Robocop is the latest guest to be added to Mortal Kombat 11, joining current alumni Spawn, Terminator T-800 and the Joker. The series has a history of importing iconic characters from games and film, but there's still a handful of potential pugilists that we hope are on NetherRealm's list.
Like Nightwolf, but better.
Sam | Trevor Philips
Grand Theft Auto V protagonist Trevor Philips might be the furthest thing from fighting fit, but Mortal Kombat has a pretty loose rule set. After “mentally preparing” with a hit of meth in his fighter intro, he’d rely on an arsenal of guns and explosives to level the playing field.
As you’ll know if you’ve played GTA V, Trevor is an absolute psychopath. A staple diet of illicit drugs allows him to periodically utilise the Red Mist skill, which decreases damage taken and increases damage dealt. It essentially makes Philips an invincible powerhouse for a brief period and could add credence to his inclusion, while also doubling as a time-limited buff manoeuvre integrated into his move set.
One of his Fatalities could be a curb stop, after which he’d complain about the state of his bloodied shoe while flicking brain matter from the sole. It’s a perfect tonal fit, mirroring MK mainstay Johnny Cage’s grossout antics.
It’s unlikely to happen - whereas Chris’ Talion/Celebrimbor suggestion would arguably be a shoo-in, both being owned by Warner Bros. and all - though it’d no doubt be a fitting and fruitful crossover if ever it did.
He may not have supernatural abilities but we wouldn't bet against Trevor in any fight.
Liam | Judge Dredd
While Judge Dredd might not have a spectral companion to call upon or a rage-inducing drug habit, he does have the Lawgiver, a voice activated handgun. This iconic weapon could be used to devastating effect during fights, with players able pull off special combos to activate the different firing modes, such as incendiary or high-explosive rounds, and deal out massive damage.
It could also make for some great finishing moves, too, with the gravelly voiced Street Judge firing off pithy one-liners before dealing the final blow with one of the many types of ammo at his disposal.
More creative finishing moves could include Dredd calling in his Lawmaster bike and dragging opponents off for a short stay in the Iso-Cubes, or forcing them to take The Long Walk, where they’d have to face the terrors of the Cursed Earth alone.
But Dredd’s not just about the tech, of course. As an experienced Judge raised on the mean streets of Mega-City One, he’s well versed in many forms of hand to hand combat, and having faced-off against the worst humanity has to offer, as well as a host of other worldly enemies, Mortal Kombat 11's roster wouldn’t hold any surprises for him.
Due to a lack of recent Judge Dredd games, Robocop will be filling in for the Judge, until he gets the title he deserves.
James | Travis Touchdown
Far from a likely (or realistic) choice, the cel-shaded star of No More Heroes with a gritty MK-over could pull in those who like their fighters a bit more on the whimsical side. (He’s too violent for Smash anyway).
While weapons aren’t necessarily the be-all in MK, compared to the likes of Soul Calibur, the lightsaber rip-off/light fitting that is Travis’ beam sword could be employed for some suitably OTT Fatalities and Brutalities, while Travis himself maintains a knowing wink to the camera.
More than likely he wouldn’t be much impressed with his own inclusion, as a relatively self-referential character, which could lead to some fun character interactions as well. Imagine him teasing Robocop about the size of his gun, or asking the T-800 about what it was like being governor in those fleeting opening voice lines and his role starts to take shape.
Not an out-and-out psychopath or egomaniac, Touchdown could feel a bit more light-hearted, while playing with surprising dexterity thanks to his unassuming, wiry physique. How effective the design would translate to a “realistic” look is anyone’s guess, but it feels more likely than Deadpool at least.
Johnny Cage might have some competition when it comes to snappy one-liners.
Share your ideas for a Mortal Kombat 11 guest character in all the usual places.
Last week, Epic Games revealed Unreal Engine 5, treating us to a demo running on PS5 hardware. Lumen in the Land of Nanite showcases two new core technologies, which will offer unprecedented levels of detail when the engine (compatible with current and next-gen platforms, including Android and iOS) releases next year.
Lots and lots of triangles.
After the underwhelming third-party Xbox Series X gameplay reveal, Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 5 footage was just what we needed. While the character model still isn’t quite there, the environments and assets on display are incredible.
That said, the showcase doesn’t actually relate to a real game and should be taken with a pinch of salt. Countless times before tech demos either haven’t quite panned out or it’s taken years of hands-on experience with an engine and/or piece of hardware to fully realise something comparable.
Even if we do get visuals of that standard right off the bat, UE5 isn’t scheduled to release until late 2021. By then the PS5 and XSX will be around a year old, so the demo isn’t a great measuring stick to judge the quality of what we’ll be looking at on day one.
While journo Geoff Keighley claims gamers won’t be disappointed when they clap eyes on next-gen visuals, if there’s truth to that, in the absence of E3 this year, it’s time to show and not tell. Although I’m excited to see what both next-gen machines are truly capable of, it does appear we could be looking at diminishing returns and not the kind of drastic leap alluded to by Head of Xbox Phil Spencer.
Cautious optimism may negate any future disappointment.
While tech talk is always lost on me, I can appreciate lovely visuals, and the Unreal 5 demo certainly had them in spades. The most impressive part, however, was not the magic bats or reactive light but the way the character interacted with her environment.
Little touches, like how she placed her hand on a door frame when passing through it, are far more immersive than ultra-realistic shadows and dust physics, especially if unscripted. In-game worlds have been getting prettier for years, but far too often playable characters seem oblivious to them.
Like Link’s cartoon eyes that pointed out clues in The Wind Waker, more natural animations could be put to good use in next-gen games (at least the ones made with Unreal 5) to subtly do the same. How cool would it be to see your character spontaneously react to unknown sounds by flinching away from them, indicating a potential enemy nearby, or hint at hidden areas with a suggestive glance?
It’s these kinds of innovations and improvements, rather than simply bigger and better-looking worlds, that I’m most looking forward to seeing more of once the next-gen really gets going.
A more subtle but immersive approach gets Liam's motor running.
Graphics might not be the be all and end all, but most of the gaming persuasion would agree that loading screens are not fun. How nice then that this loaded-to-the-brim tech showcase was a fluid, seamless experience from start to finish.
Of course, questions in the days following led to discussion about whether a loading screen was hidden in a "squeezing through a crack" section – a tactic often employed by the likes of Uncharted and recent Tomb Raider instalments to give time to render environments.
This was quickly waved away as an intentional move to show close-up detail, but it's important to remember (as Sam says) that this isn't a final product, merely a glimpse of what might be possible.
On consoles it's potentially even more removed from reality, with the demo undoubtedly running on a high-end PC, though next gen will invite more teraflops to the party than ever before.
Similar to the potential in Assassin's Creed last week, it's the ability to make environmental detail ever more effortless for developers which is most exciting as they can then focus their time in pushing gameplay forward with new ideas and experiences. Bring it on.
It may take time for such intricately detailed worlds to emerge.
Let us know your thoughts on the first PS5 gameplay footage.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla was officially announced last week, confirming the previous rumours that we'll be playing as a Viking this time around. Details are scant at the moment, outside of the setting and basic premise, but the recent trailers have given us a lot to speculate on.
Don't get too excited about this gameplay trailer.
After taking back Victorian London in Assassin's Creed Syndicate, I felt my dreams of role-playing as a silent killer were thoroughly satisfied, leading me to let both Odyssey and Origins pass me by. With a more wintery trip to Blighty planned, as the more shouty, but suitably stabby, Vikings, the trailer has me intrigued.
There's not a lot of stealth on show, but King Alfred of Wessex (as confirmed by Ubisoft on Den of Geek) looks thoroughly miserable and that's enough to warrant an untimely spiking in my book. Plus, while the Vikings eventually conquered the entire country, their raids began in more rural, coastal towns - if I remember correctly from my year 9 history - a far cry from the bustling, close-knit rooftops of London. This could lead to some interesting assassination scenarios, and ones which build on lessons learned in the more sunshine-drenched experiences of the past two games.
Having not played PlayStation's God of War, I haven't dabbled much in Norsemen combat for some time, so it will be interesting to see how the style of fighting differs from a more traditional, strictly in the shadows approach. Presumably there will be a bit more aggression to the kills here, which could be juicy.
Finally, we did see some traditional Viking longships (cue an expert tell me they aren't actually longships), which could see the return of a sprinkling of ship combat, a feature I haven't tried out in the likes of Black Flag. With Skull and Bones seemingly endlessly delayed, this could be a good opportunity for some to scratch their sailing itch at the same time, as they make their way up the British coast, gradually planting the flag for the scandinavians.
Is more naval combat on the cards?
First of all, I’m hoping Ubisoft adopt a ‘less is more’ approach with Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, as Odyssey was just far too much game, and I can’t be the only one who burned out on the seemingly endless supply of side-quests and loot gathering after only a couple of dozen hours.
Secondly, it would be good to see something more than just a mindless hack-a-thon with some cinematics (albeit very good-looking ones) thrown on top, as the setting could be an interesting one story-wise.
Vikings aren’t exactly known as a history’s good guys, and while I’m sure Ubisoft will try to portray Eivor as a decent person – the trailer even hints this will be the case – raiding locals in order to upgrade our new settlements doesn’t exactly sound like the most paragon behaviour.
Hopefully there will be more subtle ways to expand our influence, such as forming alliances with some of the many kingdoms that made up England at the time, as opposed to just butchering our way to power. Proper choices and a more engrossing story would certainly keep me hooked a lot longer than Odyssey managed to do.
These chaps don't seem keen on the idea of an alliance but the resulting fracas could persuade the next lot.
I have a tumultuous history with the AC series. I love Assassin’s Creed II, Black Flag and Origins, but every other entry I’ve either skipped over or found underwhelming. I guess that’s the nature of a franchise that jumps between characters and time periods so often - some will land, while others won’t.
I’m hearing a lot - not seeing, based on the disappointing “gameplay” reveal trailer - that gives me hope Valhalla will help to even out my list of Assassin’s Creed hits and misses. The biggest positive for me is actually a point of contention for many others, that being that the upcoming Viking Age AC game isn’t going to be the series’ biggest entry yet.
Malek Teffaha of Ubisoft Middle East acknowledged that Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will be shorter than the other recent instalments. While some people want more bang for their buck, I’m a firm believer that less is more and have long held that Ubisoft could do with implementing that philosophy into its game design.
Not only that, but the Norse slant is of more interest than most other settings for me. Following 2018’s outstanding God of War there’s a lot to live up to, though combat is said to have been reworked in “brutal” fashion for Valhalla. I know there’s scope for ransacking forts and that’s pretty encouraging; you can’t beat a good bit of siege warfare, after all.
Hopefully this beautiful world won't be as lifeless as previous entries.
Let us know what you're expecting from Assassin's Creed Valhalla.