Ed Boon Talks Mortal Kombat on the Vita

From the PlayStation Vita launch in Toronto, the creator of Mortal Kombat discusses the “most feature-rich Mortal Kombat we’ve ever made.”

Electric Playground: You’ve seen Mortal Kombat on many different platforms. What makes the Vita version special?

Ed Boon: You can have the exact same kind of experience that everyone enjoyed in the Mortal Kombat that was released in April, plus all of these additional features. This version uses the Vita’s unique features, like the touchscreen and the accelerometer. We added the ability to do Fatalities by swiping and doing patterns on the screen, as well as touching the screen to do X-ray moves.

All of the features that were made available to download—all of the DLC characters like Rain, Kenshi, Skarlet, as well as Kratos from God of War—all of that is packed in there with the game modes and story content that was available in the original. It’s the most feature-rich Mortal Kombat we’ve ever made.

EP: A good fighting game can really destroy the noobs and the unskilled. Do the touchscreen features make the Vita version more accessible?

Ed Boon: I definitely think it’s more accessible in terms of being able to fire off moves that some people might have found difficult in the old version. To do a Fatality, you can literally slash patterns into the screen, kind of like what you’re used to doing with a portable phone device. To do an X-ray move, all you have to do is hit “X-ray” on the screen. There are a lot of features that a maybe only a hardcore fighting game guy was enjoying. Now the more casual player can enjoy it as well.

EP: The are plenty of hardcore MK fanatics. What will they like about the Vita edition?

Ed Boon: It’s hard to describe, but when you turn the game on, you instantly become familiar. Anyone who’s a fan of the game will instantly realize how we’ve captured the essence of Mortal Kombat 2011 into this version. It’s so detailed. That’s the thing that I’m most excited about, you get the same experience: 60 frames a second and all of the crisp graphics. It’s amazing how the Vita is able to present that experience on the small screen.

EP: What kind of multiplayer is supported?

The real essence of playing a fighting game is really playing against another person. So we obviously knew that we were going to have ad hoc fighting, but we also added online, playing over Wi-Fi… The essential part is being able to find an opponent anywhere, at any time.

EP: Is there a lot to do for solo players?

Ed Boon: When you think about it, a person playing on a portable device, they mainly play by themselves in short bursts, maybe waiting in line at a coffee shop or waiting for the bus. We’ve added a ton of features that are tailored for that experience.

Play a couple of Challenge Tower missions. We added 150 of them, in addition to the 300 that were already there. We really tried to keep in mind how people use a portable device with that much power, and tailor the game to it.

EP: Which of the new missions is the most challenging? Do you have a favourite?

Ed Boon: To me the most challenging—and my most favourite—are the ones that involve you fighting while you have to do something on the screen. There’s a crazy mission where you’re playing as Raiden and his head is constantly inflating. You have to keep touching his head to prevent it from exploding.

In another one, you’re fighting someone and blood is getting all over the screen. You can’t see. You have to wipe the blood off the screen to keep fighting. It’s challenging to the players to see how many plates they can keep spinning.

EP: Do you have a favourite fighter?

Ed Boon: That’s easy. Scorpion. I just like his tactics. The spear comes in so handy, he’s able to teleport… [His moves] translate perfectly.

He’s actually the first character that we really put something special into in the first Mortal Kombat 20 years ago. I’ve always had an emotional connection to Scorpion.

EP: Explain to us in your own words why the Vita version of Mortal Kombat kicks ass.

Ed Boon: Because everything that you loved about the Mortal Kombat that we released in April—the game that sold over 3 million units and still counting—everything is in there. All of the DLC and Kratos is in there. It’s easily the most feature-packed Mortal Kombat game ever made. Everything you love about Mortal Kombat and then some.

-Interview by Jason MacIsaac