Injustice 2 Interview with Ed Boon at SDCC 2016
Continuing our Injustice 2 coverage, we had the opportunity to talk with the mastermind of NetherRealm Studios, Ed Boon.
NetherRealm Studios was at the cornerstone of many, many childhoods. From tearing out pages of fatalities in old gaming magazines to setting up dream fights with our favorites DC superheroes, NetherRealm has created franchises that have had a lasting impact on the fighting game genre. Next year, the team is aiming to top their much beloved first title with a sequel that is much more than just an expanded roster.
When asking Ed Boon about how Injustice 2 will differ from Injustice he said, “I think we started off with what people would expect us to do, a bigger roster with characters we couldn’t include in the last game, going deeper into the DC roster. I guess the biggest thing that we added is what we call the gear system, which is a whole system of acquiring gear pieces which power up your character and this constant search for the best version of your character.”
Further expanding on the loot system, “So, you have Batman, and you can make him a little bit better if you find the special gauntlets that increase his damage, a little bit more effective. You can find a utility belt that makes his interaction with the backgrounds more effective. So you are constantly doing the drop system like loot drops.” Boon added, “You are doing that constant search and pursuit for your ultimate version, your custom version of Batman, Superman, Aquaman and stuff like that.”
The gear system was met with middling reactions. On the one hand, searching out loot and being able to make a certain character unique to you sounds like a fantastic idea. However, with random loot drops comes the bane of just about every gamer’s existence… paying for loot drops. Somewhat of a recent introduction to the console space, paying for loot crates/boxes/bags, etc provides the same satisfaction as pulling the handle of a slot machine. Dropping money, waiting for the RNG gods to bless you with something useful, and usually being disappointed with what has been given. Having said that, you can grind your way to loot, although the extent to which that is used is unknown. Certain games dole this out better than others, so we will see what NetherRealm Studios (ultimately WB) decides to implement with the title moving forward.
DLC has been a mainstay for the Mortal Kombat and Injustice titles for quite sometime now. With various skins and levels, it’s always nice to freshen up the content, but again, it all depends on what the base title has to offer. But for those that do enjoy nabbing every skin out there, Boon stated, “I think we are going to go further with DLC than any of our previous games.” He clarified that the DLC will be, “Most likely with packs of characters and costumes. Some of our costumes will be a gear piece, so if you put on a gear piece, you might switch over to a different character. And that is going to be another part of what makes finding these pieces so much fun.”
The last tidbit provides more clarity on what was teased. Since Supergirl and Powergirl as essentially the same hero, we can surmise that there won’t be a Powergirl at the select screen but an armor piece that allows you to turn into her.
With the vast number of DC properties across their Comics, Animation movies, and TV shows, there’s certainly a lot of potential candidates that we can see make their way into the game. When asked if they have talked about pulling from the different franchises, Boon stated, “We are absolutely open to those ideas. We’ve done a little bit of that. Like, we have the Man of Steel Superman in our games and stuff like that, so we are constantly looking for crossover things like that. Again a lot of the fans of these games, they watch the movies. They see the animated show, and there is a cool novelty to seeing that in the game.”
Rosters in Mortal Kombat and Injustice titles are always book-ended by the strength of their characters, and it appears that NetherRealm hears that loud and clear with what has been revealed going forward with Injustice 2. When asked about characters and skins coming to Injustice 2, Boon stated, “So, we are going half of them are new and half of them are returning to keep it as fresh as possible.” So, it will be interesting to see who does/doesn’t make the cut coming over from Injustice. On top of the DC characters, there is always speculation as to what guest characters we could expect to make their way over into Injustice 2, and if it was up to Boon, there would be plenty. “We definitely have had a lot of discussion about guest characters. Like in Injustice, we had Scorpion from Mortal Kombat, and he was actually the most downloaded of all the characters. So, there is always a discussion of would it be cool to have this character in. And I have certainly had people approach me and ask, ‘Do you want to have this guy in the game?’ But, it is a pretty long process, you know a lot of discussion, and it definitely doesn’t boil down to, ‘Do we want him in? Okay, he’s in.’ Because there are licenses, and stuff like that.”
Finally, a NetherRealm Studios fighting game wouldn’t be so without a strong campaign. Their studio is one of the very few that actually puts effort into making a convincing, enjoyable story. I didn’t buy it as much in MKX, but their previous titles including MK9 and Injustice 1 were fantastic. “Story in fighting games is kind of like a punch line, kind of like a joke. There is just no story in fighting games. We wanted to do the opposite,” said Boon. “We have a multi-hour cinematic experience that you play where we are telling a very elaborate story. We hired professional actors and everything to play the roles of these characters. We try to tell as elaborate of a story. We want to try to tell something as close to this great cinematic experience where you participate in the fights.”
To further place emphasis on how important the story is to NetherRealm, it actually ties into the previous title and comics. “What’s so cool is that between the comics and the game, they are telling one big long story. And time-wise, the first comic was chapter 1. The first game was chapter 2. The next comic is chapter 3, and our game will be chapter 4. So that’ll be a really cool long story,” Boon exclaimed.
Injustice 2 is shaping up to be another solid NetherRealm title. Their ability to add more than a host of new characters, which is indeed awesome, should push them further into “must-buy” territory. With a collection of well-loved characters, this game will certainly span the spectrum from the casual to the hardcore gamer.
You can catch Ed Boon teasing various upcoming characters at the following links:
Be sure to check out our previous coverage of Injustice 2 at San Diego Comic Con:
Laura Bailey (Supergirl) Interview: http://dualpix1ls.com/2016/07/29/injustice-2-interview-with-voice-actor-laura-bailey-at-sdcc/