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Mortal Kombat Memories: Development Tales from NetherRealm Studios

Steve Beran's Avatar + Posted by Steve Beran on Aug 26, 2011 // Director of Art, NetherRealm Studios

I’m really happy to see the upcoming release of the Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection, which hits PSN next Tuesday, August 30th. The MKAK is a great way to relive the classic Mortal Kombat arcade games right in your own living room, but I’m also excited that players who enjoyed this year’s new Mortal Kombat will soon have the opportunity to play the first three games that set the foundation for the entire fighting-game franchise.

Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection for PS3 (PSN)

I was introduced to Mortal Kombat on April 20th, 1992. I was fresh out of art school and starting my career at Williams/Bally/Midway. I remembered being overwhelmed that I was actually walking into the building where some of my favorite games were created: Narc, Robotron, Defender, and Smash TV just to name a few. Mortal Kombat was yet to be released. However there were a few Mortal Kombat prototypes lining the halls of Midway that we could test out. I remember being just blown away by my first experiences with Mortal Kombat. What first struck me was the size of the digitized characters on the screen. They were huge! I remember selecting Kano as my first character: I was a big Terminator fan at the time, so the choice was obvious. I also remember how in awe I was working (and playing) along side of the guys that created the game. A few days after that, I met the actors that were filmed for the game. John Tobias and Ed Boon brought the whole cast of characters back in to capture the video bio sequences that happened during the attract mode. It was funny how low-budget the whole thing was. It was actually just filmed in the hallway where we tested the games with a low-end video camera, a few lights, and a piece of black cloth as the backdrop. It was a very garage-band scenario but I recall just being blown away that I was witnessing the creation of something big, never really knowing how big Mortal Kombat would actually become.

In this video clip, Mortal Kombat’s longtime Lead Sound Designer Dan Forden discusses the origins of “Toasty!” — one of the most celebrated Easter Eggs in the history of gaming.

Mortal Kombat II was fun in that I had the opportunity to witness the team create the game from the ground up. I was working on another game team at the time, but I was slowly becoming friends with Tobias, Ed, and Tony Goskie. Tony is an amazing artist that bases his talent in surrealism; Mortal Kombat II’s introduction to Outworld was a perfect match for Tony. Luckily my office was directly across from Tony’s so I had the opportunity to see him create some of the most iconic environments in the game. I remember Tony’s disappointment when he had to remove the crucified four-armed Shokan from the Wastelands. We thought it was an interesting element in the background, but the company thought it may be perceived as sacrilegious. One of the best memories I had from the Mortal Kombat II days was when I was asked to be the floating monk in the Tower background. You can’t really tell it’s me in the shrouded robe, but at the time I dorked out hard telling everyone I knew that I was in the latest Mortal Kombat!

In this video clip, Creative Director and co-creator Ed Boon talks about the creation of Mortal Kombat’s iconic dragon medallion logo.

Mortal Kombat 3 is special to me because that was the first Mortal Kombat I was on as an artist. I was honored that John and Ed asked me to join the team. I basically worked alongside John, cleaning up characters, building costumes, and creating special FX. Making Mortal Kombat 3 was a really great time. We busted our asses. We worked crazy hours and stayed overnight quite a bit. Building the character costumes was probably the most fun. Now we build everything in 3D, but back then we had to rely on sporting goods stores, army surplus stores, Halloween shops, and a lot of duct tape. It was a blast getting the cyborg costumes together: it was a mix of BMX motocross gear, hockey protection, duct tape, and rubber tubing. For being really thrown together I am really happy with the way Sektor and Cyrax turned out. By the way, before they were known as Sektor and Cyrax, John Vogel named them Ketchup and Mustard.

In this video clip, Mortal Kombat artist, animator, and motion-capture performer Carlos Pesina recalls how his mother reacted to his career choice.

I am honored to still be working on the Mortal Kombat franchise. I love the Mortal Kombat universe and all the talented people I get to work with every day. In addition to that, I feel we have the best fans in video games. They are extremely devoted and our team deeply appreciates their devotion over the past (almost) 20 years. Thank you all sincerely.

//Add Your Own

89 Comments

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1

+ WFMMK on August 26th, 2011 at 10:46 am said:

Can’t wait to buy this!


2

+ LovesJapanManga on August 26th, 2011 at 10:46 am said:

Ah! What memories we have! Thank you for that! By the way, are we going to look forward to the next sequel to Mortal Kombat? I really enjoyed this game so far…


3

+ Phillyblunz on August 26th, 2011 at 10:48 am said:

Always liked Goro, though always lost when i was him, LOL.

Also Raiden and sub-zero round out my fav characters.


4

+ Zemus101 on August 26th, 2011 at 10:52 am said:

Oooh my nostalgic bone is tingling! Er …yeah. Um.. I should buy this.


5

+ zombie9 on August 26th, 2011 at 10:55 am said:

AHH really how much for this MK Kollection does any know? thanks. smash TV lol (I’ll buy that for a dollar).
Sega had blood Nintendo took it out due to it being not being kiddy enough. :)


6

+ Phillyblunz on August 26th, 2011 at 10:59 am said:

I loved the concept of MK vs DCU, how about a sequel?

Keep Flash, Superman, Batman, and Lex they cool as hell.

Add Metamorpho, Fate, Clay Face, Supergirl, Darkside, and maybe some Robin or Nightwing or Batgirl.


7

+ Joshums on August 26th, 2011 at 11:03 am said:

2 questions:

How much will it cost?
Will MK have blood?


8

+ snakeman07 on August 26th, 2011 at 11:04 am said:

@ #5 zombie9 It will be $9.99


9

+ Myke-Myke on August 26th, 2011 at 11:07 am said:

Buying this Day 1.

Question: Will have this have custom soundtracks???

Will the current MK ever receive custom soundtracks like the demo???


10

+ Carl-G on August 26th, 2011 at 11:09 am said:

I wish there was more original old-skool games on PSN :-(

I would love to see original Versions of…

Space Invaders
Scramble
Galaxian
Bubble Bobble
Rally X
Pole Position
Rainbow Islands
ExZisus
Phoenix
Return of the Invaders
Frogger
Asteroids
Centipede
Missile Command
Pang
Bombjack
Arkanoid…

…Endless old-Skool list really;)


11

+ nin513 on August 26th, 2011 at 11:12 am said:

i bet the trophies will be hard >:( please make a MK collection with Deadly alliance, deception, and armeggeddon for ps3


12

+ JLP_M on August 26th, 2011 at 11:14 am said:

Going to buy for sure, also finally a rest to the people who say its not toasite but whoopsie.


13

+ bakerarmy on August 26th, 2011 at 11:20 am said:

Love MK. Played it in the arcade for hours. Always did cages 3 heads fatality and sub zero freeze and rip


14

+ WelmoscaBR on August 26th, 2011 at 11:39 am said:

@ nin513 yes man I agree with you I want MK collection for this PS2 games too…it would be awesome…but this arcade collection I’ll get just for trophies.


15

+ ArcticNinja21 on August 26th, 2011 at 11:49 am said:

I can’t wait to kick butt in UMK3. I destroyed just about everyone in that game when I was a kid.


16

+ Kyle_Reese23 on August 26th, 2011 at 11:51 am said:

can’t wait for this .. but i was expecting them to be an HD upgrade release /: !! but still fun !! anyways :)
)


17

+ Detective-E on August 26th, 2011 at 11:53 am said:

Waiting for video to buffer..

About to buy a card for this.

If I survive this Hurricane.


18

+ BlackIceJoe on August 26th, 2011 at 11:58 am said:

I wanted to ask does NetherRealm Studios have any plans on making a RPG? I could see the world of Mortal Kombat working out really great as a RPG. The world is beautiful & would be ripe for an open world RPG or anything like that.

Also with the Vita coming out soon do the team at NetherRealm have any plans to make a game for that system? Be it Mortal Kombat or another IP?


19

+ ChaseHammerJ on August 26th, 2011 at 12:07 pm said:

wheres the discount for people that bought MKII (the crappy version) on PSN already? …sheesh.


20

+ x-_Lito_-x on August 26th, 2011 at 12:14 pm said:

I love the old MK


21

+ FourUp2358 on August 26th, 2011 at 12:14 pm said:

First day buy for me….hope they make the other mk games a kollection aswell.


22

+ triple_lei on August 26th, 2011 at 12:20 pm said:

Reminds me of good times on the ol’ SNES. I might not even wait for a sale for this one!


23

+ ChaseHammerJ on August 26th, 2011 at 12:21 pm said:

@18 Blackicejoe

there is a kinda-RPG MK already, in deadly alliance.


24

+ triple_lei on August 26th, 2011 at 12:22 pm said:

And ChaseHammerJ, what was wrong with the PSN version? The only thing I didn’t like about it was that version of the game was too loud and there weren’t any volume controls.


25

+ VenomXv on August 26th, 2011 at 12:24 pm said:

I’m buying this game day 1. Thanks for bringing it back on the scene. These games really built the foundation of MK, especially UMK3.

However, I think everyone agrees that we need Mortal Kombat Trilogy: HD Remix, or something similar that balances the characters and adds new graphics n stuff like that. UMK3 HD remake was released on the iPhone/iPad (which could be better), but I think you guys should develop a remake of some sort specifically for consoles.

The original arcade games are a MUST have, but an HD remake is past due!


26

+ WilHiteWarrior on August 26th, 2011 at 12:24 pm said:

This is just a reminder that they chose the cheap way instead of making an HD kollection of the games. Arcade perfect means it retains the cheater AI from the arcade games. This collection is fail all the way. sorry.


27

+ Dcrazy204 on August 26th, 2011 at 12:31 pm said:

is nice we could get this but i think is would be awesome if we could get mortal kombat trilogy hd remix.Add all the level from the previos series.


28

+ DoTheKiller91 on August 26th, 2011 at 12:34 pm said:

I think that it would be cool if Netherealm Studios would bring Mortal Kombat Shaolin Monks in HD! Shaolin Monks had a great coop gameplay! Just think about it, Netherealm Studios…!


29

+ PETE-Roc908 on August 26th, 2011 at 12:43 pm said:

awesome……cant wait to get it


30

+ EdMoney on August 26th, 2011 at 12:49 pm said:

I agree with #19. Sony usually screws over early adopters and those who buy a lot on PSN. I definitely would appreciate a discount on the collection since I already have MKII from 2 or 3 years ago.

I’m still mad that back at E3 last year Sony said that cross game chat would be mostly for the PS+ customers. Now 14 months after the release of plus, they tell us that the PS3 doesn’t have enough memory to do that. This fanboy is having less tolerance for the conniving and lies.


31

+ Airwalkinman17 on August 26th, 2011 at 12:49 pm said:

lololololololol x10!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That last video was so freakin funny cause that is what my mom would sound like if she saw me playing Mortal Kombat. Really cool post. I love hearing the artists perspective on things. I’m an artist myself and I get really inspired when I hear another artist’ account on the development process. Thanks for visiting the blog Steve! :D


32

+ YungShep on August 26th, 2011 at 12:53 pm said:

this should of been included in the PLAY program, but day 1 none the less {PIT III SOUNDTRACK WOOT!!!!]


33

+ XNO_FACE on August 26th, 2011 at 1:02 pm said:

COOL ABOUT MK 1, MK2, MK3…. BUT WHAT ABOUT MK4?
IT CALLED Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection………. MK4 IS ARCADE…. WHY IS IT NOT INCLUDED????
WHY? WHY?


34

+ XNO_FACE on August 26th, 2011 at 1:04 pm said:

MK4 RULES JUST LIKE THE OTHERS….. MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..MK4..


35

+ LordMarvin on August 26th, 2011 at 1:07 pm said:

Can’t wait to buy


36

+ ROLO_ONFIRE on August 26th, 2011 at 1:23 pm said:

MK Trilogy instead of UMK3 would’ve been better


37

+ mandown40 on August 26th, 2011 at 1:30 pm said:

Yeah MK Trilogy was the best back then got it for my B-Day when I was young.All in all kool blogs today!


38

+ Dcrazy204 on August 26th, 2011 at 2:06 pm said:

Mortal kombat trilogy hd remix would be cool.Imagine if we play,and earn coins.With all that coins we could unlock levels,characters artwork,mortal kombat 1,2,3 and ultimate fatality,plus many more.and please no dlc.Save those dlc for mk2 remake.


39

+ asop89 on August 26th, 2011 at 2:26 pm said:

Great job guys on this fantastic franchise!!! I still remember when I grew up with MK2 back in 1994 (that was the first game in the series to appear in my country), both MK2 & UMK3 were among my favorite & brings back memories :D can’t wait for this to be released!!!


40

+ HeavyD-Love on August 26th, 2011 at 2:26 pm said:

Hello,
Please clarify….is this in HD yes or no?
Thank you


41

+ theXsilentXchild on August 26th, 2011 at 2:27 pm said:

I love these things. Wish there were more documentaries looking back at older franchises.


42

+ mixedkidbx on August 26th, 2011 at 2:30 pm said:

I grew up loving and playing MK, MK2, MK3, UMK3 in the arcades as a kid. MK was one of the best arcade games back then, along with Killer Instinct.

I used to spend all day in the mall in the arcade. We always had lines waiting to play the game (king of hill type style). Those were the days.

So many great games came out back in those days, which set a standard for the games we have today. MK 1 broke the boundaries for all other games today.

Thanks guys for changing the future of gaming back in those days. Without you guys doing what you did back then, who knows how the gaming community would be right now, and even what would be acceptable in video games today.


43

+ elchorno on August 26th, 2011 at 3:00 pm said:

Is the MKII included in the trilogy the same as the version I bought on the PS Store last year? If it is, it’s a damn good port and will have to add it to my kollection (see what I did there with the k, ha)


44

+ KingDubin on August 26th, 2011 at 3:17 pm said:

Is this game going to come with the infamous “Blood Code” where you have to enter a cheat code in order to turn on the blood and gore?

*Realizes That This is The Actual Arcade Versions And Not The Super NES and Sega Genesis Versions*

Oh, I see.

NVM. Carrying On……..


45

+ MrBeatdown on August 26th, 2011 at 3:19 pm said:

I’ll have to grab this at some point. $10 for three games is a pretty sweet deal.


46

+ blakseed on August 26th, 2011 at 3:20 pm said:

Like the classic MK love. If you guys do a second collection, could you add Deadly Alliance, Deception, and Armageddon and throw Shaolin Monks with co op in as a bonus? I have them all for PS2, but trophies, online mp, and HD would be welcome indeedy. I would buy them all again in a split second.


47

+ Motherboop on August 26th, 2011 at 4:06 pm said:

Would have loved a platinum trophy… but hey, I grew up with these games, it’s a day 1 buy for me :)


48

+ plaztiksyke on August 26th, 2011 at 4:14 pm said:

This is a great article, a great insight from the trenches. I wish more PSblog posts were more personal like this one.

As a teenager, I would print copies of the MK2 combo FAQ from usenet and then sell it to fanatics at the local arcade. I always thought the video capture looked really great (and in Pit Fighter as well), even though I preferred the Konami 4-player co-op brawlers at the time.

No platinum trophy is pretty disappointing, given that Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection had one.

PS: I hope that Joust, Gauntlet II, and Q-bert get trophy updates as MK2 has done with this collection.


49

+ Wez455 on August 26th, 2011 at 5:11 pm said:

Would of loved to see MK3 (even tho its basically the same as UMK3) and MK4 as a part of this collection but I’m not going to complain. $10 for 3 MK games is a steal anyway. Day 1 buy!


50

+ acdatpb on August 26th, 2011 at 5:39 pm said:

Is this HD??


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