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NetherRealm's next project still being a mystery makes this 2019 Ed Boon quote about a potential Marvel vs. DC game very interesting

Posted by Steven 'Dreamking23' Chavez • August 26, 2022 at 10:47 a.m. PDT • Comments: 14

The next generation of fighting games has officially begun. Major companies like Capcom and Bandai Namco have started to throw their hat in the ring with the former's Street Fighter 6 slated for a 2023 release and the latter's big potential Tekken 8 tease at Evo 2022 earlier this month. But what about the other big dog in the room: NetherRealm Studios (NRS)?

Though it has been confirmed that the company is currently focused on their next project, fans are still waiting for some shred of information on what it might be. Considering we simply don't know what the creators of Mortal Kombat could be developing at the moment, a quote from a 2019 interview with MK series co-creator Ed Boon might be more telling than we initially realized.

With largescale video game expos like Summer Game Fest and gamescom having already seen their big announcement presentations run their course, we still have no reveals or information about what's coming next from NRS. Naturally, the masses are left to speculate, search around, and look for clues to try and piece it all together until an official reveal is made.

Back in April 2019, Gameinformer sat down with Boon to ask 166 rapid-fire questions of the legendary game creator. One of said questions poked Ed about a discussion with Marvel Comics to make a fighting game, and Boon's response was certainly interesting.

Gameinformer asked: Have you ever had one conversation with Marvel about making a fighting game?

"Yes!" Boon responded enthusiastically. When interviewer Ben Hanson asked "What?" and "When?" Boon pulled it back and noted that mum's the word.

"Oh god yes! We would love to make a Marvel fighting game or a Marvel vs. DC I think would be the coolest."
โ€” Ed Boon.

"Uhh... I did. Umm... but I probably shouldn't talk about it," said Boon. Following up and asking if he's excited about that idea, Boon replied, "Oh god yes! We would love to make, like, a Marvel fighting game or a Marvel vs. DC I think would be the coolest."

While the quotes themselves are certainly interesting, the timing and Boon's reaction feel like they might be hinting at something more.

If a conversation with Marvel happened well in the past and nothing came of it, the longtime developer probably wouldn't be as excited about that question. Continuing on that thought, if a discussion did indeed happen and nothing came of it, Boon could have easily said as much as there would be nothing in the works to spoil or get in trouble talking about โ€” which we've seen him do when asked about a possible Mortal Kombat vs. Street Fighter fighting game.

Boon's inability to talk about it feels like he's wanting to avoid letting the cat out of the bag too soon.

Taking this a step further, Boon's answers to the question make it seem like that discussion with Marvel happened fairly recently (relative to the interview), and if something were to be in talks around the 2018 - 2019 mark, development on such a title would be in a nice spot here in 2022. More or less, modern fighting games tend to be in development for about three to five years, meaning if planning and work on a Marvel vs. DC or strictly a Marvel fighting game from NRS began around the time of that quote, it could theoretically be ready to show fairly soon.

Game developers often start the process for their next title while still working on their currently released game, and with Mortal Kombat 11's content support officially having wrapped up with the launch of Mileena, Rain, and Rambo in Kombat Pack 2 on November 17, 2020, NRS very well could have been putting the pieces together for a Marvel game during this time.

Ed Boon has gone on record saying that NetherRealm Studios has broken the pattern of alternating between major Mortal Kombat and Injustice releases, and with MK11 being their most recently launched fighting game, this seems to heavily imply that Injustice 3 isn't next in line โ€” so we can likely rule that out.

We also saw a supposed Mortal Kombat 12 leak back in January of this year when NRS Senior Production Manager Jonathan Andersen posted a photo of his desk showing a handful of pieces of older NetherRealm game artwork with what very clearly looked to be a direct reference to MK12 on the computer screen. Fans were skeptical about this, though, based on some of the wording in a note also seen on the screen that stated "our fans eagerly scrape the internet for any trace..." making many believe this was simply deliberate misdirection.

Boon has also mentioned the idea of a Marvel vs. DC fighting game several times on social media, whether they be tiny hints or an actual poll asking fans what they would most like to see. In the 2019 Twitter poll, Boon stated that there were no plans in place for such a game, but still, fans voted most for a Marvel vs. DC game over a horror movie icons fighting game or Mortal Kombat vs. Street Fighter.

Adding a little bit more fuel to this fire, we saw the unveiling of Arcade1Up's upcoming Marvel vs. Capcom 2 arcade cabinet during Evo 2022 weekend, and when the company's Senior Vice President of Licensing and Business Development, John Diamonon, spoke about it during the live stream, he stated that this would be the last hoorah for Capcom and Marvel.

In an interview with EventHubs, John D. went on to talk about the potential of Marvel and Capcom working together in the future. While he no longer works for Capcom and doesn't represent Marvel, he did explain that there were a lot of challenges getting the two companies together, and with Capcom putting their resources into Street Fighter 6 right now, a collaboration between these two probably isn't likely any time soon.

"What I'll say is that there were a lot of challenges to get the two groups to really agree to bring this back, and it could be for political reasons," John D. said. "Realistically, Capcom is focused on Street Fighter 6, and they're putting all their resources into that to make it their key fighting game.

"They have a big eSports initiative and throwing in a possible new Marvel vs. Capcom game, you'd have to figure if it were to happen, it would take years, right?" John continued. What he said next, though, is particularly intriguing.

"Also, Marvel may have their own fighting game that they are developing for, but I don't know this for sure," John D. concluded.

While John clearly has no official word on what Marvel is currently working on, it is certainly something to take a closer look at when someone that close to the hardware mentions it. If there's a good chance Marvel isn't currently collaborating with Capcom for a fighting game, but they potentially have a fighting game in development, who could they be working with on it?

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