Despite the Mortal Kombat series’ place as a staple of 1990s arcade culture, leading to countless copycats as well as multi-medium spin-offs, creator Ed Boon struggled to redefine the fighting game genre in the years that followed. As attention turned from arcade cabinets to console projects, as well as live-action 2D face-offs to animated 3D arena brawling, the Mortal Kombat series became a bloated (albeit still popular) franchise – one that was mostly attempting to stay relevant in a fast-growing market.
However, with the founding of his own development house, NetherRealm Studios, (formerly Midway Studios) Boon went back to basics – delivering a Mortal Kombat title that combined the latest technology with tried and true retro fighting mechanics. As a result, Mortal Kombat 9 was one of the most well-received and profitable titles of 2011 – a success that was followed in 2013 with the DC Entertainment inspired game, Injustice: Gods Among Us. Now, in the absence of official word from the studio on what is next in the NetherRealm pipeline, Boon has begun teasing a presumed announcement before E3 2014 – but what will it be?
The Mortal Kombat creator began his cryptic countdown on Sunday May 4th – using math problems and puzzles to post each entry to Twitter.
Check out the developer’s tweets below:
Square root of 841.— Ed Boon (@noobde) May 4, 2014
Question: How many days in (non-leap-year) February?— Ed Boon (@noobde) May 5, 2014
For those who are not interested in calculating prime numbers or astronomic calendar synchronization, the answers to Boon’s first two tweets are 29 and 28, respectively – meaning that, assuming the announcement isn’t delayed, fans should get a NetherRealm Studios reveal on June 2nd (several days ahed of E3 2014). In the past, NetherRealm unveilingsÂ (in partnership with Warner Bros. Interactive) have been accompanied by a debut trailer – most recently with Injustice: Gods Among Us kicking-off pre-E3 2012 festivities with actual gameplay footage.
However, at this point Boon is extremely guarded about what players can expect. We do not know for sure that the reveal is even Mortal Kombat related – though, that is the most likely possibility.
Check out another tweet from Boon below which asserts they are working on a new Mortal Kombat (something we’ve known for awhile) – though this does not necessarily mean the countdown isn’t related to something else entirely:
Rumors of Mortal Kombat 10 have been circulating for over a year – with actorÂ Kiefer Sutherland even stating he was hired for a part in the game. Prior to the announcement of Injustice: Gods Among Us, Boon had suggested that the studio was going to take time away from Mortal Kombat (so they could work on the DC Comics fighter) but the brand is too popular to be left on the sidelines for too long – especially after the team reinvigorated interest. Back in 2012, Boon was already talking about improvements and innovations he’d like to make – teasing that the next Mortal Kombat game could even be next-gen.
Previously, it was rumored the game would also coincide with the release of the Mortal Kombat movie reboot (originally scheduled for 2015) but now that directorÂ Kevin Tancharoen is no longer attached to the film, meaning it will be awhile before Scorpion and Sub-Zero make it back to the big screen, it’s likely that NetherRealm and Warner Bros. are still committed to the same release window.
Nevertheless, without official information, it is also possible that the studio is instead doubling-down on their superhero brawler – prepping a follow-up to Injustice: Gods Among Us. Still, reports of Mortal Kombat 10 development are far more numerous (and credible) than those suggesting Injustice: Gods Among Us 2 will be next. The same can be said for the prospects of a brand new IP – with two highly profitable fighting franchises waiting for expansion, it’s much more likely that NetherRealm will revisit and evolve an established series than take a chance on something entirely new (at least right now).
For now, we have 27 more days to wait but it’s hard to imagine that Boon won’t dole out a few hints ahead of the countdown striking zero.
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Weâ€™ll you bring you more updates onÂ Mortal Kombat 10 (or Injustice: Gods Among Us 2)Â as details become available.
Follow me on TwitterÂ @benkendrick.