NetherRealm’s Ed Boon has made it clear that Injustice 3 is on the cards but Mortal Kombat 12 may come first.
After support for Mortal Kombat 11 wrapped up, the immediate assumption was that developer NetherRealm Studios would move on to Injustice 3, since they usually alternate between the two franchises.
Last year, however, it was suggested that another DC Comics fighting game wasn’t possible due to licensing complications brought about by the fallout from the Warner Bros./Discovery merger.
As such, it seemed that NetherRealm would break its usual release pattern and jump straight into Mortal Kombat 12. However, Ed Boon, creative director on both Mortal Kombat and Injustice, has confirmed that a third Injustice game is definitely a possibility.
Boon is known for being something of a troll online, and teasing fans, but when one asked him if he could give a hint about NetherRealm’s next game, his answer was surprisingly blunt.
‘I3 or MK12,’ he said, which is noticeably different to statements he made earlier this year, when quizzed about the future.
In February, he more or less admitted that the studio’s release pattern of alternating between Mortal Kombat and Injustice games had been broken, further insinuating that Mortal Kombat 12 was next, if not something entirely new.
‘I can tell you there was a reason for it, and when we announce our next game, it’ll make a lot more sense. At this point, I’ll get in a lot of trouble if I say anything more,’ he said at the time.
On the subject of Mortal Kombat 12, another fan asked Boon why barely any of the characters from the 3D era of games released in the mid 2000s (Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Mortal Kombat: Deception, and Mortal Kombat: Armageddon) have shown up in the more recent titles.
Boon seemed to insinuate that more of those characters could appear in the next game, saying ‘That is something we will soon fix.’
While the likes of Kenshi, Bo’ Rai Cho, and Frost made their way into the new timeline kickstarted by the 2011 reboot, the majority of characters introduced in those games have been reduced to cameos or outright ignored.
There’re still plenty of characters that could feasibly be made playable again (examples include dragon king Onaga, vampire Nitara, and fire elemental Blaze) though any potential picks will likely go through some design/story changes to fit the new continuity.
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As much as Boon likes to tease fans, he’s never deliberately lied, so he’s not going to talk about an Injustice 3 now if it isn’t possible. That in turn may imply that the legal situation with Warner Bros. has settled down.
Due to the merger, the future of all of Warner Bros.’ game studios were put into doubt. There was chatter of some of them being moved to the new company or being sold to someone else entirely.
While Warner Bros. Games as a whole is now part of the newly formed Warner Bros. Discovery, nothing else seems to have really changed, with none of the developers being sold or shut down as a result.
It’s likely NetherRealm wanted to avoid committing to another Injustice because it had no idea if it would still be around after the merger or if the licence would suddenly be taken away from it. If that’s no longer an issue, though, it can get back to work on the series.
Given the change in stance, it’s arguably more likely than ever that Mortal Kombat 12 will still be the next game. If NetherRealm only recently found itself able to confidently work on Injustice 3, then that’d put it further behind in development than the next Mortal Kombat.
However, this is only if you assume that no work has been done on Injustice 3 already. NetherRealm was hiring for the sequel back in 2020, suggesting that it had at least started work on the project, and it’s believed to have intentionally ‘leaked’ concept art for it at the beginning of this year.
Either way, Boon’s comments safely put to bed that old rumour of NetherRealm making a Marvel fighting game.
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