IGN: How does the process of working with Todd McFarlane differ from working with DC?
Ed Boon: Both Todd McFarlane’s team and DC have been very cooperative and collaborative. Each want to see their characters represented accurately in our game. Because Spawn is by nature a super violent character and is in an M-rated Mortal Kombat game, naturally there were fewer limitations to work with him. Todd did make it clear that he did not want us to hold back, and from that standpoint there were very few limitations put on the Mortal Kombat team.
IGN: Spawn’s always been a lot more M-rated than some of the other IPs NetherRealm has put into Mortal Kombat, was there anything you wanted to try that got shot down?
EB: Actually, Alien, Predator, Jason and some others were up there too. ☺ But for Spawn, yes… there really wasn’t much that we wanted to do that got shut down as far as actual content was concerned. There were a couple of minor adjustments we made to stay within the character and history of Spawn, but those changes were not related to toning anything down. It was almost like Spawn was one of our characters… I bet we could have incorporated him into our story if we had the opportunity. ☺
IGN: Whose idea was it to give Spawn a sword? We realize Medieval Spawn totally is a thing; we’re just used to seeing Al Simmons lugging around giant machine guns.
EB: During the creation of our fighting characters, ideas come from all over the place. Often times the concept artist illustrates something that inspires someone from another group, and vice versa. The idea to have Spawn use a sword in our game probably came from our design group. They often request props and weapons while trying to define how a fighter will play. Part of the challenge of introducing a guest character in a game that already has 25 or 30 existing characters is introducing something new to the mix. Everybody knows that Spawn has his signature chains, but we felt that adding the swords as well would make him that much more interesting to play.
IGN: Todd McFarlane himself revealed that Spawn would be in Mortal Kombat 11 way back in 2018, shortly after the game itself was announced — do you have any top secret upcoming projects of Todd’s you want to spoil? (Just kidding… mostly) 🙂
EB: LOL … maybe he was just showing his excitement because he WANTED Spawn in Mortal Kombat 11. But no, I don’t have anything to spoil.
IGN: Keith David voices Spawn, reprising his role from the HBO animated series — did you get a chance to work with him? How did he react at the news he’d be playing Al Simmons again?
EB: I have met Keith. He really is a good guy. Very cultured. I was not at the recording sessions when he did the voice of Spawn for us, but I immediately identified his voice when I heard the results of the recording sessions. He was also gracious enough to appear at our Final Kombat esports championship here in Chicago. He really is a great sport, and I hope we can work together again in the future.
IGN: Whose idea was Spawn initially? Did NetherRealm approach McFarlane, did McFarlane approach NetherRealm, or was it in response to fan demand?
EB: I honestly believe it was a combination of all three. We have always wanted to have Spawn in one of our Mortal Kombat games. I’ve heard a number of times that Todd McFarland expressed interest in seeing Spawn in Mortal Kombat. As far as the fans are concerned Spawn is probably one of the most requested characters ever to be in the franchise. He really is a perfect fit.
IGN: McFarlane Toys is making MK action figures, and you’re putting Spawn in Mortal Kombat – tell us about that relationship?
EB: In the simplest of terms, I would describe it as a full circle mutual admiration collaboration. 😉 NetherRealm has always been huge fans of the McFarlane figures. The proof is in the pudding. If you walk around our studio you will see their action figures littered across many team members’ desks and workstations. We genuinely are big fans of the quality of their work. I couldn’t think of better timing as far as all of this cross pollination of intellectual properties and expertise in our various forms of art.There you have it! Spawn and Mortal Kombat, a match made in… Well, maybe not heaven, but some kind of afterlife.
While Spawn in Mortal Kombat makes sense aesthetically and stylistically, IGN’s Mitchell Saltzman thought he also worked well technically! You can check out his full review of the DLC here.