It’s hard to imagine a world without Mortal Kombat around as the series has nearly existed for three full decades, spanning across many successful (and not) titles in that time. Back then, Mortal Kombat was developed by Midway Games, until Warner Bros. Interactive bought the IP back in 2009.
But even then, it was that game that your parents didn’t want you to play as a child due to the sheer amount of violence. Things quickly picked up for the series as it made countless news headlines, criticizing the title for it’s brutally gory violence. Yet despite all the negativity, it still managed to be a huge success that even the developers themselves couldn’t believe. In fact, the original plans from the Mortal Kombat founders never included a sequel, but instead had them setting their sites on a much bigger franchise at the time.
John Tobias, a name Mortal Kombat fans probably haven’t heard much from since his departure from the studio in the late ’90s, recently took part in the latest episode of Mortal PodKast to discuss some of series history and how the team never expected a sequel to happen.
“I remember having a loose idea of where the story would go if there would be a sequel. We didn’t think that there would be a sequel. In fact, when we finished the first game Ed and I thought “Oh what do we want to do next?” And we really wanted to do a Star Wars game, we were pushing our management to let us do a Star Wars product. But of course, the game hit big and they wanted us to do a sequel”
A surprising turn of events it would have been if Mortal Kombat had never reached the success it had back then, though even then, the series co-founder seemed to have had Star Wars on his mind during the development of the first Mortal Kombat game.
One thing that I thought, specifically with Mortal Kombat. We spoke about Shang Tsung having an emperor in the first game. We mentioned these things without getting into any details and the strength of doing that is we insinuate plots. Players read that stuff and in their mind they start to formulate “wow there’s this other thing here that exist that we don’t know anything about”
I remember being conscious of this on the first and second game, was when I saw Star Wars when I was a kid, they alluded to an emperor and empire, all this stuff that they really didn’t get into the weeds with. It wasn’t until Empire Strike Back that you really learn that there really is an Emperor. As that stuff was revealed to me as a kid, it was mind blowing. So I remember being consious between the first and second Mortal Kombat of wanting players to have that sense of “oh there’s a bigger world” that has been alluded to and give them the sense that this is larger than we thought.
If you haven’t already, we highly recommend you give the podcast a listen, as the rest dives deeper into the lore of the franchise. Some really cool and interested pieces of information that I personally never knew about the series.
In other Mortal Kombat news, a new patch for Mortal Kombat 11 was released yesterday, which you can read about here.