When it comes to Mortal Kombat, the roster and the story is what gets everyone talking. The series has become notable for being one of the few fighting games with a genuine lore attached to it, and the process of creating it and the game's kast is more intertwined than one would think.
While speaking with Game Informer for its subscriber exclusive month-long coverage on Mortal Kombat 11, story lead Dominic Cianciolo discussed the studio's process for its roster and creating the story mode for the games. Obviously, the story modes need to feature whoever's playable in the roster. Though the story team handles the overall plot, various other studio teams also have their own ideas as to who would fit.
As Cianciolo described it, some approach things from a gameplay perspective, while others focus on the story. First comes the single paragraph pitch of the story, followed by what the team is thinking over in regards to the roster. After director Ed Boon decides what the game's vision will be, the story team gives a more detailed treatment that fleshes out the protagonist for each chapter in the story mode.
According to Cianciolo, that requires spreadsheets: "We figure out, 'Okay, this is who this person's going to fight over the course of a chapter...we're making sure we're fighting everybody a reasonable number of times or not repeating people," he said. The goal is also to ensure the weight of said fights, along with the length of each encounter and making sure to avoid taking player control away for too long.
MK11's time travel storyline was one of many initially pitched, but won the team over thanks to its broad appeal. Not only was it able to appease the fandom by featuring past versions of characters and continuing its mythos, it also allowed fans to make new versions of their favorite characters via custom variations, something you'll see plenty of if you look online.
Mortal Kombat 11 releases on the PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC on Apr. 23.