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How MultiVersus worked Jason Voorhees into a kid-friendly fighting game

Jason Voorhees in MultiVersus
Warner Bros. Games

After a long wait, MultiVersus relaunches next week. I was able to go hands-on with this reworked version of the game early, and I also got the scoop on how its latest fighter, horror icon Jason Voorhees, was reimagined for the relaunch.

Jason Voorhees is the killer from Friday the 13th, a series of horror films that are certainly much more grisly than any other property included in Player First Games’ and WB Games’ fighting game, even Game of Thrones. That didn’t stop the developers from finding a way to make such an oddball character choice work and do two things Design Director Daniel Kraft thinks all MultiVersus characters should do: pack in references and “find the soul of the character in these amazing IPs.” It all starts with research.

MultiVersus - Official Jason Voorhees "Weirdo in a Mask" Gameplay Trailer

“There’s always someone on the team who’s a superfan of whatever character or stage it is that we’re working on, so we always lean into those individuals to make sure that we get the most authentic feel for the character,” Kraft tells Digital Trends. “For Jason, we had a lot of horror movie fans, and they had some very specific requests that we tried to get into the game.”

A quick analysis of Jason’s moveset shows that fandom. He’s a bulky tank character whose central mechanic is building up “gray health” that he can use to absorb damage and prevent him from getting knocked back while charging up powerful attacks. It’s a clever way to adapt a hulking slasher villain like Jason into a multiplayer-minded fighting game like this.

Jason's move list in MultiVersus.
If you’re curious about how Jason Voorhees plays in MultiVersus, here’s his move list! Warner Bros. Games

“We always start with the character first. Whatever IP we get, we need to make sure that how they play feels how you would expect that character to play,” Kraft says of designing Jason’s moveset. “Jason’s an undying juggernaut that can’t be stopped, so we wanted to bring that identity of how you feel when you’re watching the films to him.”

His moves are full of easter eggs; the memorable folding bed murder from Freddy vs. Jason and sleeping bag kill from Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood are both attacks here. Ultimately, Jason is quickly cementing himself as my favorite character in MultiVersus because of how well Player First Games adapted him. It also bodes well for the developer’s prowess in bringing other live-action characters to MultiVersus.

“We are trying to bring Jason to a more lighthearted game, and I think we did a great job with that,” Kraft claims. “He fits right in, but you still see him as Jason and he still feels very menacing, but in a way that fits with our art style. Live-action characters are always interesting to bring in next to cartoon characters, but we’ve done that already with Arya (Stark, from Game of Thrones), and Jason was the next step.”

Jason Voorhees isn’t the only new character to expect from MultiVersus. On May 28, Banana Guard from Adventure Time and DC Comics’ The Joker will also be in the game, while Agent Smith of The Matrix will arrive shortly after. MultiVersus relaunches for PC, PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S on May 28.

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Tomas Franzese
Tomas Franzese is a Staff Writer at Digital Trends, where he reports on and reviews the latest releases and exciting…
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