Kotaku is breaking news that the Mortal Kombat team, that has been delivering games in the franchise for 17 years is looking to split with the publisher. Apparently they’ve been denied the bonus for delivering MK vs DC and meeting sales goals due to the publisher going into bankruptcy protection. Top on that they’re one of the few teams that can deliver a game on time while other projects spiral out of control, and they’ve got a right to be frustrated.
Here’s why this might be the best news this week: They’ll be leaving Mortal Kombat 9 behind. Giving up what work they’ve done will hard, but think about what they can do now.
The MK team will be free to go outside of the universe they built and make a game that doesn’t have to have Scorpion and Subzero. 17 years is a long time to do anything, and if you don’t think mixing it up once in a while and doing something else isn’t a good idea, just ask George Lucas.
Meanwhile, if Midway keeps MK (or sells it), a brand new team will be able to re-invent the franchise. The name is still gold in the industry, selling a million copies to dedicated fans at least with each outing. A new team would have the chance to take a chance and mix up the formula and perhaps take the franchise in a new direction, since the story and game play have been kind of running on fumes for the last 6 years.
My favorite MK game of the last decade had to be Shaolin Monks. Aside from providing a new take on the events of MK2, it showed how much more can be done with the characters and universe of Mortal Kombat. It also showed that the MK team could make a brawler as good as any God Of War in my opinion. 50 talented developers would HAVE to be able to keep making great games in a new house, right? And Mortal Kombat can survive a new style of play, maybe a new art style or control scheme would bring it back to the glory days.
Mortal Kombat needs this. Its too big of a franchise to sink under a failing publisher with a crossover. And the team needs this, they’ve been dilligently making games that sell well while Midway falls. Its whats best for everyone I think.