Mortal Kombat’s 30th anniversary doesn’t technically take place until 2022. But ahead of the big three-oh, co-creator Ed Boon has shared a few early development insights on Twitter—including a look at the team figuring out one of fighting games’ most famous moves on-the-fly with Scorpion actor Daniel Pesina.
Speaking through grainy VHS footage from 1992, Boon interrupts a motion capture shoot by suggesting what he thinks would be a “cool ass move”. What follows is a back-and-forth that sees the team figure what would, indeed, be recognised by gaming history as a cool-ass move.
Mortal Kombat will be 30 years old in 2022. But 2021 marks 30 years since we actually BEGAN working on the game. To celebrate, it seemed like a fun idea to share some behind-the-scenes stuff. This clip shows how we created Scorpion’s iconic (GET OVER HERE!) spear move. (1 of 9) pic.twitter.com/3f1tdvjG9ROctober 12, 2021
In follow-up tweets, Boon explains that the process involved a bit more than just watching a yellow ninja pretend to toss sticks. Because the move had to be surprising to opponents, the motion had to be quick, simple and readable, and you can hear the team discuss how many frames it should take up.
Memory restrictions also meant that the fewer unique animations the team could use, the better. Instead of recording bespoke “impaled” animations for every character, Boo talks about how they borrowed frames from existing animations to cobble together the completed move.
“We were so tight on memory, that we didn’t even capture any motions for the victim reactions. Instead we borrowed from their existing animation frames. You can hear us talk about reusing one of the victim’s “knockdown” animations when they initially get hit by the spear.”
Scorpion’s “get over here!” may well be one of the oldest videogame memes, a fighting game move as recognisable as Street Fighter’s roaring Hadouken (if not more so). It’s fascinating to see its origins in an impromptu recording session, and Boon hopes to keep sharing dev insights from the series’ history in the run-up to Mortal Kombat’s 30th anniversary.