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Mortal Kombat To Return In 2011

"Reinvented 2D fighting mechanic" and "all-new graphics engine" to drive the next Mortal Kombat.

 Johnny always seemed like the kind of guy that'd get his own name tattooed on his chest... 
Johnny always seemed like the kind of guy that'd get his own name tattooed on his chest... 
It's been a real rollercoaster of a week over here between a director's pitch for a potential Mortal Kombat movie leaking out, followed by the revelation that the pitch wasn't official in any way. Up until now, all we really knew about the future of Mortal Kombat is that Ed Boon and his team in Chicago were working on something that was often referred to as Mortal Kombat 9, and the occasional slip of info pegged it as being a return to the franchise's gory roots.

Today, the game was officially re-announced as simply "Mortal Kombat." The game will remain polygonal, but will (finally) return to its 2D roots. No more sidestepping away from Scorpion's spear. The release mentions an "all-new graphics engine," which makes it sound like it's more than a repurposing the technology used in 2008's Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, which ran on the Unreal Engine
Here's some video showing the game in action. 
Multiplayer tag battles have been included this time around, allowing up to four players to participate in a single match locally or online. The tag concept will also carry over to a single player cooperative mode. A lot of classic characters will return, including...

Someone resembling old, withered, MK1 Shang Tsung appears on a throne in one of the stages, as well. Some classic stages from the series' past will return, including a great-looking version of The Pit 2 and the Dead Pool, both of which first appeared in Mortal Kombat II.

 That's a very large (and very cold) tattoo needle. 
That's a very large (and very cold) tattoo needle. 
Looking at the actual fighting, it looks like there will be some kind of helper attack feature, where your tagged-out partner dashes in, executes an attack, and leaves, much like Marvel vs. Capcom 2. The other thing you notice from watching the trailer is that the game ain't playing around with the juggles. There are some very serious-looking combos going on, and they don't look much like the dial-a-combo stuff from Mortal Kombat 3. This is just a hunch, but I suspect that the Pro Moves concept from MKvDC will appear in this game. The double teleport kicks from Mileena (shown in the trailer) look too crazy and too close together to be anything else. Another sequence, where Johnny Cage's punches translate into Golgo 13-like cutaways of the bones underneath his victim's skin, almost looks like a separate type of finishing move. Maybe it's a Brutality? Stage fatalities and just plain old fatalities will also appear in the game.

Mortal Kombat is being developed by the newly renamed NetherRealm Studios, which is a snappier moniker than "WB Games Chicago," the name the team took on after the transition away from Midway, was. Despite all of the name changes, this is still the Chicago-based team led by Ed Boon, one of the creators of the series. Here's what he had to say in the game's announcement.

“We can’t wait for players to get their hands on Mortal Kombat,” said Ed Boon, Creative Director, NetherRealm Studios. “This game really is a response to what players have been demanding: mature presentation, reinvented 2D fighting mechanic and the best, most gruesome fatalities ever!”

Mortal Kombat is scheduled for release in 2011 on the Xbox 360 and  PlayStation 3.
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