Thursday, August 21, 2008

Trash cans and crotch punches -- Mortal Kombat begins for Jimmy Palmiotti and the DC Universe!

A final crisis may be brewing in the DC universe, but before the heroes of of the DC world can put their own problems to bed, they'll take on the warriors of another realm, in Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe!

Over the past few months the Infinite Wars has watched with keen interest as this surprising crossover unfolds. As a fan of both Mortal Kombat and DC comics, it was a very special honor and privilege when we were granted the opportunity to correspond with Midway and [one of] the contributing DC writers, Jimmy Palmiotti!

The New York native appeared on a recent edition of the offical MKvsDC podcast, to talk about his history as a comics writer, and the writing process. We continued down this line of questioning to probe for even more details about the formulation of the game, it's content, and the nature of the plot that will bring these two universes into mortal kombat!

- [Infinite Wars] An easy place to start: How did yourself [and Justin Gray] become DC's men for the job?
[Mr. Palmiotti] Well, this was a first mash-up for the Mortal Kombat franchise, as well as the first DC videogame mash-up, and everyone on both sides wanted to make sure that the DC characters stayed true to their voices that fans have come to know and love. That’s why DC recommended us for the job. Midway hired us and we went to Chicago to sit with both sides to work out story, tone and everything else that came up, and the end product is a very loyal take on both licenses, and how they meet. It’s pretty cool.

- The last game in the [MK] series created a stir amongst fans for it's
approach to story driven content. Did you receive any broad direction based on recent games? Were you involved in the decision to remove the game from central canon?

We created a story that worked with these two worlds colliding and we left it up to the Midway people, and their experience of how to approach the game, once we had the spine worked out. I don’t think this game will get too many negative reactions once people actually sit down and play it.
"... for the teases you have seen,
there is 80% of the game you have no
clue about till you put it in and play it."
Right now a lot has not been revealed and people are guessing what's going to happen and a lot of their guessing is way off.

Remember, people that live with and love these characters created this game. Nothing is done half assed here.

- Jim Kreuger somewhat infamoulsy provided writing for the 2005 MK
spin-off, Shaolin Monks. Were you aware of Jim's work? Did you pick up any useful pointers from ground he broke before tackling the project?

Not a thing, wasn’t aware of his involvment one bit, but that said, I think it's pretty cool and Jim is a friend and good writer, so I'm gonna find him and pick his brain.
Whatever was picked up and used from Jim's work was probably applied on the Midway side of things.

- How familiar were you with the Mortal Kombat characters and universe
when heading into the project? Did this knowledge/naivity help when approaching the results and reactions of the DC characters?

Justin Gray and I knew their universe pretty well, but know the DCU 100 times more because we write these characters daily. Whatever we didn’t know, Ed [Boon] and his crew was happy to fill us in on.
This is an amalgam, and a fine example of synchronicity on every level. A team effort that will be seen and enjoyed by millions. We had a blast working with everyone and San Diego couldn't have been more fun, working the game with Ed Boon and the media.
It’s nice to have a product you are proud of and going out there and pimping it.

- Initial fan reaction was somewhat negative due to the differing moral
codes of each universe. How much was the nature of violence and heroism in each brand considered, and was this a conceited opportunity to present a juxtaposition of styles and themes?

[Laughs] I always laugh at the people having negative reactions so early in the game. It's like reviewing half a movie. All that matters is the end product, and that will blow people away. We did everything we could to keep the game play and characters loyal as hell to their origins.
There is plenty of violence and heroism and bloodshed and madness.

- The DC cast is coming to MK's turf. From a comic writer's perspective, what are some of the MK characters you think translate especially well into the four-colour format? Which MK character could you imagine writing in an on-going series?
All of them work because sitting down with Ed Boon and his crew showed Justin and I there is a total feel for a back history of each and every character, and they know every single thing about them.
I would like to write them all as a team and then hit on each and every one of their origins separately. To me, they are equally interesting and really, if I said I liked one more than the other, a portal would open up in my studio and a power blast would rip my spine out of my body, I just know it!!!

- A collector's edition comic book was announced at San Diego, ushering in the return of John Tobias, on pencils. Will you be writing the book? Will the comic offer an opportunity to expand the context of the event? Will it include a broader view of the DC Universe?
Justin and I were not able to do the book, but we are excited as hell that the guys responsible for the game are penning the book.
"The Mash-Up villain: ... will we get
to see them in their individual
contexts?" "Yes, you do, and then
the madness begins."
What could be better?
They know their stuff and I am excited to see what they do and to see John [Tobias]'s art again.

It’s a cool project.

- Given MK's suitability for the medium, and DC's current crop of battle-based comics; some might be surprised a promotional series wasn't conceived to coincide with the game. Was there a deliberate reason not to expand into a mini-series? Could this be a possible option in the future?
That's out of our hands. What Justin and I did was the nuts and bolts, and all the other stuff has its own life.
To tell the truth, my main job right now is to do press and make people aware how awesome this all is, and push the game as best as we can.

- Story and character has always been vital to the MK franchise. Is there any danger of the comic taking plot out of the game? How much can we expect from story modes, character endings, and any additional plot-driven interactions?
We aren’t writing the comic, so I have no answer to that. Sorry.

- The Mash-up villain: What prompted the "Amalgamation"? Presumably you can't reveal who the characters are, but will we get to see them in their individual contexts?
Yes, you do, and then the madness begins.
Like I said before, for the teases you have seen, there is 80% of the game you have no clue about till you put it in and play it.

- Returning to the clash of styles; characters like Captain Marvel and Green Lantern have been confronting announcements for some fans.
Can you elaborate at all, in a broad sense, how their characters connect to an event like this?

They are vital parts of the DCU and the legacy characters, as well.
You need these guys in the game and as you can see by what was revealed already, each and every one of them serves a purpose in the story, and the best part is, we get to play as them.

This is a giant event in the DCU and how could you not have a Green Lantern involved?

- After playing the game, hopefully fans from both sides will be able to jump on board with each franchise. Is there any story or series you could recommend for MK fans looking to jump into the DCU? What about some of yours and Justin's work, for those interested in your voices?
Well, we have a Superman/Supergirl series coming out in November, as well as a Terra series and Powergirl series in January. Our regular book is Jonah Hex. While it’s not too vital to the game, I suggest a casual reader go out to a bookstore, or comic shop, and hit the trade books. Look through them and see what appeals to you.

Frank Miller's Dark Knight, Mark Waid's Superman and Flash, Gail Simone's work, etc. There are a lot of great books out there right now.

- Finally: Is it true you're going to appear as a hidden character in the game? Can I expect to throw down a trashcan beating on Sub-Zero? Do you have magic powers, and will this be the context by which you beat up Superman?
I am not allowed to tell, but if I am, my powers would be exactly that. Trashcan beating, throwing the all-powerful middle finger, and the power punch to the nuts.

Mr. Palmiotti, thank you very much for your time!

Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe is scheduled to hit stores November 10, available for the Playstation 3 and XBox 360! A limited collector's edition comes in a velvet box and includes; a print, t-shirt, making of DVD, and sixteen page comic book drawn by returning series co-creator, John Tobias!

For more on Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe, check out the official website, and our series of character spotlights and discussions: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, clues special, bonus one, two, three, and four!

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