If at first you don’t succeed, keep punching Superman into space until someone is really happy about it! That’s the NetherRealm way. The Mortal Kombat studio’s hard-nosed stubbornness has yielded positive results in the past though, so that’s a fine philosophy. It’s been making Mortal Kombat games for 20 years now, and after nearly 15 years of crappy fighters and the occasional quality offshoot—we’re looking at you, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks—it finally made a brilliant game with 2011’s series reboot. On Thursday though, NetherRealms is returning to a franchise that brought it to one of its lowest points: The superheroes of DC Comics.
Warner Bros. Interactive jumped the E3 gun Thursday morning announcing NetherRealm’s Injustice: Gods Among Us, a new fighting game for Wii U, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 starring the heroes and villains of DC Comics. The first trailer for the game shows off some muted-colored, vicious one-on-ones between heroes Superman, The Flash, Wonder Woman, and Batman as well as villains Solomon Grundy and Harley Quinn. The text throughout the trailer suggests that in the game’s story, the good guys may not necessarily be good guys.
Taking a cue from both Mortal Kombat 2011 and its predecessor Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, the fights shown in the trailer have characters getting punched through buildings into whole new arenas. Injustice ups the scale a little. Superman literally punches a guy into outer space. The combo count may not be high on a move like that, but that’s got to cost at least half a health bar.
The game will be out in 2013.
Now, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe is the third worst game NetherRealm has made. Those titles go to Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-zero and Mortal Kombat: Special Forces. Still, MK vs. DC was a stinker, with a story mode that managed to be even sillier than the name implied and combat that lacked the heft and precision that make last year’s Mortal Kombat so good.
Injustice has a lot going for it though. First, 2011’s MK demonstrated a renewed enthusiasm at NetherRealm for strong single-player content. A story mode of MK’s quality with these characters sounds great. Also, the studio no longer has to dance around a way to make the DC world meld with the Mortal Kombat world. That clarity should help make a game better suited to characters with supernatural abilities on a grander scale. Plus, Warner Bros. Interactive has learned that great games with its characters take time and investment. Batman: Arkham Asylum and City paid off, so it’s likely giving NetherRealm all the time it needs.