Mortal Kombat is one of the most successful fighting games. In fact, after Tekken, it is the biggest thing to happen to fighting games. However, its creator never expected to work on a sequel after releasing the original Mortal Kombat. Interestingly, NetherRealm wanted to pursue the creation of a Star Wars game.
Speaking in the latest Mortal PodKast, John Tobias discussed the history of Mortal Kombat discussed what happened with their plans. If you aren’t familiar with who he is, Tobias was part of Mortal Kombat’s development team but left in the 90s.
He shared some interesting details about the early days of Mortal Kombat, why NetherRealm didn’t expect a sequel, and plans for a Star Wars game.
I remember having a loose idea of where the story would go if there would be a sequel. We didn’t think that there would be a sequel. In fact, when we finished the first game Ed and I thought “Oh what do we want to do next?” And we really wanted to do a Star Wars game, we were pushing our management to let us do a Star Wars product. But of course, the game hit big and they wanted us to do a sequel
The success of Mortal Kombat pushed the studio to create a sequel and while they had Star Wars plans, the success of MK stopped any and all plans immediately.
One thing that I thought, specifically with Mortal Kombat. We spoke about Shang Tsung having an emperor in the first game. We mentioned these things without getting into any details and the strength of doing that is we insinuate plots. Players read that stuff and in their mind, they start to formulate “wow there’s this other thing here that exist that we don’t know anything about”
I remember being conscious of this on the first and second game, was when I saw Star Wars when I was a kid, they alluded to an emperor and empire, all this stuff that they really didn’t get into the weeds with. It wasn’t until Empire Strike Back that you really learn that there really is an Emperor. As that stuff was revealed to me as a kid, it was mind-blowing. So I remember being conscious between the first and second Mortal Kombat of wanting players to have that sense of “oh there’s a bigger world” that has been alluded to and give them the sense that this is larger than we thought.
It’s interesting to imagine how a NetherRealm created Star Wars game would have looked like. Maybe there is still hope for something like that? EA and Disney have a partnership that gives the creator of FIFA games exclusive rights to develop Star Wars games. Until the rights expire, no other studio can touch the franchise. And even though the backlash from Battlefront multiplayer games almost took EA’s Star Wars rights away, thanks to Respawn created Jedi Fallen Order, EA might be able to renew their partnership with Disney.