Mortal Kombat and Injustice developer NetherRealm Studios may be hard at work on a Marvel fighting game, according to a new rumor. The rumor starts with industry insider Daniel Richtman, though there are a few other tantalizing hints that could lend some additional weight to the rumor in context.
NetherRealm Marvel Fighting Game
Insider Daniel Richtman claims that NetherRealm has a Marvel fighting game currently in production. Marvel Comics characters are no strangers to fighting games, and NetherRealm has also had its hand in a few comic-related games of its own, so it seems like a perfect fit. Richtman doesn’t have any additional details about story, estimated release dates, or otherwise, except to say that the rumored NetherRealm Marvel fighting game is currently in development at the studio for the next-gen consoles.
MinnMaxx’s Ben Hanson threw some additional kindling on the rumor by posting a clip from a 2019 interview with NetherRealm’s Ed Boon, in which he not-so-subtly teased that the studio had at least had talks with Marvel.
— Ben Hanson (@yozetty) April 27, 2021
“Have you ever had one conversation with Marvel about making a fighting game?” Hanson asks, to which Boon replies “Yes!” with wide eyes.
“What..? When?” Hanson asks. Boon grimaces, smiles, and looks away. “Uhhh… I did, but I… uh… probably shouldn’t talk about it,” the developer says.
Hanson then asks Boon if he’s excited about that idea. “Oh god yes,” Boon replies. “We would love to make like a Marvel fighting game, or Marvel vs. DC, I think would be the coolest.”
NetherRealm’s experience in comic book hero fighters began with 2008’s Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (when the studio was Midway), which pitted characters from both franchises against one another. In 2013, NetherRealm Studios developed a full DC fighting game with Injustice: Gods Among Us, which was followed by Injustice 2 in 2017.
Boon also previously confirmed in an interview with Geoff Keighley last year that the studio has “other stuff in the oven” besides Mortal Kombat and Injustice, which are so far the studio’s only two franchises. Curiously, Boon also preceded this quote (at about 35 minutes into the video) with comparing Mortal Kombat to the Marvel Universe. Does Boon have Marvel on the brain?
He might, if his Twitter account is anything to go off of, and historically, Boon’s Twitter has been a source of teases that play the long game; subtle hints at what’s to come hidden right in plain sight. And this month, Boon’s Twitter has been a trove of Marvel references.
Hearing the news talk about us having “lost a year” and soon fully vaccinated people can travel overseas with life getting back to normal…
Feels like we’re returning from the Marvel BLIP.
— Ed Boon (@noobde) April 27, 2021
He refers to the “blip” when Thanos snapped half the population away in Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame as the “Marvel BLIP,” talks about a campaign to bring Tony Stark back, multiple tweets about The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, and random speculation about “SnyderVerse rhyming with SpiderVerse.” Sure, these could all be (and most likely are) completely innocuous tweets that mean nothing at all, but it’s clear Boon’s a Marvel fan too, and he—much like the rest of the world—has Marvel on the brain. Whether or not that’s because he’s been hard at work on a Marvel game remains to be seen.
Marvel, meanwhile, is happy to hand its licenses out to assorted developers and publishers to get a broad variety of games and experiences using those heroes and stories. Some have pointed out that NetherRealm is owned by Warner Bros., who owns Marvel competitor DC, but crazier crossovers have happened. Notably the leak from Richtman does not mention any other properties, so if this is true, expect it to be a Marvel game solely, not a crossover with DC or Mortal Kombat.
We usually get a new NetherRealm game about every two years, and the last entry was Mortal Kombat 11 in 2019. Of course, 2020 did give us the Aftermath expansion as well, but we currently don’t have any word about what NetherRealm might be working on next. If this leak is true, then one of those “other things in the oven” could be a NetherRealm Marvel fighting game, but we’ll have to wait and see what the official word is whenever Boon and the team decide it’s time to announce it.