Mortal Kombat Co-Creator Ed Boon Explains How Guest Fighters Are Chosen

Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon has revealed the surprisingly simple way the game’s development team chooses which guest characters to include.

Ahead of the release of Mortal Kombat 1, Boon made a special appearance on the YouTube show Hot Ones. During the interview, host Sean Evans asked Boon how Mortal Kombat’s various guest fighters are chosen. “It’s not technical, it’s just childish,” Boon said of the selection process. “We all grew up watching movies from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. From our standpoint, it is, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to see Terminator fighting Scorpion? Wouldn’t it be cool to see RoboCop fighting Sub-Zero?’ And it’s as basic and simple as that. There’s no science to it.”

Boon continued, “At some point, there’s legalities. ‘Can we get the license to it? Can we do this?’ But in terms of where the idea comes from, it’s a bunch of adults who are still [trapped in the ’70s watching tough-guy movies] … and wanna see who would win in a fight. It’s that simple.”

Mortal Kombat’s history of guest fighters

The original Mortal Kombat hit arcades in 1992, though the fighting game series did not feature guest characters from other franchises until the 2011 release simply titled Mortal Kombat (also known as Mortal Kombat 9). That game featured Kratos from the God of War franchise as a guest fighter, albeit only on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita versions of the game. However, MK9 also featured Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street as a downloadable fighter on all platforms. Since then, DLC guest characters have been the norm.

2015’s Mortal Kombat X featured such DLC fighters as Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th, a Yautja from Predator, a Xenomorph from Alien, and Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Subsequently, 2019’s Mortal Kombat 11 added DC‘s Joker, Todd McFarlane’s Spawn, the Terminator, RoboCop, and John Rambo to the fray.

The guest fighters of MK1

The fast-approaching Mortal Kombat 1 carries on the franchise’s decade-long tradition of including DLC guest fighters. MK1’s Kombat Pack includes Homelander from The Boys, Omni-Man from Invincible, and Peacemaker from the DC Extended Universe. The DLC pack also includes MK originals like Ermac, Quan Chi, and Takeda.

Developed by NetherRealm Studios and published by Warner Bros. Games, Mortal Kombat 1 releases on Tuesday, September 19 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, and PC.