heat Vision.

When the lights came back up, the first thing Boon mentioned was the question that was on everyone’s mind, if you play as Superman, how could you lose? He then reminded audience of the Man of Steel’s non-mineral related weakness: Magic. Palmiotti then said that the game’s story would explain that when the magic-heavy MK universe merged with the DCU, it brought Superman closer down to earth, but didn’t rob him entirely of his powers.

Boon then described some of the special features in the new game, a close combat system that replaces automatic throws where the camera zooms in on the fighters and the players engage in an ‘Active-Time’ mini-game to deliver or block damage. A similar mechanic is involved when one player knocks another down to lower level of the stage. The players exchange blows, trying to get the upper hand to deliver a powerful final attack.

Boon then gave the announced roster to date, on the DC side: Batman, Superman, Flash, Catwoman, and Shazam. And on the MK side, Sub Zero, Sonya, Shang Tsung and Liu Kang.

For San Diego, however, he was ready to announce four more. On the MK side, Jax, and Kitana, and to the whoops and hollers of fans in attendance, DC’s Green Lantern (image shown looked like Hal Jordan) and the Joker.

After announcing that a compilation of the last three Mortal Kombat games for PS2 (Deception, Shaolin Monks, and Armageddon) will be out for that system soon for $29.99, and that the special edition of MK vs. DC will included a prequel comic with work by MK co-founder John Tobias, the floor was opened to questions.

Who are the Bosses in the game? Can it be Doomsday? Boon can’t say, except that it will be “big”

It’s rated T, was that hard to do for a MK game? Boon says no one wants to see Superman’s head getting ripped off, or him ripping any heads off (some in the crowd disagree). The DC Heroes will deliver Brutalities (punishing, but non-lethal beat-downs) while all the MK characters and the DC Villains will be able to use Fatalities.

Is there something the DC wouldn’t let you do? Palmiotti replied that DC was letting them get away with a lot, and that “it’s pretty dame brutal”

Is there a mini-game like Motor Kombat? Boon, no, all the focus is on the story mode, which will feature chapters in which players will be each character for a short time. There will be a separate MK and DC sides to the storyline.

Tosty Guy? Boon says it’s possible.

One fan wants Boon to do the Scorpion voice, but he wasn’t up for it.

Character exclusives to the individual consoles? Boon says no, but there will be downloadable content.

Environmental based Fatalities? Boon notes that the T rating and the non-lethal nature of the heroes preclude that.

Another fan asked about Smoke or Noob Saibot, but they probably won’t be in it.

Any chance for a comic book series? Palmiotti replies that it’s a possibility depending on how the game sells.

A fan noted that there were no combo counts displayed during the demo video, are there going to be combos? Boon replied that there would be, but no button sequence combos only real times ones in the more 2D MK vs. DC.

Cutscenes and free roaming? Palmiotti describes that in each chapter the character that player's play is controlling at that time will interact with others from both universes to propel the story.

Boon was asked about the “K” in combat. He told the story of the short development of the original MK game and how the title was a collaborative effort, not a very good story, Palmiotti joked he’s had almost 20 years to come up with a better one.

One fan pleaded that if Aquaman makes the cut, will they treat him with respect? The audience laughs and Boon asked back, “What does Aquaman eat?” but wouldn't confirm his inclusion.

A Wii version? No only PS3 and Xbox 360

MK vs Street Fighter (or vs. Marvel). Boon says he wanted to do all of them, but there are a lot of creative control difficulties trying to get them all to work together.

Any DC heroes or villains you couldn’t get? Boon said they were open, but he didn’t want it to get silly, so no Bat-mite or Mr. Mxyzptlk.

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