If you guys haven’t heard, NetherRealm studios, the fabulous people behind the storied Mortal Kombat franchise, are taking another crack at bringing the DC Universe to the fighting game scene. Just the other day they released the first trailer for their new game, Injustice: Gods Among Us, and man does it look pretty. Sure it borrows from that moment-in-time opening we saw in UMvC3, but really who cares when it looks this good?
The only problem I have with the trailer is at the beginning, “What if our greatest heroes became our greatest threats.” Where’s the question mark guys? You are asking a question right? Anyway aside from the English nitpickery I thought maybe I’d try to go over what we know about the game so far. Well right off the bat (hehe) the game will feature Batman, Flash, Harley Quinn, Solomon Grundy, Superman, and Wonder Woman as playable characters.
There will be some sort of meter system involved, as indicated by Superman punching Flash into orbit. It will also feature what looks to be a robust environmental awareness element, coupled with breakable objects that can be used in combat. Each character will interact with these objects differently given their type: power, gadget, etc. Check out the video below to get the info directly from the horse’s mouth, Ed Boon himself.
What’s In A Name?
Let me start off by saying that I honestly think the title for this game is incredible. It’s a breath of fresh air in an industry that’s filled with banal “Generic Franchise Name and a Number.” The title is mind its provocative and compelling, and hints at something bigger, darker, and more sinister than what you might find in the typical fighting game.
NetherRealm Studios: Can They Hack It?
The other thing that I like is DC’s choice of NetherRealm as a developer. They already have a working relationship so it’s a partnership that makes sense. Not only will Injustice be their second game together, but after the success of Mortal Kombat 9, NetherRealm has proven they can create a game that appeals to the masses, is deep enough for sustained competitive play, and are willing to think outside the box to give both the casual audience and the veteran crowd something they can enjoy.
That being said, I’m also worried about NetherRealm Studios. They are virtually untested outside of their own firmly established franchise. Do they know how to make a fighting game appealing without getting their flagship characters involved? Will they be able to channel what makes DC characters great while providing an immersive, challenging, and fulfilling fighting game experience? I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. They have some pretty decent people on board, their initial character designs look great, and if the story mode in MK9, heads and tails beyond really any fighter we’ve seen to date, is any indicator I think they stand a great chance at making a great game.
It Won’t Just Be Mortal Kombat 9 With DC Characters… Right?
If that were the case then this game will be aptly named. I can’t think of anything more disappointing than if NetherRealm made Mortal Kombat 9 with DC character skins. I’m not expecting them to reinvent the wheel here, they should certainly utilize whatever technology they have available, but I think it’s important to create some sort of distance between this game and Mortal Kombat.
Destructible Objects and Different Arenas
I don’t mind when developers decide to shake things things up a bit, evolution is the lifeblood of an industry, and I think that arenas and destructible objects could add some interesting possibilities to a game like this. However, from a balance standpoint, especially if this game wants to compete with EVO contenders, NetherRealm needs to be VERY careful as to how they implement this stuff. I can only imagine it transforming into the train wreck that was Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects. While kind of fun, it eventually devolved into players running around trying to throw cars and flammable barrels at each other. So much damage!
When Ed Boon references character types, Power and Gadget thus far, I think these categories will affect how the characters interact with their environments. He mentions that Wonder Woman can lift cars to use as weapons, while Batman can use his gadgets to manipulate the same car in different ways. That begs the question, “What other types of characters are out there?” Power and Gadget would be a strange duo on their own, and I think we can expect NetherRealm to reveal other types the closer we get to release.
Who’s Gonna Make the Cut?
This is what drives the hype train, and with an incredible 28 characters predicted, I can only imagine who DC and NetherRealm are going to bring to the table. I have my own want list that I’m going to go over in more depth a little later, but with nearly thirty characters on the way I’m really excited.
I’m excited for Injustice, I really am. It’s got a kicking title, a studio that knows its business, a massive pool of incredible characters to pick from, and enough interesting ideas to really give us something great. I do have reservations though, especially when it comes to the use of destructible objects and NetherRealm’s relative inexperience developing foreign IPs. Everything aside, I’m very excited to see what comes out of the E3 demo and hopefully it’ll give us tons to talk about.
Let me know what you guys think in the comments!