Following on the solid success of both Injustice: Gods Among Us and Mortal Kombat X, as well as their mobile app spin-offs, NetherRealm Studios has started rolling out details for their next triple-A gamer release: Injustice 2. The game, which will once again see fan-favorite DC heroes and supervillains clash promises to be bigger and more cinematic than ever before - while also injecting a new loot system that will allow players to not only customize the look of their fighters but also augment specific talents as well.
Every new iteration of Mortal Kombat comes with fresh features, modes, and game mechanics for players to explore but, with Injustice tethered to the ever-expanding DC multiverse, comic fans also expect to see clever cross-medium branding. So, what exactly is the relationship between development on NetherRealm's game and DC's film and TV productions? According to Mortal Kombat creator and NetherRealm head Ed Boon, the Injustice team draws a lot of inspiration from DC's live-action properties.
Speaking to us at Comic-Con 2016, Boon stated that, even though Injustice isn't directly connected to the Warner Bros. shows and films, the team often borrows ideas depicted in live-action for future special moves, costumes, and characters - as evidenced by Superman's super move (reminiscent of a scene in the Man of Steel Zod fight).
Here's what Boon had to say when we asked him about how DC film and TV influences the Injustice franchise:
"The thing about these DC characters is their represented in so many mediums between comics, movies, TV shows, and video games, obviously, and we're huge fans and students of these characters. So we're constantly watching those [movies and shows] and often times we'll see things and go: 'That would be so cool in our game.'"
When asked if DC directly pushes certain TV or movie characters onto the NetherRealm design team, Boon made it clear that ties to the live-action versions of the characters aren't a mandate and, instead, simply an "homage" the developers thought would be fun to include.
That said, when asked if Jared Leto's Joker or Katie Cassidy's Black Canary could appear in the game, similar to how Stephen Amell's Oliver Queen was included as a special costume for Injustice: Gods Among Us, Boon did hint that fans should expect to see more movie and TV-inspired skins in the game:
"We're absolutely open to those ideas - and we've done a little of it. We had the Man of Steel Superman and are constantly looking for crossover things to bring up. Because a lot of the fans, they watch the movie and see the animated show, so there's a great novelty to it."
While it remains to be seen if NetherRealm announces any tie-ins with Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, or Justice League movies, not to mention The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, Gotham, or Legends of Tomorrow TV series, for launch, Boon also suggested that the studio will "go further with DLC in this game than any of our previous games. That's a pattern where we want to reach out even further after the game's release." It's also a strategy that NetherRealm is already utilizing in the mobile version of Injustice - where Batman V Superman versions of the the main trio are already available.
Some gamers will, understandably, be bummed to hear the studio is planning a lengthy DLC release schedule (Mortal Kombat X already had two full DLC character packs) - given that it also increases the likelihood that fan-favorite characters, especially movie and TV costume tie-ins, could be held back behind an extra DLC charge. Still, multi-year DLC support also affords more opportunities for NetherRealm to slip timely content into the main game - meaning that even if the time isn't right for NetherRealm to launch Wonder Woman DLC at the game's launch, for example, there's nothing to stop the studio from including relevant costumes, characters, or stages around the film's release.
Injustice 2 is slated for release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2017.