It’s a new generation and for many franchises in the gaming industry, it is the first time they’ve debuted an iteration on the PS4 and Xbox One. There are some gamers out there who have yet to experience certain IPs and so for games that are making their debut on the new systems, creating a more inviting environment for new players is paramount.
Now let’s just say that just about anyone who has ever touched a game controller in their life has probably played Mortal Kombat. Even if they have not touched a game controller, they know about Mortal Kombat like people know about Grand Theft Auto. As fighting games have become more sophisticated and skill-based though, the point of entry for new players seems to be higher and higher.
Among the seemingly difficult points some people have to break into a game like Mortal Kombat, publishers like Warner Bros. know they need to create a more accessible environment for newbies. In an interview with GamesIndustry, Warner Bros. Marketing Games Manager Brian Goodman talked about a few audiences that are looking to jump into fighting games these days.
“I don’t know if it’s so much old and new as it is casual versus core. The casual is looking for ways to enjoy this game that don’t depend on you being the greatest fighting game player in the world. Fighting games, more so than some of the other genres, it’s very skill-centric. You either have the skills or you don’t,” Goodman said.
Finding a way to embrace both casual fighting gamers and hardcore ones within the same game is no small task. NetherRealm Studios has clearly taken insightful inventory of what fighting games are doing well and what they could perhaps improve upon to open-up the genre.
A lot of developers these days are trying to find the balance between making a game challenging, while still maintain a strong sense of accessibility. This point couldn’t be more true for new IPs, but for a franchise like Mortal Kombat it’s a little different. Goodman talked about their goals for Mortal Kombat X.
“And so for us to allow for different types of gameplay so people who aren’t going to win every online match they enter can still enjoy this game, I think think that’s really where we set ourselves apart. As far as fighting games go I think we compete with any game on the market as far as the depth and technical expertise you need to be great at this game. So we really wanted to make sure we’re differentiating in the sense that we can bring a lot more people into the game and widen the scope of what it means to be in this genre,” Goodman said.
All of this is not to say that just because a game has a lower-barrier for entry to bring in new players, doesn’t mean that has to damage the experience for veteran players. That is not what’s happening because most developers and publishers these days are employing the “easy to learn, hard to master” philosophy and it seems Mortal Kombat X will have that same mindset.
Mortal Kombat X is fighting for an April 14 launch date. The game is currently under development at NetherRealm Studios and will be published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.