Mortal Kombat X Executive Producer Shaun Himmerick Talks Tournaments, Goro, Game Modes

There’s brutal and then there’s Mortal Kombat. Once the ninth installment revitalized the franchise and catapulted the series back to the forefront of competitive gaming, expectations were high. With Mortal Kombat X in the spotlight, and lines of people gathering to play a single round at PlayStation Experience, things are shaping up to be better than ever. That’s why we decided to pull Mortal Kombat executive producer Shaun Himmerick aside during PSX and ask him a few questions about the upcoming game.

[Hardcore Gamer] How strict will MKX adhere to continuity of the last game, specifically as it relates to dead characters?

[Shaun Himmerick, NetherRealm Studios] Well, the last game is canon, and we’re playing pretty strict to that. However, we do have Quan Chi in the game, who is a sorcerer, so, during the last Mortal Kombat game he resurrected some characters who are now kind of revenants — from the dead he resurrected them and they could fight against you. They looked a little zombie-esque, revenants as we call them, so that is a possibility in the game. Now, in the lore of Mortal Kombat, Quan Chi has resurrected various people from the dead and they’ve returned in various forms that don’t always work, because his technology isn’t the greatest, right? So, there are ways to bring back people. They may not be perfect or as they have ever been, but they can come back.

You haven’t talked a lot about alternate game modes.

Yes, and we’re not really. We’re really only talking about the one on one right now, and story mode since those are ones we’ve announced. There are more coming, but we’re saving them for later announcements.

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In Mortal Kombat 9 you had Test Your Luck and the Challenge Tower. Is that a direction you might be taking with MKX?

I cannot confirm anything like that [Looks over at another representative]. Do you see her face?

How will Goro’s status as a pre-order only character affect the competitive fighting game scene? Players who don’t have him won’t be able to practice with or against him.

I’m not really sure what they’ll do about that. Most likely, they will have him be a character that’s completely fight-able, but I guarantee that they will have a version of the game where they can put it on the machines to have him. Or maybe like what they did with Kratos in MK9, because he was only on the PS3. I think he was not allowed. So they might just say he’s not allowed. It’s usually the tournament that sets the rules. As far as we’re concerned, he would be a viable character, but the tournaments themselves set them, and they said no Kratos. And then DLC characters they did only after they’ve been out a certain number of days. So, I’m not sure what they’ll do actually, now that I think about it. But I would think he would just be allowed.

Which brings me to a good followup question, are there any plans for platform-specific characters like Kratos in Mortal Kombat 9?

We have no platform exclusive characters planned for MKX.

Since you guys really brought Mortal Kombat back into the forefront of fighting games, does the team see this as a second coming, or is there an end goal in sight?

With MK9 we definitely wanted to kind of reboot to some degree; reset, and that was a very nostalgic game. We told the story of MK1, 2, and 3, babalities was in there, and Test Your Luck, and so many nostalgic features were in that game. This [MKX] is taking the next step. We’re bringing in decedents, new characters, 25 years into the future — we’re definitely taking the next step. So I guess I would say, to half-answer your question, 9 was kind of a reboot, and this is the next step. We’re definitely evolving.


Since the last entry was far more tournament friendly than any iteration, how important is it to conform to fighting game community standards?

I think this game is going to be even better in the fighting game community, and it’s definitely something we want to do. And it’s a big goal of ours internally to make sure the game is one that’s perfect, or as good as it can be, for the fighting scene. For example, we’re very proud of the fact that when you play MK9 or Injustice in the tournament scene, there’s often 6, 7, 8 different characters in the final 8 players. We’re very proud of the fact that it’s not, “oh these two are the only two who you can really fight with because they’re overpowered,” and it’s very important to us that there’s so many different characters being utilized. I mean, Batgirl has just become popular in the tournament scene. What we do is, we actually bring tournament level guys — the top players in the country — to our studio during the last phase of development to help us find that balance, to make sure we don’t have a super-overpowered character and try to bring everyone up to an even level. It’s important to us that that’s something we’re able to do. I think the variations of characters is going to really help that, because anyone going “oh that’s a bad match-up” could find a better variation that helps balance it out even more.

Fantastic, thank you!

Those were good questions. I was waiting for “what are your favorite socks?”

What are your favorite socks? Argyle?

I do love argyle socks.