When Ed Boon, Creative Director at NetherRealm Studios and one of the creators of Mortal Kombat and Injustice saw the reaction to the announcement of Injustice 2, he was amazed.
"We wanted people to be excited, but the level that they were was something I was not expecting," Boon told ComicBook.com in an interview at E3 2016 (you can view it in full above). "We were so jazzed about it, and so glad that they were appreciating what we were doing."
The dawning of Injustice 2 wasn't in the initial plans. When they were making the first game, it wasn't necessarily meant to be a franchise. "We just tried to make a really cool superhero fighting game, that was our main objective," Boon said. When the digital-first comicbook series and the mobile app version of the game took off, "it just became this amazing separate IP. The writing became on the wall that 'Wow, we should continue doing stuff with this.'"
The original Injustice: Gods Among Us gave us a story of a Superman who went mad after being tricked into killing his own wife (and unborn child), an absolutely horrific moment for the character. He then began to eliminate supervillains permanently, and put the world into a stern rule. The story of his downfall, though, was told in the pages of the comic, that went from that initial cutscene moment all the way up to the big showdown depicted in the game.
"We are going to continue from after the first game's events. There are these great chapters being told, and we are telling the third chapter, in a sense," Boon said, pointing out the importance of the comic in the overall story. "There are a lot of nods in our environments to what's going on in the story. When we start revealing those kind of details later in the year, that'll be fun for people to pick up on." For example, in the Metropolis stage during our gameplay demo, there were Lexcorp cranes in the background, rebuilding the city from the last time these heroes and villains clashed (just in time for them to destroy it all over again).
As for improvements to the game, the first thing they talked about were "characters that couldn't make the first game roster," Boon revealed. "You always have regrets of 'Oh, I wish we had put Atrocitus in the game!' or something like that." Atrocitus, alongside fellow villain Gorilla Grodd and hero Supergirl were amongst the first new characters revealed for the sequel.
"At the same time, we don't want to just make a sequel of just more characters, more backgrounds. We want to add something substantial to it," he said. That's where the new armor systems come in, letting players earn new armor upgrades for their characters and customize them for their own playing styles. "We wanted a lot more personalization of the character, so it's your Batman, not just the Batman that we made. You're constantly upgrading and sculpting your version of the character."
While they're not talking too much about other unannounced characters, Boon did say that "guest characters" that don't exist in the DC Universe are absolutely part of their current conversations as they move forward in development.
"Those guest characters are always fun, to see them in the mix. It creates a fun 'what if?' thing. It was so fun to put Scorpion [from Mortal Kombat] into the first Injustice game, and ironically he was the one that most people downloaded [of the DLC characters] as well! So people are liking the novelty of that. It seems to be something that's resonating with people," Boon teased. Start hitting him up on twitter with your guest character suggestions... now!
As for the characters they have already announced, you'll notice from gameplay videos and our own hands-on impressions of the game that the characters move very differently from one another, and from all the other characters that have come before. Grodd, especially, moves like you'd expect a gorilla to, not like a human in a gorilla suit.
"We wanted to make sure we had a much broader palette of characters for players to choose from," Boon explained. "Grodd and Atrocitus certainly help us round out that area of gameplay."
As for all those Easter Eggs in the trailers and the tweets the very social media active Ed Boon puts out onto the internet? He really loves that fans dissect every little bit of it.
"As you say, and you're very aware, I like to kind of toy with that stuff," Boon said with a smile. "Some of that stuff is very true, some of that is stuff I'll joke around about that has nothing to do with reality. I just love the interaction with players, getting them involved with voicing their opinion."
One of those Easter eggs that got a lot of fans excited was seeing Black Manta taking on Aquaman. Just an environmental transition or something more?
"Well, it's at least an environmental transition," Boon teased.
Injustice 2 will hit consoles in 2017. Expect more about the game as the convention season rolls on.