You’ve seen the video. Now read what compelled Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon to bring 80s horror icon Freddy Kruger to Mortal Kombat as a downloadable guest character this August. In discussing the news with the PlayStation.Blog, Boon shed light on the long, sometimes tangled genesis of Mortal’s Kombat’s other DLC characters — namely Rain, Skarlet, and Kenshi. One began as a joke, one was an incorrect rumor, and one…well, you’ll see.
Look for Freddy to hit PSN on August 9th for $4.99, and read on for my full chat with Ed Boon.
PlayStation.Blog: So what is the inspiration for bringing Freddy Krueger to Mortal Kombat as a DLC character?
Ed Boon, Creative Director, Netherrealm Studios: It was a number of things. It’s kind of hard to choose a character who would fit well into the Mortal Kombat universe, with the blood and violence that’s so associated with it. Kratos from God of War is a brutal, bloody character, so he makes sense. When we had the discussions about the DLC characters, we knew that we wanted to add a returning character, a new character, but also a guest character. That was one of the goals right from the beginning. A number of names were run by us: Jason, Michael Myers and all those guys. Freddy Kreuger, we felt, was the most instantly recognizable and he fits in with Mortal Kombat with his claws. It just seemed like the best fit.
PSB: Did you base Freddy off the 80s films or the reboot movie from a few years back?
Well…that’s a good question. We didn’t try to make him look like the actor Robert Englund, I don’t even know if we would be allowed to….Admittedly, I didn’t see the latest movie, the remake. But obviously the first few movies were huge — they left an undeniable mark on pop culture. When I look at him, I think of the original Freddy: he’s got the striped sweater and is instantly recognizable. He’s Freddy in general, we don’t really identify him as one version or another.
PSB: Freddy isn’t exactly a martial artist. How does he keep up with the kombatants?
[laughs] He doesn’t fight like a martial artist, either! We gave him two claws, which we explain in his character bio, so you can almost imagine a Baraka with shorter blades that are always out. He’s got lots of swipes, he can send his claws creepy-crawling on the ground or flying through the air. He can dig into the ground and the claws will come up under his opponent. He’s very claw-centric.
PSB: Will Freddy’s ability to invade his victims’ dreams play into his Mortal Kombat incarnation in any way?
Yeah, you’ll see some of that. His story ending really plays into that. In the middle of a fight, you won’t see him entering a guy’s head in a dream sequence or anything, but there is plenty of dream-related stuff in his introduction animation, his victory stance, his fatalities and so forth.
PSB: Ten, 15 years ago when Mortal Kombat was early in its lifespan, did you ever fantasize about getting Freddy Krueger into MK?
Yeah, yeah. Over the years, we’ve certainly had a number of conversations about guest characters. At one point, we had a conversation about having a group — imagine Freddy, Jason, Michael Myers, Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre — of all these killers from the 80s and 90s flicks come in as a group of characters. We never got a grip on how we would do it, whether they’d be DLC characters or what. But yes, we’ve had lots of conversations over the years. We also wanted to introduce a character who was unexpected. This DLC thing opens the doors to realizing these ideas. Kratos was one we discussed as a DLC character a number of times, but luckily we could include him as the initial cast of characters [in the PS3 version]. With Freddy, we felt like the stars had aligned — it was time to do it.
PSB: What is your process for choosing DLC characters? Why did you begin with Kenshi, who was the only character from the Deadly Alliance games to make the jump?
I’ve personally always big a big fan of Kenshi, as were many of the guys on the MK team. So we gravitated to Kenshi. We always knew we’d add Rain right from the beginning. I was bombarded for weeks on Twitter with fans begging for Rain, so I had a little fun with it. Each DLC character, I believe, satisfies a certain group of our audience that we knew was clamoring for it.
PSB: Speaking of Rain, he was originally hinted at in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. What was the genesis of Rain?
Rain was me being a jerk, basically. [laughs] When we were working on Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, I was thinking “what ninja color have we not done yet?” … and I’m a huge Prince fan, so I was thinking Purple Rain. I was probably still listening to the album. There was no time to actually make a character, because the game was done. So I hacked into the attract screen a quick little sequence of this purple ninja running at Shao Kahn. We didn’t even have the word “Rain” in the powerbar, so I manually built it using our font. So I included this quick glimpse just to drive people crazy. Once Mortal Kombat Trilogy came out, we gave Rain new moves and he finally became a real character. Later we brought him back for Mortal Kombat Armageddon. That’s one of the things about Mortal Kombat: many of the characters have these goofy development histories. Noob Saibot, Reptile…all of these odd origin stories.
PSB: What about Skarlet? She was a rumored secret character from MKII, right?
She was a completely rumored character. She never existed, she was born out of a rumor. It got such legs that a name actually came out of it; there was never a glitch that turned Kitana red, that never existed. That was just an urban legend like Animalities and Ermac — a rumor that we eventually wanted to make true.