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Mortal Kombat developer sees a fighting game future in Vita

Mortal Kombat franchise producer Hector Sanchez talks about the interesting considerations in working on the Vita, and the new opportunities for fighting franchises in the current generation.
The modern connected video game landscape has been very favorable to fighting games, which benefit more than most genres from head-to-head competition, and the result has been something of a boom in title releases across many different arenas. Far from shunning its competition, Mortal Kombat franchise producer Hector Sanchez tells us that a high period for the genre is better for all involved. "I know there are some of the hardcore fans that stay loyal to their one brand, but we play all fighting games," Sanchez tells us from the NetherRealm offices in Chicago, where the team is putting the finishing touches on Mortal Kombat for Sony's portable PlayStation Vita. That console, he says, provides unique opportunities for fighting game developers due to a combination of the system's constant connection and the pick-up-and-play nature of fighting games. "The essence of competition in bite size... is really, really good, because not everyone has twenty minutes for a FIFA match, but a fighting game can be over in a couple of rounds," he tells us. "It really fits in this on-the-go generation coming up right now." According to Sanchez, one shouldn't simply port a fighting game as-is to a portable console. Portable design also needs different reward spacing to keep players focused: in the case of Mortal Kombat, NetherRealm vastly increased the number of missions in its Challenge Tower mode, which offers quick challenges that result in rapid rewards. Players can unlock new items and costumes through quick rounds of play. "We wanted to develop from the ground up for the system, since there were a lot of cool features we thought we could take advantage of," says Sanchez. [Photo credit: Emi Spicer]

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