We get the lowdown on the newest entry in the Mortal Kombat series from Ed Boon himself.
Following our first look at the trailer for Mortal Kombat: Deception, we were able to get a rundown of what the game is going to offer from none other than Ed Boon, cocreator of the bloody juggernaut series, at Midway's gamers' day. The presentation gave us an overview of the game and its various features and offered us one of our first genuine surprises of 2004. While we expected the next entry in the Mortal Kombat series to build on the promising elements introduced in 2002's Deadly Alliance, we weren't really prepared for the insanity laid out before us. Boon and company's latest evolution of the venerable franchise goes crazy in what appears to be the best possible direction.
Boon's presentation covered six topics: gameplay, backgrounds, characters, fatalities, new game modes, and online. The gameplay segment shed light on the surprising number of tweaks and additions to the already-solid fighting system introduced in Deadly Alliance. Mortal Kombat: Deception's core system will feature the basic elements that worked so well in Deadly Alliance, so you can plan on each fighter having three fighting styles with unique combos, special moves, and fatalities. Returning characters will likely retain some, but not necessarily all, of their existing styles. The current plan is for each character to have roughly six special moves and multiple fatalities (more on that in a bit).
The additions to the combat system appear to be adding a level of strategy that should please fighting fans looking for more depth. A new position switch move, similar to the position swap seen in Tekken 4, will let you quickly switch your place with an opponent if you're backed into a corner, which should come in very handy. However, the most interesting addition is undoubtedly what Boon dubbed "fight state indicators." The indicators appear vertically on the lower left- and right-hand sides of the screen and identify your fighter's current state, on the fly, during a battle. The color-coded indicators let you know when you're vulnerable to attack, are able to counterattack, or are in a danger zone. Obviously, when the indicators aren't reacting at all you'll know all is well. The stoplight-like meters, whose appearance is still a work in progress, struck us as a training-wheel-like addition to the game. The indicators should help veteran players hone their skills to perfection and let new players get a better understanding of the fighting system.
Another sign of the fighting system's evolution is the way its new features relate to the game's backgrounds. The arenas will be multitiered and will feature a high level of interactivity that will end up enriching the fighting system. Boon stated that the arenas will end up playing a big role in the flow of the battle, almost as much as the character you choose, based on their unique size and shape. Some will slowly crumble as you fight on them, making a "ring out" sort of victory possible. Another background Boon talked about was a sort of "yin and yang" arena that randomly flips between good and evil. On the good side, you'll see a Virtua Fighter-like beach, complete with seagulls and a generally peaceful setting. But when that flips around, you'll get an evil version of the same background. Getting knocked out of the arena on the good side won't be so bad for the losing player, but getting knocked out when things aren't so pleasant will probably be a bloodier affair.
Deception's final roster of characters is still being kept a secret, but we sussed out a number of them from the trailer, such as Baraka, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Ermac, Mileena, and Nightwolf. The game will feature 24 fighters in all, 14 of which you'll be able to play with right off the bat. In talking to Boon, we discovered that the white-clad fighter shown in the video wasn't Raiden, or even a man, for that matter. Boon didn't reveal much other than to say it was a woman named Ashra. Given her appearance, we figure she's probably related to the god of thunder in some way. Ashra will be joined by around seven more new characters.
The basic level of interactivity offered by the backgrounds will match everything seen in Deadly Alliance, so you'll be able to break objects around the arenas and exploit areas within them that will do damage, such as the acid pits in the previous game. That's just for starters, though--certain breakable background elements will act as weapons you can use to dole out damage to your opponent, specifically the walls you'll be knocking them through in spectacularly violent fashion. In addition, you'll now find color-coded squares that will clue you in to the good, the bad, and the ugly of your surroundings. The good will be indicated by green squares that will tip you off to useful items, such as weapons strewn about the arena that you can pick up and use. The bad will show up as yellow squares that represent danger zones, which will harm you or your opponent in some painful way. The ugly is shown with red squares that clue you in to death traps, an evil, new addition to the MK franchise's meaty selection of ways you can bring instant, and gruesome, death to your foe.
Speaking of ways to die, MK Deception will come fully loaded for those looking for ways to eviscerate their opponents. As mentioned, each character will have two fatalities to brutally finish off their foes, but that's not the only way to rid yourself of an enemy. The death traps in each arena feature some truly spectacular ways to end a fight. The sequence at the end of the trailer, where Baraka is thrown into the pair of menacing spiked rollers, offers a taste of what's possible. However, if you happen to be competing against someone who thrives on humiliating you, Deception offers a nice way to tell your opponents to suck it. When your battered fighter is wobbling about and waiting to be finished off, you'll be able to perform a suicide move and finish yourself off before your opponent does. This new move now makes the end of a battle as hectic as the fight itself, as both players will have to race to input their command before the other.
- Release Date: Nov 19, 2004 (EU)
- Release Date: Mar 1, 2005 (US)
- Release Date: Nov 15, 2006 (US)