The Design Behind the Konstant Reinvention of Mortal Kombat

The Design Behind the Konstant Reinvention of Mortal Kombat


(keyboard clicks) (kung fu music) – You know, the first Mortal
Kombat game was four people doing everything basically. The next one was five, next one was seven. Fast forward to now and it’s 200 plus. (kung fu music) A big part of it is art, graphics, animation, special effects. There’s just so much art that
goes into a game these days that one group of guys
can’t possibly handle it all so it’s literally all over the world there are people working
on Mortal Kombat art. My day to day is mainly
looking at all the content that’s coming into the game
and making corrections, keeping us on the same path. There’s so many components to it, we have an entire cinematic
movie-like experience that has directors, animators, writers, camera guys, you know, audio engineers. Then there’s the gameplay part, that is the mechanics of the fighting, punches, kicks, are they
too easy to difficult to do, do they look cool enough,
all the environments, the worlds that everything is in. The animations, the effects,
the audio, all of that stuff, at the end of the day I’m
the one kinda responsible to make sure that it’s all cohesive and it’s all consistent with the game. So very much my days of
actually creating, writing code, actual content creation,
are long behind me. (screams)
(bones snap) (thuds) (groans) (spurts) – Every game starts
with a sit down with Ed. Usually has a couple of big ideas of, not necessarily the plot but
of themes he wants to hit and so we try to come up
with pitches that hit that. In the case of Mortal Kombat 11 he really wanted something
that was bold and fresh and taking the story in a way
that we haven’t seen before but also is paying homage to the past and all of the lore that we built up over 20 plus years of Mortal Kombat. And so when my co-writer
Shawn Kittelsen came up initially with this idea of Kronika we were like, oh, this is so wild, nobody’s gonna wanna do this
but then Ed saw it, he’s like, no, that’s where we wanna go
because that is gonna get us the ability to bring the
past and the present together and to deal with all these characters and sort of support all these
other things about the game about really creating your own fighter and creating your own
take on Mortal Kombat. I mean, the story process is
always ahead of everybody else. We can be six to eight months
ahead of the rest of the team, they’re still finishing up the last game and we’re working on the next thing. And that’s because once they roll off then we immediately need to
start getting into production, particularly on the cinematic side, the breadth of our cinematics and the width of it has gotten so large, it takes so many man hours to make and we just have to be ready to go as soon as they’re able
to start working on it ’cause otherwise we’d
just never get finished. (screams) – You know, from the
very first game until now it’s a completely different beast. We would never have thought when we were making the arcade games that we were gonna have a
cinematic movie part of the game that has directors and
writers and animators and special effects and all the components that you’d expect from a movie, there are people doing
that for this thing, so that’s an entire project in itself. And then all of the online
modes have a constant thing, we have all of this gear and everything, so like the game is just so big that it’s just a completely
different experience developing one now, you know, I don’t feel like I’m doing the same thing that I was doing 10 years ago. – QA is one of the most
valuable pieces of a studio because we could go,
yeah, on pencil and paper this looks like it should work, right. But QA is always the voice that comes in and will be like, hey, the casual player may not be able to do that, right. And we have in our QA a range of players from old tournament
players to your casual, hey I just picked this up and play it, so we get a great amount
of feedback back and forth. We went through the data of Injustice 2 and how many people were
playing the Multiverse and things like that and I mean, it’s a good
split of players, right, but generally you don’t
see a lot of players that want to be in the ranked environment come down into the single
player and vice versa. I mean, there’s people
that all they wanna do is compete online and we
have some stuff hopefully that will entice the players that are more casual single
players to go online. – As we were thinking about the interaction of past and present in the Mortal Kombat 11 story, we actually, we sort
of had a broad outline of the story we wanted to tell and then we went back and we
were looking through like, okay, what are the past and
present interactions that will give us the most grist for storytelling and so certainly looking at
one of the best ones, honestly, is young Johnny versus old Johnny. He’s one of our characters
that’s transformed the most over the journey from MK9 through MK11. And so to see his interactions of the older more mature
father of an adult child with the young gun who
is just, can be a jerk, you know, and just realizing, oh my gosh, I was that guy, it wasn’t a dream. And just really, it really helps give a perspective to him
and deepen him in a way and that’s true for all these
kinds of interactions we have and it was just a matter
of going through and like, okay, what are the best
spots for all this stuff? – Your skin will make fine leather. – It better, I paid enough for it. – [Announcer] Round one, fight! (upbeat music) – With every Mortal Kombat
game we really try to change things up, we really don’t want Mortal Kombat 11 to feel
like Mortal Kombat X with a prettier skin, prettier
graphics and what not, so we change things up,
we change the function of the fighting mechanic, it used to be this one meter that you would use to
build up for super moves or offensive moves, defensive moves, and so we separated it,
we changed things around and there’s a certain
risk when you do that of well, people like the last
game, why would you change it? And our philosophy with that is once we don’t change things up then people just start
getting bored with it, even if it’s good it gets boring. – [Danny] That’s an
interesting situation to be in where you almost have to iterate just to give it the feeling of freshness. Like, you might’ve actually
nailed the mechanic in the previous game but
you still have to change it. – Yeah, and I think that’s
one of the reasons why we’ve made it to Mortal Kombat 11 is the fact that, you know,
9 plays nothing like 3, plays nothing like 6,
plays nothing like 11, and when I think our players know that when they get a Mortal Kombat game there’s a spirit that’s in there that is still Mortal Kombat,
there are certain features that are signature to Mortal Kombat but the overall experience,
they’re gonna get something new, they’re gonna get something fresh. Scorpion plays different
from 11 to 3 to 9 to 4 and if you’re a fan of Scorpion you’re gonna get something new and cool. (groans)
(thuds) – [Scorpion] Come here!
(thuds) (groans)
(thuds) (clanks) (screams) (thuds)
(groans) – Well everybody has just like a different viewpoint on the games, right, like some people in MKX
really love the pressure and the run features and things like that. Some people are like hey, combos are really, really
long in MKX, what the heck? And then people are like, hey, shorter combos would be great. So, you know, in MK11
you can do longer combos and you can have that nice
middle ground of footsies and the mid game play that
people’ve been asking for. – The part that makes me most excited is when things start
coming together, you know, and it’s usually in a funnel,
very intense at the end, you really see things on the story mode, all the renders are starting to have their final polish on it
and then you really see just how great it’s gonna
look and that anticipation of, you know, that’s what drives you, that’s what gives you the energy to get up at five in the morning
and kinda beat the traffic so you get a couple more hours of work in and all of that content
just coming into place as fast as it does is
a real adrenaline rush. (clanks)
(groans) Like for instance right now
I’m looking at a bunch of our, you know, those Fatal Blows,
all of the blood bursts and all of the cool
visuals that accompany them and giving comments back,
I’m looking at the story, the new chapters that are coming in, giving feedback to that, looking at the gameplay, are
things too difficult, too hard, you know, the navigation
of the characters. All of that stuff is coming in hot so like I don’t sleep, I don’t, I just get a constant you
know, I’m on this treadmill of new stuff that’s being put in the game and giving feedback and
then getting other stuff so it’s really, I’m
changing gears all the time. Towards the end of the game we have to kinda tell ourselves, okay, you know what, it is what it is, and we are always in
the kind of mindset of, oh we coulda made this that
much better, that much better, but at the same time what
we did get into the game is exciting, this game I
have as much confidence in this game doing well
as the last two games and those were our biggest
selling games of all them. I don’t know how many franchises do that, have their best ones as
their most recent ones, that’s a pretty, that’s a stat
that we’re kinda proud of. (upbeat music) – [Announcer] Round one, fight! (upbeat music)

100 thoughts on “The Design Behind the Konstant Reinvention of Mortal Kombat

  1. "There's people all over the world working on the art" Game looks dope but this is the one factor Im not crazy about, art direction does indeed look all over the place and some new characters seem pretty uninspired.

  2. Every Mortal Kombat Character:
    Lui Kang, Shang Tsung, Subzero, Kitana, Mileena, Jade, Raiden, Kano, Kabal, Noob Saibot, Cassie Cage, Jacqui Briggs, D'vorah, Erron Black, Kung Jin, Kung Lao, Shinok, Kotal Kahn, Skarlett, Scorpion, Johnny Cage, Sonya Blade, Jax, Reptile, Ermac, Rain, Takeda, Kenshi, Nightwolf, Goro, Kintaro, Sheeva, Li Mei, Kira, Kobra, Tribot, Nitara, Tremor, Stryker, Tanya, Kai, Quan Chi, Charmeleon, Kharmeleon, Reiko, Daegon, Meat, Fujin, Sareena, Motaro, Drahmin, Movado, Blaze, Jarek, Mokap, Hsu Hso, Moloch, Dairou, Shujinko, Ashrah, Smoke, Hotaro, Taven  Havik, Baracka, Shao Kahn Onaga, Darrius, The Kollector, Kronica, Geras, Bo Rai Cho and Sindel.
    Please Tell Me if I Missed Someone.
    I Have No Life.. 👍

  3. Dont want it to be MKX. Simple, remake Shaolin Monks or Deception, Deadly Alliance or Armageddon. Or simply make the combat like Deception style, like moving around in circle, the stage traps and etc. That will definitely get us by surprise. Also, Ed Boon, nice seeing ya in the game once more. Even though I miss the 2000'

  4. Damn, imagine all that effort and work and either your game doesn’t sell, or it’s trash.

    Absolutely sad and depressing for an entire team

  5. Man, Boon is such a great dude when it comes to caring about his community and fans. You can tell, he actually cates about how the games turn out. A very positive and enthusiastic guy. I already have my copy already pre-ordered. I joined the game in the early 3D Era.

  6. MK and Tekken are the only series that get better with their latest releases. I feel they’re putting more into the game than just better graphics. We want mechanics too that bring more fun and balance to the game. IMO

  7. MK X was kinda shitty to be honest. This game looks bad too. It's just like all this crap MKs from ps2 era. Just make a MK 9 remaster with some new characters, that's all.

  8. This man ed boon was alive since the 90s. Now we in 2019 and this dude still looks like a 25 year old adult

  9. After 10 I didn’t think you guys could do anything else. But now that 11 is here I’m 100% sure you guys couldn’t make it any better 😂 maybe go modern old school on the next one?🤷🏽‍♂️

  10. Ed Boon is the reason why I still play these games. He's always so passionate, and I wish John Tobias would return , but he left many eons ago now.

  11. The need John Tobias back. I believe he was the true visionary in the MK series. MK ll is my favorite of all of the Mortal Kombat games. I really wish that they would go back to having real looking people in the game.

  12. The franchise has lost completely the dark atmosphere of the three first games. I wish they had a realistic game engine like Capcom does so the characters would look like real people like in the past instead of plastic steroid overdesigned 3D dolls. The still images like 5:02 of the first game have more power than the whole 3D bullet action movie of today. That said I'm sure the game would be as fun as the last two. I think Ed Boon, at some point needs to cut down this 200 people team, get back to basics with Tobias and make a true successor.

  13. Honest question. Why isn't the competitive MK scene half as big or revered as the SF or Tekken scene? Does netherrealm even take the competitive scene into account or is it an afterthought.

    Not that there is anything wrong with focusing solely on the fun aspect of the game.

  14. Crowd-funded video game commercials. Probably should have put that "filmed at a press event" disclaimer at the start of the video so viewers know the full context behind Boon bragging about how NRS is just a movie studio now instead of a company that develops fighting games.

  15. Game looks great, but would still love to have the classic theme tune included again since it was absent from 9 & X. Pretty please Ed??

  16. Bring Cyrax back!
    "Awesome Mode Engage"

    Also… I love the Dial-A-Kombo system from the MK3 titles. Would love to see those back.

  17. Ed Boon is an American Treasure holding it down for the fgc for pver 25 years. Thanks Ed for the great times we've all had with Mortal Kombat!

  18. I had the opportunity to hear Danny O' Dwyer speak at SXSW this past weekend. Noclip has really done a fantastic job with these documentaries. Can't wait to see what MK11 looks like.

  19. Ed boon just wants to make games. Not many game devs execs etc think that way. I dont like dlc characters but hey its a Business still

  20. boon has such a young personality like dude is old now but talks so energetic and excited reminds me of jordan peterson but less "controversial"

  21. You gotta love this man, so humble and awesome. He just really cares that we get a good mortal kombat. since my childhood man.

    really appreciate Ed Boon, he´s a legend to me

  22. When Ed Boon said he doesn't sleep, he didn't sound restless or like its a bad thing. It almost sounded like he didn't wanna stop working because he absolutely loves what he's doing

  23. Hey noclip, if you manage to talk to netherrealm again could you ask why it took so long for them to improve their animation? It was a big problem for most of their games but they finally seemed to have improved with mk 11

  24. "Gear"
    Please tell me they didn't implement the gear system from Injustice 2 in MK
    The lootbox system and just randomized cosmetics was the worst part about the game
    Tekken and Soul Calibur have a great mix and match system that they could use as inspiration

  25. "yo dawg, I heard you like space-time distortions, so we introduced an alien that distorts space-time so that you can re-distort space-time while you distort space-time! Compared to Raiden's Amulet, that's totally different shizz, amiririte?"

  26. Let's be clear. This is Ed Boon's baby. He has literally nurtured it from ground zero into the behemoth it is today. From 4 people to 200+. He was in the trenches, wrote code, etc. He has a definitive vision, and all changes go through him. We're talking a studio that's gone through thick and thin since '92. Good on him.

  27. My first Mortal Kombat game was the GameBoy port of MK1. I was like 7 years old. Ever since, I've owned every one except for 4 because that's the only console generation i missed. I played the MK11 stress test. I played the closed beta. I'm so ready to have the full game. Thank you Ed Boon and John Tobias for creating such a rich and amazing franchise.

  28. Wow Ed Boon is really amazing. He has all these smart and clever ideas keeping it practical. I love that they continue improving and shaping it into a better version. I admire that.
    Also that they try to keep in new and fresh system.

  29. I love Mortal Kombat and I love Ed Boon. It's the only game I preorder upon announcement. I remember holding onto my Gameboy and replaying MK2 till I got a headache. When we found MK2 cabinet at an arcade, we hogged it all day till people complained. We'd get rid of them by challenging them and they were always noobs.

  30. It's true MK is still so popular because every game is completely different unlike what we see with a lot of popular game series today, MK is one of the few games today still made to be great instead of being made to make money.

  31. It's quite rare these days, seeing so much passion being put into making video game FOR players. The most recent game to receive such treatment I can think of is Dad of Boi.

  32. His last statement got me worried, this game is going to have a giant day 1 patch. It seems like they are still trying to rush and finish this even though release is so soon

  33. Fantastic video. I wasn’t into the MK titles between 4 and 9, but I was obsessed with the original trilogy. I loved X, and I’m very excited about 11!

  34. I used the exact same expression to a friend a few days ago: "Reinvention". Ed Boon and his team has taken a lot of risks over the years and, aside of the franchise failures, is thanks to that we have now MK11. It is a lesson of passion, simple as that.

  35. It's still wild how you manage to get these original interviews that top quality separates you from just a fan channel

  36. Ed Boon makes me want to buy Mortal Kombat even though it's way too gross for me. He seems like a really rad dude.

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