Ed Boon, the father of Mortal Kombat has a priority for the DC Comics super-hero fighting game his MK studio is making. He wants to make the backgrounds, the levels, play "as pivotal a role as the characters you chose."
When you decide to play as Superman in a battle against someone playing Solomon Grundy, the fact that you choose to fight in Batman's Batcave should matter.
It will matter, in this new 2013 fighting game, Injustice: Gods Among Us, because each fighting level will include multiple, destructible stages that are lined with objects you can use in the fight. Superman, for example, can dive in for an attack that so shakes the cave that some hand grenades shake loose from Batman's armory. Superman can then toss them at Grundy. Grundy can smash Superman off the deck they are fighting on and down to where the Batmobile is parked, shifting combat from one more or less 2D area to another. Superman can retreat to the Batmobile, press a button on a computer and have the Batmobile fire rockets at Grundy.
There's no doubt that Injustice is fan-service, a gleeful what-if batch of battles between the biggest icons in the world of the Justice League. But there could be some worry that this is less a fighting game than a dash to the corner of a combat arena where some crazy super-move is waiting. Don't worry, Boon told me recently. It's not that. The Batmobile rocket attack has a cool-down, so you can't spam it. And you'll be left vulnerable while you trigger it. "You can almost think of it as a special move that's only available when you're standing right there," he said... which is why where Superman or any other character in this game is standing matters.
Boon wants Injustice to feel like it has depth. He's got characters in there like Wonder Woman who can switch fighting styles (acrobatic lasso fighter to slower, tougher sword-and-shield in a button-press). He's got different classifications of fighters: power people like Superman who can grab a car in a level and smash it over an opponent's head, and gadget-oriented characters like Batman who may only be able to smash someone's head in the hood of that car but can throw explosive Batarangs.
Characters also have wild super moves, like the one shown in the trailer that has Superman punching Grundy into space. Alternately, Batman can string his enemies up.
Characters will have multiple costumes, including the new designs introduced in the game that resemble but don't match the new duds the debuted in DC Comics' "New 52" line-wide relaunch last September.
And there's also this from Boon regarding the game's depth: "There are guys on our team who are tournament players and there are certainly layered features for those EVO guys and all that stuff in there. That's a big part of our strategy." Boon and his Netherrealm studio's Mortal Kombat games have never been the fixture of fighting tournaments like EVO the way Street Fighter has, but it sounds like he wants to edge into that scene more, with the most recent MK and with this one.
Boon is also promising "a very rich amount of content for the single-player experience" for people who are the opposite of tournament players and like to smash through a fighting game solo. His most recent Mortal Kombat had a long story mode and piles of single-player challenges. He won't specify the mix for Injustice, but it seems like there will be a lot of solo-able stuff.
We'll have more on the game shortly, and, of course, we''ll see it at E3 next week.