History of the Mortal Kombat series (Topic)

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History of the Mortal Kombat series


The history of the Mortal Kombat series has been going on for 27 years. Even after this amount of time, it is still popular today. And not surprisingly - this series has become a part of world culture, a game that everyone knows about. She is like The Rolling Stones from the world of games - it unites entire generations of gamers of all stripes, and still continues to do so. In honor of the release of the 11th part of the legendary fighting game, we will tell you the full story of Mortal Kombat.

Falsification of history

Most often, the story of a series of games begins with a story about a brilliant young developer who just had an idea, but in our case, everything is not so beautiful. You can praise Ed Boone and John Tobias for their titanic work in a team of four people to create a legend, but this is not so.

In 1992, Ed and John were young developers who wanted to quickly cut off some easy money by releasing a primitive game and go into the sunset. The publisher was Midway, which for a long time refused to make fighting games at all, so it is not surprising that they treated the development with condescension. Studios set tough deadlines and pressured her in many ways. This is due to the fact that fighting games were considered unprofitable commercially.

There was only one artist in the team of four. To draw sprites for the whole game on my own, and even in a short time, was another task. At that time, the publisher had already started an active advertising campaign, and it was impossible to retreat.

The developers decided to resort to image digitization. It was a primitive technique that was used in animation and film in the mid-20th century, but in 1992 it was already outdated. First, an actor is filmed who performs certain movements, after that the background is cut off, extra frames are removed, and now, magically, you have an animation ready.

For games, this approach was new. In almost all reviews, graphics made in this way were called revolutionary. The developers were credited with pioneering the creation of photorealistic images, although in fact the game Pit-Fighter, which you probably did not hear anything about, did this long before MK.


Unintentional violence

The MK series really breaks the mold. Not only was the development of the first game considered legendary today was lopsided, but it turned out that the signature feature of the series, blood and copious violence, appeared in the game by accident. In the final version, Shang Tsung's boss had a sword with which he could chop off his head. Because of this fact, all the characters were animated with a falling off head. Having come up with such a feature, the creators thought and decided to add to each character a technique with chopping off the enemy's head for a variety of finishing moves. It's funny, but Shang Tsung's sword was eventually taken away.


The blood did not appear immediately, after the murder an incomprehensible white liquid poured from the enemy. It was rumored that the cherished red goo could be seen by entering a special code. However, the game has broken the mold and without bloodshed. The publishers considered all kids under 16 as gamers, so all games were spineless and “sterile”. And then MK comes out, with the ability to chop off the head and impale the body.


Dream Team

Initially, no one thought to turn the game into a series. It was planned at most to release a comic strip based on the game, which would explain the plot and its white spots, of which there were many. In the first part, there were no cinematics, and the players were limited to information that there was some kind of mortal battle being waged by the sorcerer Shang Tsung.

However, the players threw the bone and provided each character with a biography. The heroes themselves were for the most part inspired by the time and copied from various action heroes. So Raiden and Shang Tsung were tracing characters from Big Trouble in Little China, and Goro [who grew a couple of hands during development] and Joni Cage were copied from characters from the movie Bloodsport [action movie with Van Damme 1988] ... Kano is a terminator, Liu Kang is Bruce Lee, and Scorpio and Sabziro ... well, basically any ninja from kung fu fighters.

By the way, Hollywood actors did not complain about borrowing their appearance, unlike several actors who participated in recording the movement. They sued the creators for illegal use of their images.

The gameplay of the first MK delighted with variety. He was tailored for a single game, which suffered from the balance. On the other hand, there was an opportunity to freeze the enemy, make powerful uppercuts, throw the enemy back a couple of meters with a spinning wheel, and it also had enough secrets and easter eggs, the search for which encouraged repeated passage. The children liked the game, and it was released on home consoles. Profits were pouring in and a sequel was just around the corner.

Bloody sequel

Boone and Tobias turned to responsible developers and approached the creation of the sequel wisely. The staff was expanded, the number of artists increased, new actors were hired, the backdrops were painted with a share of cartoonishness, but they turned out to be cool and atmospheric, and the graphics were corrected. The game's plot was expanded: again a mortal battle, but on the territory of the evil emperor Shao Kahn. The characters were prescribed motivation and each was given a personal enemy. Also, the game added the Reptile and Kitana, which in the first part were only Easter eggs.


They decided to make the sequel more bloody and cruel. So blood will become a trend after MK 2 is released.

Each character was given several creepy fatalities, and they were also given the opportunity to plant the enemy on a spire or dip their face in acid. The composer also found recordings with a crying baby, and there was a finishing move that turns the enemy into a child. We added three characters to the game, playing for whom, finishing moves can only be performed by observing special conditions.


Some of the new heroes were reskinned by old characters. Jade was Kitana in self-tanned green, and Noob Safer was the same Scorpio, but in a suit with a different color.


The sequel was perfect, and even better than the original. The same tactic was used for the third part, which came out in 1995. In it, the setting has become more gloomy, urbanism has appeared, the ability to throw the enemy beyond the level limit. Added new characters of the Animalites who can turn into animals. However, by introducing new heroes, the beloved old ones, such as Johnny Cage, Reptile and Scorpio, were removed from the game.


Board of Shame

And then the developers suffered. They decided to milk the audience to the fullest. Are they buying? So, we are making sequels until they stop. Games became lazier and more boring, but they were still bought. However, the hope that we will get exactly a good game, and not a pass-through, is gone. There were also frankly poor projects.


MK: Armageddon has collected in its roster about a groan of obscure snouts, ranging from 4 female ninjas, 3 robotic ninjas, 8 ordinary ninjas and so on. A fatality and character generator was added to the game, which turned the game into an incomprehensible thing. The plot was not as bad as it could have turned out, and the mini-game about car racing so generally went to people more than the whole game. By the way, it will soon be re-released on mobile.


The worst game in the series on all fronts is Mortal Kombat: Dead Alliance. MK: Deception followed her into the depths of the bottom. In these games there was a poor combat system, there was no balance, the entertainment went away and asked not to remember it, the fatalities seemed to be invented by preschoolers, and everyone's favorite heroes were replaced by nouns, and the graphics were not breakthrough. Deception also had multiplayer. Can I just say it didn't work ok?


Mortal Kombat 4 was the first game to be ported to a full 3D engine. The characters began to move in all planes, albeit crookedly. The game remained true to the origins of the series. And in principle it was good.


Mortal Kombat Mythologies Sub-Zero, a platformer that reveals the backstory of Sabziro, became an attempt to move away from the fighting game. It was interesting to look at the game from a different angle, and even the genre was interesting, but it had crooked controls and old graphics. Mortal Kombat Special Forces came out in 2000. The game was supposed to tell about Sonya and Jax. They wanted to add different plot companies, nonlinearity, a bunch of modes to it, but as a result, it turned out to be a terrible mess, and miserable underaction. Some nudity was also stuck into the game, but this did not help the case. After this project, John Tobias left Midway studio and left to do his own projects.


Guys, we have improved, honestly

However, there have been some good projects since then. Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe turned out to be very dynamic and entertaining. Even the children's rating and the same fatalities did not make the game worse. The studio also gave birth to a good beat'em up Mortal Kombat Shaolin Monks, dedicated to Kung Lao and Shao Kang. It was a two-player driving game.


Midway got on the right track after it moved under the wing of Warner Bros. The developers remained the same, and the studio was renamed NetherRealm Studios. The team decided to make a loud restart of the franchise and in MK9, which was released in 2011, it was all the juiciest from the originals. Violence at a high level, atmospheric design tied to the second part and a good plot, retelling the original trilogy. The graphics were top-notch, and the 3D picture fit perfectly on the 2D rails.


A full story company, dynamism and entertainment, normal multiplayer, favorite updated characters - should I continue to praise the game? I think you yourself know how cool Part 9 was.

The tenth game that came out in 2014 retells the events of MK 4. It continues what MK9 did - to return the series to its former greatness. She took everything that was and improved it. Literally everything. The new fatalities and X-Ray looked so realistic that you involuntarily grab onto the places where your hero is beaten. The responsiveness of the controls can only be described by the phrase "gameplay at your fingertips." After its release, the game was considered the best in the series.


And now we come to 2019, when the new part of the “Mortal Duel” promises to take the title of the best game in the series for itself. In any case, we see that the history of the Mortal Kombat games is cyclical. After the triumph came a series of failures and decline, and then, again, a triumph by improving the old formula. It will be funny if the next part will tell about the events of some MK: Armageddon. It doesn't really matter as long as the game is good.

Also read 30 Years Old Blood: How Mortal Kombat Changed the Industry and Why the Creators of Mortal Kombat 11 see a mountain of guts instead of humans.

The Topic of Article: History of the Mortal Kombat series.
Author: Jake Pinkman