If there’s anything NetherRealm Studios knows, it’s brutal, action-packed fighting games. The veteran developer behind the Mortal Kombat franchise has helped to shape the video game industry over the past decade and is now looking to expand their influence further into the DC Comics universe.
The first step taken to introducing Mortal Kombat’s style and feel into another franchise was with 2008’s Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe, where the two worlds were fused into one game and players were finally able to organize dream death matches between the likes of Sub-Zero and Superman. Now, NetherRealm is diving into DC Comics head first with their upcoming tournament fighter, Injustice: Gods Among Us. The game marks the first time NetherRealm has dealt with characters solely from the DC Comics universe but is looking to be one of the most anticipated games of the year.
Injustice revolves around Superman. The Joker, of all people, has targeted the Man of Steel with a scheme that threatens everyone he knows and loves. In a tragic turn of events, Superman loses the love of his life, his unborn child as well as the entire city of Metropolis. Superman has cracked under the weight of this sudden monumental loss and has ordered a state of peace for the entire world, proclaiming himself Ruler of Earth in the process. Rulers walk a thin line and often end up succumbing to the corruption of power, which is the unfortunate case with Superman. The super hero is now butting heads with heroes and villains from Batman to Lex Luthor.
NetherRealm has put such a heavy focus on the game’s surprisingly deep plot that comic book writer Tom Taylor was even contracted to pen a mini-series of comics to act as a prequel story to the game itself. The comics detail how the characters in the game find themselves at odds with a unexpectedly corrupt and ruthless Superman. The series has been well received and continues to deliver shock and awe with every new issue.
The game’s character roster reflects a wide range of the most popular DC Comics characters with a few surprises mixed in. Fighters include Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Cyborg, Hawkgirl, Shaazam, Aquaman, Green Arrow and Nightwing. To liven things up even more, NetherRealm has also included a host of known DC villains including Harley Quinn, The Joker, Solomon Grundy, Sinestro, Catwoman, Lex Luthor, Bane and Deathstroke.
Being a tournament fighter, combat is obviously the single most important aspect of the game. NetherRealm is nothing short of a veteran in the genre and is proving once again they know exactly what they are doing. While it can be difficult to tell fighting games apart these days, the unique appeal of Injustice is the game’s focus on environmental interactions. Players are able to interact with various objects in the background during battles that will act as unique attacks against their enemies. Fighters will be able to pick up and throw barrels or dislodge overhead objects to make them fall on enemies. The interactive environment adds a new level of strategy to an otherwise brutish genre.
Another aspect of the living environment is a player’s ability to throw enemies through buildings or even mountains, leading battles to a completely new type of area. For example, a fighter can knock an opponent high into the air, were a battle between two giants is taking place. Giganta, one of the giants, catches the opponent in her fist then beats her enemy and throws them into a building. It’s these sorts of large scale fighting sequences that allow players to feel the power they are controlling with each member of the game’s iconic roster.
The complete roster of characters for Injustice has been revealed through a Battle Arena event NetherRealm hosted on the game’s official website. Characters were pitted against each other with a winner declared through player votes. However, downloadable content has been a topic of wide discussion since the game was first announced in 2012.
The developer has already announced new skins will be available in future DLC, with New 52 and Red Son skins already being advertised pre-launch. Injustice developer Ed Boon has also taken to his Twitter account to gauge some reactions from fans regarding the game’s post-launch DLC support, including a specific post asking players if they would prefer to have Professor Zoom or Martian Manhunter as DLC characters. With hundreds of possible characters to choose from, it would be no surprise to see Injustice’s character roster grow substantially as time goes on. Of course, it will all depend on the success of the game at launch.