I know that when you publish a comic book, you need to do things to maximize your income while minimizing your risk. You’re not selling the adventures of Whoeverman, you’re really selling the brand that is your comic book company. You want people to look at your imprint and buy whatever’s under the cover, no matter what it might be. It’s nice to develop key characters, but you need to sell a lot of books to support a company.
There was a surprising announcement Friday, as Midway, the company behind Mortal Kombat, and DC Comics announced a joint venture. Hearkening back to the tradition of the ‘versus’ games that I’d hoped were long since gone, the latest awful fighting game in the mix is the tantalizingly-titled Mortal Kombat VS. DC Universe. It just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?
While they haven’t announced all the details yet, some of the specific DC characters mentioned are Batman, Wonder Woman, and of course, Aquaman. Who doesn’t love Aquaman, the world’s lamest superhero? They’re doing battle against the characters from Mortal Kombat, I suppose because they’re run out of excuses to have their own characters disemboweling one another and want to involve other people’s intellectual property.
Of course, because DC is involved, the one hallmark of the Mortal Kombat series will not come into play in the new fighting game. That’s right, no gore, no blood, and no fatalities to speak of (though Midway promises some vague finishing moves). The only thing Mortal Kombat was known for is thrown right out the window to keep people from ripping out Batman’s spine or beheading Wonder Woman. You’d think that DC might learn a little something about the importance of having some edgy content, but I guess Vertigo wasn’t enough of an education for them.
And really, a Vs. game? Haven’t we learned anything from Marvel vs. Capcom, Capcom vs. SNK, X-Men vs. Street Fighter, and Bart vs. The Space Mutants? Do people really want these games? Do people really buy these games? Are they even enjoyable?
I can’t speak for the world, but if there’s going to be versus games being made again, then there are two games I want to see involving DC and Mortal Kombat. You know where I’m going with this, but I’ll go ahead and say it. DC Universe vs. Marvel, and Mortal Kombat vs. Street Fighter. Anything else is just completely disappointing from a fan’s perspective. After all, we’ve wanted Marvel and DC to have it out for years now, and this way we can have our favorite badass Marvel characters take turns kicking the caviar out of Aquaman.
It’s not that I dislike DC characters to such a great deal, but there’s a reason why we haven’t seen DC movies not involving Batman or Superman. DC characters haven’t adapted as well to modern times and there aren’t as many distinctive, adult characters in the DC Universe. DC characters do make great cartoon fodder, but there’s a difference between making a great cartoon and making a billion-dollar film franchise or a great video game.
Maybe it’ll surprise me and be good, but given how poor the last Mortal Kombat game was, I kind of doubt it. Taking the edgiest fighting series out there and turning it into a kid-friendly game is probably not a great idea, and adding in a few DC characters won’t change things all that much, especially since you can’t tear their heads off and kick them across the room. That’s about the only thing that would make me buy a mash-up versus game.
Ron Hogan is thrilled that the new DC game will allow you to beat up Aquaman. Then again, anyone can beat up Aquaman, so it’s not much to brag about. Find more by Ron at his blog, Subtle Bluntness, and daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.