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Injustice: Gods Among Us developers expanding upon all aspects of Mortal Kombat

NetherRealm "kinda always wants to push the envelope forward with design"Hector Sanchez, NetherRealm Studios

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Just as any game company builds on previous experience, Mortal Kombat developer NetherRealm Studios is taking what it learned from that reboot and using it to make Injustice: Gods Among Us, the company's upcoming DC Universe-based fighting game, a better experience.

We spoke with Hector Sanchez, a producer on Injustice, after playing the game on the New York Comic Con show floor. He told us that NetherRealm creative director Ed Boon "kinda always wants to push the envelope forward with design." That applies to everything in Injustice, including controls, mechanics, story and online play.

Sanchez told Polygon that while the studio didn't necessarily feel constrained by the parameters of the Mortal Kombat series, longtime fans would likely have rejected major deviations from the norm. But because Injustice is something new, NetherRealm can take more design risks. The DC fighting game has no dedicated block button, for example; instead, you shield yourself from attacks by pressing back on the D-pad or analog stick. NetherRealm isn't completely revamping the familiar control scheme, though; Sanchez said the studio wants to "echo [Mortal Kombat] with some variations."

NetherRealm appears to be taking a similar approach to the story mode. Sanchez declined to provide any details, although he promised it will be a "main component" of Injustice. NetherRealm is keenly aware of how well Mortal Kombat's cutscene-filled story campaign — a departure from the franchise's traditional ladder-based single-player experience — resonated with players. The developers collaborated with DC Comics to put together a tale appropriate for the universe; according to Sanchez, DC writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti served as story consultants to ensure that the comic characters kept their proper voices in Injustice.

Mortal Kombat's online component also proved successful, and NetherRealm hopes to deliver an even better online experience this time around. Sanchez highlighted King of the Hill, a popular setup that allows up to eight players to spectate on rooms while waiting their turn in battle, as a mode that will appear in upgraded fashion in Injustice.

The Wii U version of Injustice did not appear at Comic Con. According to a representative for the game's publisher, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, it's not ready to show yet. However, NetherRealm is promising full feature parity with the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game, and will play similarly to them. Boon told Polygon at San Diego Comic Con that while NetherRealm is planning to integrate the Wii U GamePad as much as possible, it's "certainly not something that we've cracked yet."

Injustice: Gods Among Us is set for release in April 2013 on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii U. For more, check out a separate interview we did recently with Boon about the game's interactive environments.