We were lucky enough to chat with the producer of Injustice: Gods Among Us, NetherRealm's Erin Piepergerdes, last weekend at San Diego Comic-Con. The conversation touched on the enormous catalogue of DC characters, as well as the trials of balancing the needs of hardcore and casual players, but first, we started with a recap:
What exactly it is we're dealing with in Injustice: Gods Among Us?
This is the next fighting game from the Mortal Kombat team. This time we're set solely in the DC universe. You're going to see big iconic characters, like Batman and Superman. For Comic-Con, we actually just announced Nightwing and Cyborg, two new characters. In terms of the overall scope of the game, didn't want to make it feel exactly like a Mortal Kombat game, so we've done some new and unique things. For one thing, you'll see a lot of interactive objects in the environment that the player can use. We want the arena selection to be just as important as the character selection. People always find different fight styles that they like and gravitate toward those characters. We want the players to be just as strategic when they pick the environment that they fight in as well.
How did you move toward this rather than another Mortal Kombat game or another Mortal Kombat vs. DC game?
It's a breath of fresh air. I mean, well obviously we love Mortal Kombat, but with each and every Mortal Kombat game, there are certain things that the players expect. They're always going to want to see fatalities, they're always going to want to see the over-the-top, brutal violence and super-moves. With DC, this gives us a chance to expand and push the fighting gameplay in directions we wouldn't necessarily get to do with Mortal Kombat. Plus, who doesn't want to make a game with these characters? I mean, they're classics.
There's been some controversy over whether those characters should be performing fatalities. How did you handle that in Injustice?
There are no fatalities, but you'll see some pretty over-the-top super-moves. Every character has a super-move that's custom-tailored to fit their character.Again, you're not going to see Superman rip someone's head off.
What other aspects of Mortal Kombat are you happy to leave behind in order to explore new territory?
That's a good question. Both games are going to have some similarities. We want casual players to be able to pick it up and do cool things. At the same time, we want there to be a level of depth for the fighting game guys—the guys that go to EVO and the other tournaments. If you really spend time practicing you'll be able to string together moves into long combos and do some really cool visual treats. It's not like we've completely veered off from our roots but at the same time, it gives us a chance to push the boundaries a little bit.
What kind of things specifically are going to open Injustice up to casual players?
There's a moves list with every character in there, and a lot of the basic attacks that you won't need five or six button inputs to pull off. There's, the three face buttons like, high, low, and medium attack. When you're making a fighting game, there's always a fine line that you've got to walk to make sure that it is casual enough for those players, and yet deep enough for the fighting game tournament players. I think we've done a pretty good job with it thus far.