Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Let Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon pummel your brain with a barrage of character trivia

It’s been 27 entire years since the first Mortal Kombat burst onto the scene, inspiring a moral panic that we can rest assured has had no real effect on a series whose latest installment features advanced splatter technology dubbed “GoreTech.” With nearly three decades of series mythology having piled up, co-creator Ed Boon has decided to help explain the wide variety of characters he and his studio have created in a video for Wired.


Over the course of a half hour rundown, Boon provides a crash course on the narrative background and design of “each and every character” in the recently released Mortal Kombat 11. We get little bits of trivia on classic fighters, like the leathery knife-monster Baraka (his fangy model in Mortal Kombat 2, it turns out, was made with “fake nails we found in a costume shop”) and Boon’s favourite character, Scorpion. There’s also plenty of detail on newer ones, like the immortal, time-rewinding Geras (whose abilities posed “technological challenges”) and Kollector, a four-armed freak who “collects, basically, heads and body parts and hearts from all the opponents he has killed.” All of this is presented in a hilarious montage of game clips that turn our species’ terrifyingly violent imagination into super-gnarly digital slapstick.

Boon talks about how, with “about 80 characters in our roster over the years,” it can be challenging to create new fighters. “Whenever we introduce a new one, the question is: ‘what haven’t we done before?’” The video seems to give a good answer, showing off a whole menagerie of homicidal weirdos who aren’t just unique in the way they look and fight, but in their narrative background, too.

The end result of all this information, we guess, is that players are now burdened with the knowledge that their favorite Mortal Kombat fighters are not just bags of meat and bone waiting to be ripped apart, but distinct dramatic personalities with long, complicated histories. Thanks, Boon. That’s great to know.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.