Back To Basics With Mortal Kombat
August 4, 2010 Page 3 of 3
Back to accessibility, what's more important to you personally, as a designer, when you're setting goals for stuff? Is it more important to please the casual gamer, to make it fun and pick up and play, or the really hardcore guy that plays fighting games very seriously?
EB: Oh, like in tournaments and all that stuff? You know, oddly enough, this game is the first one in awhile that we really made a conscious effort that we are going to focus hard on the hardcore player. And, at the same time, we want to stay accessible.
But the numbers, the simple numbers of it, is just that there are far, far more of the casual players than there are of the hardcore players. The hardcore player is the most vocal -- if you just went online and you just kinda looked at forums and all that stuff, you'd think that everybody was a hardcore player.
But the reality is just those are the ones who care to the point of getting online, and they're passionate, they're very opinionated, and all that. And I think they're very important, certainly from the standpoint of the ones who communicate the most. But the reality is that there are more casual players out there.
Now, for this game, we are really going after that hardcore player; we have some features in the game that are just very layered into the game, and I think that the casual people will still have a good time, but they won't they're not going to dig as deep in terms of fighting mechanics, and features, and strategy, and all that.
How has the sale from Midway to Warner affected your studio?
EB: It's been nothing but positive. Warner Bros. has demonstrated nothing but the utmost respect and courtesy for us.
We've been working on our games in the middle of the eye of a storm. There was a bankruptcy; there was a whole process of talking with other companies, and I was very, very involved with that. So that consumed a lot of my time -- just talking with other companies, and flying all over the world, and kind of trying to find what the best match was.
Warner Bros. came in and the first thing was, "We want you to focus on quality. We want to give you the time to finish your game, to the point where it's where you want it to be." So they really want to let us make a game that's going to be, certainly, a great first impression -- in terms of our brand new studio and WB.
And I think people are seeing the results of that; I really believe that E3, and people playing the game, and the reception that we've gotten, is demonstrating the results of that strategy.
The bankruptcy happened in February 2009, and then the sale happened, and all that stuff. How did that affect morale in the studio?
EB: I can't lie to you, it was really sad to see so many familiar faces leaving the company, but we didn't lose anybody in our team. We remained very solid, that was something that I felt was really important for our team, was to know that -- because every game that we've made has performed well and has been a profit.
Some of the bad decisions of others, we really didn't feel it was fair that we should be penalized for that. So I had a number of friends working on other games in the studio that unfortunately were not picked up, because the game wasn't far enough along or it wasn't something that the companies coming in were interested in.
As a result, now I have a lot of friends who are working for other companies, the competition, that we also keep in touch with. But it's just a little weird, just because some friends are at THQ, some are at EA, some are at Activision, some are at movie shops, so it's just a different thing. So it was sad, to be honest, to see people leaving the company. But our team remained intact.
And the interesting thing with Warner is that it's a big media company, so you have all this cross-media talk going on. There was that [Mortal Kombat] movie pitch that the internet really picked up on. Did you guys have any hand in that?
EB: No. You know, the day that it came out, that everybody was kind of, "Oh my God, what is this?" We were with everybody getting that same reaction. "Where is this from? Oh my God, I can't believe it." You know, we had our theories as to who made it and who did it.
And a lot of people assumed that it was us, and it was somehow tied to the announcement of our next game, and all that. I was really impressed with it, but at the same time I was concerned that it was just going to detract from the announcement that we had, the next day, of our game, and then going into E3.
So I thought it was incredibly well done, and a great re-imagining of MK -- kind of like they do with some of these alternate universes of Batman and Superman and all that. I think it's a very legitimate alternate universe Mortal Kombat, and so I was excited about it.
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