The pandemic and a new game engine contributed to NetherRealm’s decision to skip Injustice for now and work on Mortal Kombat 1 instead.
Since the studio’s inception and the 2011 Mortal Kombat reboot, NetherRealm Games has always alternated between releasing Mortal Kombat and Injustice games. So, once development wrapped up on Mortal Kombat 11, it was initially assumed that Injustice 3 would follow.
However, following rumours that this wouldn’t be the case, NetherRealm and Warner Bros. announced that the studio’s next project would in fact be another Mortal Kombat reboot titled Mortal Kombat 1.
Naturally, Ed Boon, who serves as creative director on both series’, was recently asked if this was a sign that Injustice had come to an end, to which he says, ‘Not at all.’
While there’s no guarantee that Injustice 3 will immediately follow Mortal Kombat 1, there is enough evidence to suggest a third entry is in the works.
Job listings for it were spotted back in 2020 and, in early 2022, a teaser for the next Mortal Kombat included concept art of DC hero and Injustice regular Wonder Woman, which some suspect is from Injustice 3.
Boon has also provided some insight into why NetherRealm opted to break its pattern and do another Mortal Kombat next.
Speaking with Jeff Gerstmann, Boon says the two main reasons were the decision to switch to Unreal Engine 4 for game development (Mortal Kombat 11 ran on Unreal Engine 3) and the unfortunate timing of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Between the pandemic and needing to acclimatise to a new engine, Boon expressed worry that if they started making another Injustice, then there’d be an even longer wait for the next Mortal Kombat.
‘We made the decision to go to the new Unreal before Covid had hit, so we kinda committed to that direction. The thought was, if we did an Injustice game and we knew we were going to take longer, it would be like, you know, seven years between Mortal Kombat games,’ says Boon.
He reiterates this in a separate IGN interview, but he does mention there were ‘a number of factors, some of which I can talk about, some of which I probably shouldn’t.’
It’s obviously unclear what he’s referring to, but it was suggested back in 2021 that the reorganisation efforts going on at Warner Bros may have had something to do with it since there was chatter of the company’s games division being broken up.
It was all very confusing but apparently NetherRealm didn’t know if it was staying or not. So, there was uncertainty about whether it’d be still be able to get the licensing rights for the various DC characters.
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