NetherRealm Studios, led by video game legend Ed Boon, draws its name from the mythology of Mortal Kombat, the legendary fighting game that Boon co-created way back in 1992. Not including the numerous spin-offs and enhanced ports to various consoles, there have been ten mainline MK titles, and they have all been obscenely violent and packed to the brim with over-the-top gore... That is, all except the eighth entry in the series, 2008's Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, the game which ultimately led to the development of Injustice: Gods Among us in 2013. The crossover title was praised for bringing the two disparate universes together in a fun comic book-style story, but earned some flak for toning down the franchise's signature violence (it's the only MK title to earn a mere T for Teen rating, rather than the usual M for Mature).
Just as the first Injustice included Scorpion as a DLC character, this sequel will include Sub-Zero, with the door open for more MK stalwarts to join the roster in the future. Perhaps one of these characters will be Raiden; during a "clash" sequence between The Joker and Black Adam, who fights with lightning-based powers, Joker asks if he knows "that other lightning guy," to which Black Adam responds, "With the bamboo hat? Yes." Obviously, this refers to Raiden, Mortal Kombat's God of Thunder, and mentor figure to the heroes of Earthrealm.
Another Mortal Kombat reference appears in the game's story mode, during the scene in which Catwoman and Cyborg find themselves in the Batcave. As Batman's automated security defenses are preparing to attack Cyborg, Catwoman overrides the system with an authorization code which hardcore MK fans might recognize: LK-4D4. This is not just a random series of letters and numbers, but the designation of one of the members of the Lin Kuei clan's cyber-initiative, Cyrax, who was first introduced in 1995's Mortal Kombat 3.
Finally, the last currently-known Mortal Kombat Easter Egg appears in the Gotham City stage. One of the main background pieces of the level is the marquee above the entrance to the Empire Theater, advertising two movies: The Final Wish 2 and Hidden Crimes. Using the "Stage Interaction" command, players can smash their opponents into elements of the background, causing damage and destruction. In this case, players can crash into the marquee, causing letters to break off of the sign. After three hits, the only remaining letters spell out the iconic phrase, "Finish Him," which has served as the exclamation point at the end of nearly every single battle in Mortal Kombat history.
One of Injustice 2's most intriguing features is its use of Premier Skins and Gear to transform the appearances of certain characters. So far, several combatants have Premier skins which effectively turn them into new fighters, complete with unique dialogue, voice actors, and animation flourishes, while retaining the movesets of their base character. With the right Premier Skins, Captain Cold can become Mister Freeze, Cheetah can take on the appearance of Vixen, and the Flash can be either Barry Allen, Jay Garrick, or Reverse-Flash - and more Premier Skins are expected to be released as the months and years roll by.
In addition to the Premier Skins, the deep and nigh-endless loot system is full of nods to DC lore. One of Green Arrow's high-level weapons is called "The Bow That Took Slade's Eye," a reference to the one-eyed mercenary, Deathstroke. Superman can equip a chest piece based on the Soviet hammer and sickle, invoking his Red Son incarnation. Robin can equip a series of equipment to alter his appearance to be very similar to that of Nightwing, Damian Wayne's alter ego from the original Injustice. While the main Green Lantern in the game is Hal Jordan (with John Stewart appearing as a Premier Skin), a nod to Guy Gardner exists in the form of the equipment piece, "Gardner's Lantern Of Pure Will." There are literally hundreds of pieces of equipment in the game, so there are Easter Eggs abound in that respect.
The Hunt Continues
We've only just scratched the surface with regards to the winks and nods hiding in every corner of Injustice 2. It's obvious that this game was a labor of love for the team at NetherRealm, and that they are huge fans of DC's stable of heroes and villains, as well as the comic books, the movies, the TV shows, and the cartoons in which they appear.
What are your favorite Easter Eggs in Injustice 2? What "clash" or intro dialogue made you laugh out loud? Which piece of loot will you treasure forever? Let us know in the comments!