MK vs. DC Universe Interview with Senior Producer, Hans Lo

With the Mortal Kombat series making its next-gen debut later this month we were invited to the bowels of London’s Soho to see how the concept of merging these two famous worlds together is coming together.

We’ll have a hands-on preview of Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe shortly, but to kick things off, we sat down for an in-depth chat with Senior Producer, Hans Lo.

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PSU: Let’s get the tricky question out of the way first! The Mortal Kombat series has long been associated with comical hyper-violence. Now that it’s been toned down to appease the DC Universe audience and secure its Teen rating, do you think it will still appeal to hardcore Mortal Kombat fans?

Lo: I think it will still appeal to the Mortal Kombat crowd. We’ve looked at what made previous Mortal Kombat games great and we’ve re-tapped into that and brought those elements back within the gameplay for MK vs. DC Universe.

Our attitude from the very beginning, even though in the US we’re going for a teen rating (13+) and in Europe a 16+ rating, our point was always to push it to the edge, see what we could get away with. We’ve done that.

Not all MK fatalities were blood and gore, some were more comedic. Liu Kang’s fatality, for example, sees him dropping an MK arcade machine on his enemy. It was never meant to be graphically gross or violent, just funny.

PSU: Earlier today we were kicking the living daylights out of each other on the final build of MK vs. DC Universe and we noticed that the gunshot to the head, a fatality that had been reported as being cut-out of the final version, still exists in all its unedited glory. We guess then that the UK and US versions are different?

Lo: There are some differences, but technically the fatalities are the same, it’s just the way that the cameras are angled that differs. It’s the age rating in the two territories. It’s just what we can get away with for each rating. A 13 year old is totally different to a 16 year old, so we have a certain responsibility.

PSU: There were dozens of Mortal Kombat characters and hundreds of DC Universe heroes and villains to choose from, so how did you manage to narrow it down to the final roster of 22?

Lo: There were debates, to put it mildly, over who was going to make the final cut. In the end we wanted the most iconic characters, those who were going to be instantly recognisable from both the DC and MK side. We could have gone over the top by adding dozens of characters, but we felt the majority of people wouldn’t know who the likes of Plastic Man was or what his strengths were. Instead, we sought to find the right balance and the right number of characters. Every character we have, we think, is pretty recognisable.

PSU: Are we likely to see extra characters as downloadable content?

Lo: To be honest, it has crossed the mind of Ed and the team, but right now everybody is tired. All these 24 hour days to get the game out the door and get it to the quality that we wanted has been tough. We’re all going on holiday right now.

The hooks are in there, I won’t lie, but we’ll have to wait and see if the game is well received. If it sells really well then we’d definitely look at doing it. Of course, if we’re to add any more DC characters then we’d have to go and talk to DC itself as we only had a certain roster of characters that we could use. There’s a lot of additional work should we go down that road.

PSU: How have you managed to balance the characters skills to make fighting fair? Surely Superman would be tough enough to take them all on?

Lo: When picking the roster of fighters we had to look at each character’s normal strengths and weaknesses that we know about from their fictional life. We knew what the story was in MK vs. DC Universe, so we then had to ... (continued on next page) ----

A gamer since the days of the ZX Spectrum, Steven Williamson now works as General Manager for PSU. He's supposed to be managing, but if you're reading this, it means he's dipped into editorial again. Follow @steven_gamer
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