Injustice 2 is NetherRealm Studios' follow-up to the first fighting game based on DC characters. Injustice: God's Among Us was a hit, and Injustice 2 is sure to follow with even better graphics, tighter fighting mechanics, huge in-your-face moments, and a gear system that lets you customize the way your character looks and plays.
This is NetherRealm at its best: Bringing new innovations to fighting games that other game developers in the genre would never dare to.
One of NetherRealm's charms has always been the Easter eggs inside its games. That started with Creative Director Ed Boon's time co-creating Mortal Kombat. You might've heard of that game franchise. But where do some of these ideas come from?
"I like to think that we were -- certainly with fighting games, I think we were first," Boon said of the eggs. "Doing Reptile in Mortal Kombat was literally me driving to KFC on, like, a Sunday, waiting in the drive-through and going, 'You know what? We did a blue. We did yellow. We can make a green palette. We'll call him Reptile.' And, like, the end of the day he was in the game.
"It was as randomly inspirational a thought as, "We can do it," and [we] didn't even tell anybody. Didn't tell John Tobias (co-creator of Mortal Kombat), didn't tell anybody that it was in the game. Let's see when people find it."
These days Easter eggs are things hidden in the background as a fan service for people who know what they are and can spot them. The only things hidden in fighting games are new characters that haven't been announced. But even NetherRealm couldn't stop leaked footage from Injustice 2 of Darkseid and the Joker from being released before it could make its own announcement.
Before the internet, you had to figure this stuff out at the local arcade, by feeding one quarter after another into your favorite machine. Or you learned by word of mouth, and formed a fast friendship with that other arcade rat who tipped you off. Sorry if I sound old school, but there was something magical to that.
The internet "completely spoiled it," says Boon. "We were making MK 2 or 3, and that's when forums were just getting out there. So somebody in California can post something on rec.games.alt.mortalkombat or something and then somebody in New York can see it that night and go, 'Oh, that's how you do Sonya's fatality.' I remember thinking, That's the beginning of the end of secrets in video games."
Injustice 2 still has a few secrets up its sleeve. NetherRealm revealed the entire roster of 28 characters available when you first start the game. Darkseid will be a character you can get if you preorder the title, and there'll be nine additional DLC characters that haven't been announced or leaked at all...yet.
Injustice 2 arrives May 16 for the Xbox One and Playstation 4. The Injustice mobile game arrives May 11 for iOS and Android. Players who pre-register on www.injustice.com/mobile will also receive Catwoman as an exclusive character at launch.