NetherRealm Studios is looking into cross-play for Mortal Kombat 11, but it likely won't be included at launch

Epic and Unreal may make things even easier for developers in 2019 with universal tools

Posted by Dakota 'DarkHorse' Hills • January 22, 2019 at 7:50 p.m. PST

Correction: EventHubs has been informed that Mortal Kombat 11 is running on a modified version of Unreal Engine 3, not Unreal Engine 4. We have corrected that detail in the story.

Mortal Kombat 11 was finally fully unveiled last week at NetherRealm Studios' live events where we got to learn so much about what's going to be in the new fighter, but it also left us with even more questions we do not have answers to.

Cross-platform play for video games was one of the hottest topics of 2018 with Fortnite's inclusion of the feature and Sony's reluctance to allow it on the PlayStation 4 to the point where now almost every developer is asked whether their multiplayer titles will include the feature going forward.

Wccftech approached NetherRealm's Game Designer Derek Kirtzic about the chances of cross-play making it into Mortal Kombat 11 to which he reportedly replied that they aren't discussing details about that now, but "it is something they are looking into and hope to do at some point."

Mortal Kombat 11 does appear to be poised as having the best shot of upcoming fighting games to be among the first big titles to include complete cross-play across all platforms as it runs on a highly modified, NetherRealm version of the Unreal Engine 3.

Street Fighter 5 of course offers cross-play between PlayStation 4 and PC plus it runs on Unreal 4, but we have yet to see a major fighting game feature the multiplayer option for three or more different systems.

Epic Games, the creators of Fortnite and Unreal Engine, are also working on technological advancements to make cross-platform play, saves, voice chat and other features more universally available for developers in 2019.

Last month, Epic announced their initiative to expand upon the tools they developed for use in Fortnite that should work on just about any game engine out there, not just Unreal. The best part is these tools will also be free for developers.

"Throughout 2019, we’ll be launching a large set of cross-platform game services originally built for Fortnite, and battle-tested with 200 million players across 7 platforms. These services will be free for all developers, and will be open to all engines, all platforms, and all stores. As a developer, you’re free to choose mix-and-match solutions from Epic and others as you wish." - Epic Games

Cross-Platform login, friends lists, profiles, voice chat, match-making, cloud-saves, achievements and more are all scheduled to be coming in the second or third quarter of the year as tools for game makers which should open up the doors for many more developers to dip their toes into the cross-play waters.

The recently announced Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid is slated for an April release like MK11, and the developers at nWay have already stated that their fighting game will feature cross-play and cross-platform progress at launch — so NRS may have been beaten to the punch though will have more to gain by possibly including it.

Mortal Kombat 11 will likely be the final big fighting game release of this console generation since we almost assuredly won't be getting a new Street Fighter or Tekken on these aging platforms, so NetherRealm Studios has the perfect opportunity to set the stage for where the fighting game community goes from here as far as online communities.

Their graphics are already looking almost 'next generation' with how good the game appears in action, so we may also see a 'next gen' mindset from the developers who are hard at work on at least four different versions of Mortal Kombat 11.

Cross-play is not a topic that will be disappearing anytime soon in our gaming ecosystem seeing as another massively popular game — and one that runs Unreal 3 — finally added the feature across all platforms last week with Rocket League.

Sony has remained largely non-committal on expanding their stance of allowing their PlayStation player base interact with other platforms outside of PC, but a continued push by developers and players will likely force their hand for the hopeful benefit of all having larger player pools.

Everything is still far from concrete or settled, but cross-play across PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC would be a huge win for NetherRealm and the fighting game community as a whole.

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