In politics as in the video game industry, the passage of time allows languages to be untied and the veil to be lifted on some jealously guarded secrets and other finally avowable anecdotes. The famous game designer Ed Boon offers us proof today, almost thirty years after the release of a certain Mortal Kombat.
“Get over here! »: With this slightly imperative reply, the character of Scorpion was able to mark the minds of players of the time, and unofficially embody the newcomer in the very competitive world of versus fighting. And yet: far from having been prepared in advance, Mortal Kombat’s “Spear Throw” was born during the recording sessions with actors and flesh and blood, as Ed Boon unveils today in a series of tweets:
In these rushes obviously precious for media historians, we discover Boon instantly improvising Scorpion’s attack, groping:
We had a ton of stuff ready for the studio recording, but some ideas came to us during the recording. For the Scorpion spear, we wondered what would be the coolest move we could think of. As you can see, we have refined the details starting from this reflection.
“We will call you back”
If Boon and Tobias agree on the movement to be made, they actually grope step by step to find the right balance, being aware of the technical limitations of the arcade machines of the time, which did not prevent the duo to put the package on violence and technique, to the detriment of a certain finesse in the gameplay:
Scorpion had to throw his weapon fast enough to surprise the opponent: it meant keeping the animation simple, in just a few frames. We also wanted the spear to pass over a crouching figure, so we fixed it at chest level.
We were so limited by memory that we didn’t even register the opponent’s reaction: instead, we borrowed pre-existing images. You can hear us talk about reusing footage from a knockout at the time of impact.
We also reused the stun animation to represent the characters when brought back to Scorpion. Reuse was one of the techniques we used to save memory, which was so limited in 1991.
If you enjoyed this brief behind-the-scenes look at Mortal Kombat, then rejoice, asEd Boon hopes to be able to share more videos of this type for the 30 years of the license… while waiting for the rest? Recall that the studio NetherRealm announced in July the start of a “new project” still mysterious, although sources imagined that the ubiquitous Marvel license could (still) be part of it.