You wouldn't know it from reading many popular DC Comics, but there are limits to how violent the adventures of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman can be. At least in video games, and probably movies too.
That puts Ed Boon and his team of Mortal Kombat makers in the kind of conundrum classic to video games. These are creative people known for having characters who rip the spine from other characters. And the last time they made a fighting game with Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, they didn't go that far. Some people thought that was weird.
They're making a new fighting game with DC heroes now. So how far will they go?
"DC understandably will never let us cut Batman's head off," Boon recently told me. "They're never going to let us stab Wonder Woman in the face... In this format they're never going to do something like that."
In Injustice you can smash Batman with a car and you can kick Wonder Woman—or any other character—on an upward, slightly diagonal trajectory, through the floors of a skyscraper.
There's no spine-ripping in this game, it seems.
"Violence is replaced with crazy, over-the-top action," Boon said. "We're making big, action-movie, over-the-top, kind of Transformers, Dark Knight, Spider-Man-type [action]. All the events you see in those kinds of movies is what we're trying to capture in this thing."
The father of Mortal Kombat understands that people were thrown by 2008's Mortal Kombat vs. DC, a T-rated game from a bunch of fighting game developers who were known for making M-rated, blood-splashed spectacles.
(Scene from DC Comics' Earth 2, published in May. You probably can't do that in the game, either!)
"I think there's an expectation when you see the words "Mortal Kombat Vs."—and you instantly put it in this category—that it's going to be bloody," Boon said of the 2008 game. "And you can't fault anybody. We've been doing that for 20 years. You'd be crazy to think we'd not be associated with that. And so I think that everybody's expectation was: it was going to have this level of violence." But like he said, DC just wouldn't ok that kind of thing, not in a video game.
The new game, Injustice, will be T-rated, just like MK vs. DC. This time, however, Boon says they'll push that rating. "It's going to be a pretty brutal experience," he said. "Our goal is to push that envelope of what we can do."