Looking back on 30 years of Mortal Kombat music and sound effects
30 years! wow that’s a lot Mortal Kombat.
When I reflect on history Mortal Kombat and the fact that I’ve been a part of the franchise throughout its history, I’m incredibly grateful to have been a part of this journey. I’m also in awe of how this little game we launched in 1992 has survived and thrived to become a bona fide cultural touchstone with so many people contributing to fulfilling the promise of unrivaled Kombat martial arts and of course, incredibly inventive finishing moves.
Also, looking back at the history of the game, the tools and technology we used to create it, I’m amazed at where we were when we started and where we are today. As for the sound, we entered commands into a file that at first looked like assembly language. Mortal Kombat game by extracting sounds from the Yamaha frequency modulation chip to create music and many sound effects for the game.
Today we use top-notch, standard professional audio instruments. At the time, the sounds were put into a couple of ROM chips, probably around 500 KB of data. I don’t even know how much audio we have in the latest games as they include so many hours of Story mode music and sound, many battle music sets, thousands of individual sound effects and 10 times more grunts and other sayings by all the characters. Then I made all the sound for the game. We now have an entire team of audio professionals working within the company, as well as many external partners who help us in a variety of ways.
I had only been a game sound designer for a few years when Ed Boon and John Tobias approached me to work on a new game they were preparing. I have already worked with Ed on several games. One of my first projects after being hired in 1988 was creating sounds and some music for Black Knight 2000, a pinball machine that was programmed by Ed (designed by legendary pinball designer Steve Ritchie). Everything went pretty well, so when Ed moved away from pinball and started designing and programming a top notch football arcade game called impact footballI was happy when I was invited to work on it.
That went well too, so we made another one, Super high impact. At some point, Ed and John began to seriously discuss their ideas for a new game, and a team of four got together: Ed was the programmer/designer, John was the lead artist, John Vogel created a ton of environments and additional artwork for the game. and I made a sound. As soon as it became clear that we had a hit and we were going to do more, the team began to grow, grow … and grow.
I feel very lucky to have worked with so many extremely smart and driven developers while working on Mortal Kombat. One of the main motivators throughout my career and especially while working on this game has been the opportunity and privilege to work with other people who work at such a high level day in and day out. I have often had to keep up with many of our smart and talented developers while trying to create meaningful and impressive content for the game. To me, this highlights the magic and value of working across disciplines to develop and deliver compelling content to our fans.
Probably the best aspect of working with such great teams over the years is that it’s fun. It is interesting to find out how to make an attractive sound for Mortal Kombat when you have super talented animators, artists, designers and programmers trying to do cool, unprecedented things on screen. I remember when we had the first suspicion that we understood something with the first Mortal Kombat. Ed wanted to put together an uppercut function. He assembled the team in a room after he pasted the code to make it happen. I had already made a strong thud sound and we had several vocal reactions. When he made a move and there was a hitting sound and the screen shook and the enemy flew (and screamed) in the air, we were overwhelmed by the impact of that moment. It was a perfect example of all the disciplines coming together to create an impressive moment and we were thrilled because we all felt like we had just created something…fun!
Although I am grateful and feel very lucky to be in the right place at the right time to take on the challenge of creating sound for Mortal Kombat, the biggest part of my thanks to all the fans. Without their interest and love for the game, no one would talk about it. Clearly Mortal Kombat struck a chord as soon as it was released, and our fans’ passion for the game is what has turned the franchise into a cultural phenomenon over the past 30 years.
Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate
Games Warner Bros.
The ultimate MK11 experience! Take control of Earthrealm’s defenders in TWO of the game’s critically acclaimed time-bending story campaigns as they race to stop Kronika from rewinding time and resetting history. Friendships are tested and new alliances are forged in the battle to save all things. MK11 Ultimate features a full roster of 37 characters, including new characters Rain, Mileena, and Rambo. Mortal Kombat 11 showcases every funny friendship, bloody fatality, and heartbreaking deathblow like never before. You will be so close to the fight, you will feel it! Includes Mortal Kombat 11, Kombat Pack 1, Aftermath Expansion, and Kombat Pack 2. • Experience 2 massive, critically acclaimed story campaigns from MK11 and MK11: Aftermath • Play as a full roster of 37 characters, including the newly added fighters Mileena, Rein, and Rambo • Thousands of skins, weapons and gear for an unprecedented level of fighter customization • Includes all previous guest fighters: Terminator, Joker, Spawn and RoboCop • Every mode including Towers of Time, Krypt, Training, Online, Classic Towers and more • All Stages, Stage Fatalities, Brutalities, Iconic Fatalities and Friendships MK11 Ultimate supports Smart Delivery and includes FREE updates for Xbox Series X: • Dynamic 4K resolution • Improved visuals • Significantly improved load times • Cross-platform and cross-gen compatibility
Mortal Kombat XL
Games Warner Bros.
One of the best selling games of 2015 is XL! Expand The Mortal Kombat X Experience with new and existing content. Includes the base game and the new playable characters Alien, Leatherface, Triborg, and Bo’Rai Cho. Previously released playable characters include the Predator, Jason Voorhees, Tremor, Tanya, and Goro. Also includes the new Apocalypse Pack skins.