Mortal Kombat X Interview With Senior Producer Adam Urbano – The Roster, DLC and Creating Fatalities

March 12, 2015 Written by Dan Oravasaari

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PlayStation LifeStyle’s own Dan Oravasaari gets a quick moment to sit down with Senior Producer at NetherRealm Studios Adam Urbano to discuss Mortal Kombat X. In it,  discussed are characters picked, DLC and even how fatalities were created in the fighting game. Also, make sure to find out what aspect of the game took an artist one year to create. 

PlayStation LifeStyle: How difficult was it to choose which characters to bring back in Mortal Kombat X?

Adam Urbano: This was probably the hardest one we have done in a long time, because more than half of the roster is new. So, there’s not that many slots when you start to add that many new beings to the dimensions. So, it took months and months and months. But, we always knew that this was going to be the next-generation roster, meaning we were going to have to make some tough, tough cuts.

PSLS: With so many unannounced characters making an appearance in the story mode, is there a chance that we will be seeing them announced, or as DLC in the future?

AU: I hope so. I think our strategy is pretty well known at this point. The production team likes to find ways to make it so they can work until the last possible second to sneak on more and more content. So, at that point when we are done, we are close, about a month or so, then we start to look at all the fun stuff we couldn’t get to because we love these games and would work on the forever if we could. Well, we do, it’s just over the years.

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PSLS: Could you explain the process behind creating and developing a fatality?

AU: It is sort of this organic, odd but incredibly cool thing where people submit stuff. Whether it is a picture, or a poem, you name it. They all sort of get filtered through the team, Ed looks at all of them and there’s a discussion. This one is incredible, this one crosses a line, this one is too funny and somehow with a sprinkle of magic the ultimate ones get picked.

PSLS: Was there anything that the team learned from creating Injustice that assisted development with Mortal Kombat X?

AU: Injustice was cool because it gave us a chance to experiment with the sort of more risky changes, like the background interact-ables. So, we took those and refined them and made them more violent for close combat and integrated them in here because people loved them. That is one example, another one being the way approach patching and balancing the game. In some ways we patched too frequently, just because we have the ability to do it everyday, doesn’t mean we necessarily want to. So you are going to see that throughout the lifecycle, just a more balanced approached to patching behind the scenes.

PSLS: Have you planned out how many DLC packs or releases you will have for Mortal Kombat X?

AU: No, to be honest, I don’t even think we know. On Injustice, it was originally going to be two, then we just found cool characters and just added them. So I expect the same thing here. I know about the Kombat Packs at launch, but beyond that it is going to be what we can’t fit on the disc, for real.

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PSLS: Were their any other forms of media that were influential in developing the mood are design of Mortal Kombat X?

AU: Yeah, everything (laughs). Everything is a terrible answer, but it is true, given that it is Mortal Kombat. The references that original arcade game pulled from, every type of film, it is the same thing that happens here. People will watch shows and get inspiration from anything. It is just such an diverse collection of interests in terms of media in the studio that it goes from comics to weird artsy indie music playing, but it is just all fun and awesome.

PSLS: Could you explain a bit more about tournament support and if you will have leaderboards?

AU: Yeah, I know we can support any platform. Our whole leaderboard is platform agnostic so we could absolutely and fairly trivially support any, but we just don’t know where we are going to end up on that scene just yet because it is so early, the game isn’t even out. But, on a purely tech standpoint there’s no limits and from a philosophy standpoint, we obviously love tournaments so those two hopefully fit together.

PSLS: How complex was it to design the layered damage levels that become dynamically generated on each character as the fight goes on?

AU: All of the character materials, character damage and character environment interactions probably took one of our two tech artists on the character team a year, full time, really working out every detail of burns, scrapes, and how ice effects fire, it is incredibly complicated and all of the work was making sure that when the procedural stuff happens it fits in natural places where if would. You don’t want it to overlap eyes and what not. It is an incredibly complicated system that most people will never see, as we discussed, but it is the sort of thing that we do because we take pride in those sort of details.

PSLS: With Mortal Kombat X’s launch right around the corner, is there anything fans should know as we get closer to launch?

AU: To me, the biggest thing is going to be the anticipation of something new, and by new I don’t just mean it’s a new game, I mean it is entirely a new roster, it is entirely a new story advancing this narrative 25 years. That hasn’t happened in a long time. That and the features, the graphics, the art obviously, but I think for the true fans this is going to be something they are going to love. A chance to see the love child of Johnny Cage and Sonia, and how she acts.


A special thanks to Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment, NetherRealm Studios and especially Adam Urbano and his staff for showing us Mortal Kombat X and taking a quick moment to answer a few questions while at GDC 2015.