The History of Mortal Kombat – Episode 10 – Out of The Arena

During the development of Mortal Kombat: Deception, Midway showed first signs of financial instability, with reports of operational losses in several subsequent quarters, changes in ownership, shifts in the board of directors and even a takeover. As part of the solution, the company pushed its best selling franchise to its limits, promising to release a new game every year. Mortal Kombat: Deception was accompanied by the releases of several classic games that appeared for the first time on the current generation of consoles and handheld systems. Why do you need to go and cross that line and produce this stuff. Mortal Kombat Secrets
presents The History of Mortal Kombat Episode 10
Out of The Arena In February 2004 several gaming websites reported that Midway is working on a new Mortal Kombat compilation. According to the reports the title was going to include the first 3 Mortal Kombat games but might go further and even include Mortal Kombat Trilogy and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. The official announcement came two months later, when the developer revealed the second Midway Arcade Treasures, a compilation of 21 classic arcade games emulated to run on XBox, GameCube and PlayStation 2. The first 3 Mortal Kombat games are included in the product and so are behind the scenes videos for selected titles. Hi Raiden! Hi Sektor! In June it was announced that the original Mortal Kombat was removed from the compilation and moved to the limited edition of Mortal Kombat: Deception. This news angered many of the fans who saw the pure money making strategy behind Midway’s decision. Midway Arcade Treasures 2 was released in October 2004. Similar to the bundled with Deception MK1, the Mortal Kombat games from this compilation suffer from occasional speed problems, sound and graphics issues and several game play differences when compared to the originals. In addition to these problems the developers introduced a pause button, without realizing it will prevent people from accessing several features of the games, including the secret fight against Smoke in Mortal Kombat II. This disappointed many of the hard core fans of the franchise and raised questions about the overall quality of the compilation. In spite of several serious problems, these versions are the best home versions of the two games released to that day. This fact, combined with the inclusion of games such as Primal Rage and Rampage, turned the compilation into a must have for every fan of the arcades. “A legend is reborn, with a vengeance. The original Mortal Kombat is back with all the excitement, special moves and jaw dropping action. All inside one controler. Just plug it and play it to experience the game that started it all. Then link up two controllers and fight head to head. Finish Him! Rated M for Mature. Batteries not included. TV Games from Jakks Pacific. In February 2004 the American toy company Jakks Pacific announced that it had obtained the license to create a version of the original Mortal Kombat for its plug and play gaming platform. All devices of the plug and play series represent a custom controller that contains all the required hardware to run the games it was preloaded with. To play the games the player only needs to connect the battery powered unit to a TV. The Mortal Kombat device is build as a replica of the original arcade layout. Two units can be linked together for one on one fights. Several news reports and the official announcement led people to believe that the game will be very close if not identical to the arcade version. This resulted in disappointment among the fans when the final product was released in March 2005. The title is in fact a lot closer to the 16 bit ports and very far from the original. The game itself does include most of the content of the original, with all fighters, backgrounds, special and finishing moves present. The graphics however are inferior, with noticeably missing animations, effects, smaller characters and completely static less detailed backgrounds. The quality of the sound is however the element where the game truly shows its close relation to the 16bit ports. A tournament level of gameplay cannot be expected from a handheld unit in 2005. The game does however run smoothly and without slowdowns even when two controllers are connected. Considering all of this, the game is a good interpretation of the original. What disappointed the fans was not the final product itself but the misleading marketing campaign. Rumors about the release of a third Mortal Kombat movie started circulating the print and digital media immediately after the release of Annihilation and were temporarily silenced by its failure in theaters around the world. A sad news brought the movies back into the memories of the fans and shocked the entire community in June 2003. It was announced that Kano actor Trevor Goddard was found dead in his home from an overdose of heroin, cocaine and prescription drugs. It was Goddard’s portrayal of the character in the first movie that heavily influenced Kano origin in the game. Starting in that same year, rumors mixed with official news and announcements from cast and crew members appeared online. By the end of 2004 Linden Ashby, Robin Shou, and original Scorpion actor Chris Casamassa, have all announced their involvement in a third Mortal Kombat movie project. Later reports even stated that Christopher Lambert is going to reprise his iconic role as Raiden. Other rumoured cast members included Talisa Soto and Sandra Hess. Based on different statements, filming was suppose to begin in the summer of 2004. Later it was pushed back to 2005 but no real shooting ever really took place. Information about several versions of the script also surfaced online. Some versions pick-up right after the events of Annihilation, while others completely ignore the second movie or even reboot the franchise. Possible titles include Deadly Alliance, Deception and Devastation, with several different directors being attached to the project. With less and less information about its progress, it became clear that the movie is in a development hell. Over time, sporadic news appeared online but without any actual development, until years later… During the Development of Mortal Kombat: Deception, Midway was approached by a team from Paradox Development. The developers pitched an engine with unique and very fluid action adventure fighting mechanics and a well integrated puzzle system. Ed Boon was impressed with the software and started a collaboration between the two teams with the goal to develop a new Mortal Kombat action adventure game. Even though the initial presentation didn’t have Mortal Kombat attached to the engine, Paradox envisioned a single player game with Raiden as the main character. After the engine was approved the team at Midway and Ed Boon himself gravitated towards a game with cooperative mode in which two players can fight together against the enemies from Outworld, making the title unique for its time. The inclusion of cooperative play and the decision to position the game’s story during the events of the second Mortal Kombat, turned Liu Kang and Kung Lao into the most natural choice for main characters. This ultimately gave the game the name Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks. Due to the close connection with the classic game the developers decided that not only everything that was in it should somehow return but also that almost every rumor should be turned into reality. Things such as flesh-eating trees, teleporting through The Portal or battling Ermac are not only in the game but play a significant part in the gameplay. With this concept the developers began a long adjustment and polishing phase for the engine before moving forward with the actual game. The team from Midway was involved in every step of the project, helping to recapture the original dark atmosphere. The public learned about the existence of Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks on September 23rd 2004 immediately after the release of Deception. This happened when information about Midway registering the domain for the official website appeared online. A few days later Game Informer published a detailed article showing artwork and the very first screenshots. In October the title was officially announced for PlayStation 2 and XBox. The fans first saw the game in May 2005 during E3. The version which includes Goro’s Lair and the boss battle with Baraka managed to excite everyone and a similar version was later released as a DEMO. Again, the fate of our world is at hand. But this time there will be no tournament. This time you must take the fight out of the arena and defeat these enemies in their realm. Journey far beyond the walls of the arena into the the legendary world of action and adventure. Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, rated M for mature. Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks was released in September 2005. Due to the high level of violence only a censored version appeared in Germany, where the screen will go completely black while the player is performing a finishing move. The release of the game was followed by a massive advertising campaign. One advertising company stepped a bit too far, receiving a ban for the UK live-action commercial. If you will all turn to appendix B.
– Mr. Lim is here. Mr. Lim?
– He’s been sent to troubleshoot the sales meeting. Mr. Lim! Come in! Nick was just going through the sales figures, weren’t you Nick? Yes, I was just saying that the quarterly sales are up by about 12%. I see that overall sales for the fiscal year have actually fallen by 4%. I can actually explain that.
– FIGHT! Sorry?
FATALITY! Mr. Lim as head office having more thoughts on our bonus structure this year.. Long ago, after the hordes of Outworld were defeated in Mortal Kombat, Shang Tsung hungered for revenge through the conquest of Earthrealm. To stop him, Raiden, the thunder god summoned his most trusted shaolin monks: Liu Kang the champion of Earthrealm and Kung Lao, a warrior in search of honor. Foreseeing the coming thread, the thunder god told his warriors of the dangers they will soon face. To prepare for their adventure, Liu Kang and Kung Lao sharpened their skills through the test of traditional combat. These Outworld abominations are a poison to our world. You must send them back to where they came from. The game begins at the end of the first tournament. After Shang Tsung’s defeat the sorcerer escapes to Outworld and his island begins to crumble. While most of the Earthrealm warriors manage to evacuate, Liu Kang and Kung Lao find themselves trapped in Goro’s Lair and must fight their way off the island. After their return to the Wu Shi Academy, they are attacked by Tarkatans who kidnap Sonya Blade and many of the monks, bringing havoc and destruction to the sacred ground. To save their friends the two warriors must travel deep into Outworld and face deadly foes, including the emperor himself. Throughout the game the players will witness the destruction of the Wu Shi Academy, Shang Tsung’s transformation, Kitana’s turn towards good, the first steps in the romance between Liu Kang and the princess, the reasons why Kano and Sonya are in chains during the final battle on the Coliseum and of course the rivalry between Scorpion and Sub-Zero. The player will also briefly meet characters such as Kabal, Noob Saibot, and Ermac. Even though the story is based on the events from the second Mortal Kombat there are significant contradictions mostly with the story of the comic book. Because of these differences, the story of Shaolin Monks is considered by many to be non-canon. In addition to the two main characters, the game also includes the hidden Scorpion and Sub-Zero. The two will however be referenced as Liu Kang and Kung Lao in all cut scenes. Four additional characters are available in Versus Mode. This mode offers a similar gameplay to the one of the fighting games but with the mechanics of Shaolin Monks. A wide range of characters from the first 3 games appear in supporting or in cameo roles as friends or enemies. The common enemies are mostly based on background characters from the fighting game series. These include Shadow Priests, Masked Guards and Oni Demons. Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks is extremely popular among modders. Every boss and additional character has been made playable in Story Mode. These include characters not available in Versus Mode like Goro, Shang Tsung and even some who did not make it into the final game. All MKII arenas return in this game but the fans have the chance to experience them in an expanded 3D form. The challenge was to envision what the locations look like outside of the parts shown in the past. The developers started with concepts and the actual maps from the original game and created entire levels around them. The game also includes arenas based on locations from the original Mortal Kombat and also a few based on later installments. As it is expected from an Action Adventure game, all environments are highly interactive and include elements such as spiked ceilings, acid pools, breakable objects and swings. The fighting engine of Shaolin Monks was praised for being very fluid and dynamic. The characters are well animated and can seamlessly transition between attacks in multiple directions. A locking system was introduced to help keep the character focused on an enemy during battle. The player has a wide range of options on their disposal including standard attacks, upgradeable special moves and combos. Additional combos can be created from almost every move and in the case of a two player game both players can participate in a cooperative attack. In addition to using everything the environment has to offer, players can also use weapons to defeat their enemies. Enemies can be controlled and even used as a shield. Test Your Might returns in the game. This time it is used for puzzle solving when a switch needs to be triggered and also in boss battles for close combat. Next to the standard attacks, finishing moves can also be used to attack and defeat enemies. These include the well known Fatalities, Multalities for defeating multiple enemies and Brutalities that allow the player to enter a special attack mode with higher damage. Additional Fatalities are available in all of the boss battles for both sides. The gameplay of Versus Mode was criticised for being unbalanced and for including only 8 characters. Midway responded that the mode was added as an additional fun feature and is neither the main focus of the game, nor has the goal to offer the quality and the balance of a fighting game. The graphics of Shaolin Monks do not shine with anything in particular from a technical perspective but aesthetically they managed to catch the look and feel of the old-school Mortal Kombat titles very well and helped creating the right atmosphere for the game. Just like any other Mortal Kombat, Shaolin Monks is full of mysteries and secrets. Every part of the game has at least one hidden area that gives access to a piece of artwork, unlocks a character for versus mode, or lets you meet an unexpected Mortal Kombat fighter. Some of these areas are only accessible in a cooperative game. Secret boss battles will be unlocked under specific conditions and let the player fight enemies they might otherwise not meet in the game. A big part of the secrets in the game are the Smoke Missions. When found the hidden ninja sends the player on a five part quest for the ultimate prize, the classic arcade version of Mortal Kombat II. This version of the game is identical to the version included in the second Midway Arcade Treasures and even contains the same glitches which ironically completely disable the hidden Smoke battle in the game. To make things worse, due to reasons unknown Midway decided to completely remove the bonus game from the European release of Shaolin Monks but to retain the text that it was unlocked. The biggest secret in the game, was the one that was actually never meant to be there. Several months after the release, players discovered a way to activate Survivor Mode, a hidden mode that offers fights with series of enemies in multiple rounds. A few days later, Midway officially announced that it was unfinished and playing it might damage the game’s saved data. In spite of this, it managed to excite the fans and bring the atmosphere of the game even closer to that of Mortal Kombat II. The release of Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks was met with positive reactions from both the critics and the fans but the title was destined to compete with games that will become legends. The released God of War and Shadow of the Colossus managed to capture the attention of the fans and shaped the future of the entire action adventure genre. In spite of the tough competition, Shaolin Monks quickly sold over one million copies and earned its place among the best and most beloved games of the franchise. It was even listed as one of the surprise titles of the year, due to the failure of Mortal Kombat: Special Forces. At the end of November 2004, Midway announced that it has acquired Paradox Development. This opened the door for further collaboration between the two companies leading to the development of a sequel. The new game had the production title Mortal Kombat: Fire and Ice and was going to focus on Scorpion and Sub-Zero and the history of their clans. The project was abandoned in an early development stage, leaving the cliffhanger at the end of Shaolin Monks unresolved to this day. In the winter of 2006, Midway released new editions of Midway Arcade Treasures for PlayStation Portable and PC. Both compilations contain all games from the second Midway Arcade Treasures, including the previously removed Arcade version of the original Mortal Kombat. The PC version also includes the games from the third Midway Arcade Treasures which makes it the most complete version of all. The Mortal Kombat games are almost identical to the versions from the previous compilations. This means that all glitches and speed problems are present here as well. In addition, most of the background music is missing from the final products and some sound effects and background elements were removed from the portable version. Midway Arcade Treasures Deluxe Edition was criticized for requiring the installation of a third-party copy protection software. The compilation received however two post release patches, one to add the missing music and another to enable the secret Smoke battle in Mortal Kombat II. This turned Deluxe Edition in the best of all compilations from the series. Wrapped in controversy, loved by millions, used as an excuse or to boost a career. There is a lot more that can be said about the franchise and its history. With the current generation of hardware reaching the end of its life, many fans are asking themselves, whether Midway can keep the still questioned 3D gameplay, reuse tons of content, combine two game concepts for one last hurray on the aging systems and still offer something fresh and exciting? Even though the answer was unclear at the time, one thing was definitely certain… Armageddon Has Begun…

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