Ed Boon talks Injustice 2 and its “wide range” approach to Esports

3 min read
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Injustice 2 is finally out this week, and so far the general consensus is that it’s good. Damn good. Bigger and building on the narrative successes established by the first Injustice game and recent Mortal Kombats, NetherRealm’s latest sequel is in the running not only for the best game of 2017 but also one of the best superhero games ever made.

Something you don’t often hear with fighting games in particular. For a genre which was this close to knock-knock knockin’on heaven’s door, the fighting scene is very much alive and kicking today. Part of that revival comes from not only solid games, but also an even more dedicated fanbase in esports. An audience which Injustice 2 hopes to have around for a very long time thanks to its novel Gear System which will be making a grand debut at the Wrestlemania of fighting games this year, EVO.

“I think by the time EVO comes along, because we have so many characters, I don’t think that people would have figured out all of the strengths that especially the new characters have yet,” NetherRealm boss Ed Boon said to Glixel.

I think in this early period, you’re gonna see a lot of theories

It’s funny, when you watch the life of a fighting game over the course of the years it’s featured at like an EVO or a CEO or a Combobreaker, all these big events, you see certain characters falling in and out of favour. It’s really fascinating, you see the discussions about it.

You see somebody wins with a certain character, and all of a sudden “Oh, this character’s too powerful, it’s too this, it’s too that.” And then somebody wins with another character, and then that same first character “Oh, It’s too weak.” It’s just an amazing phenomenon to watch, the crowd sentiment and discussion on players. I think in this early period, you’re gonna see a lot of theories of “Oh no, Atrocitus is the best character, no…Swamp Thing is the best character, no…it’s Captain Cold.” And that’s a ride, because you see such a wide range.

Our games have a really high number of different characters that are chosen. If you look at our finals, there’ve been a lot where eight players are in the finals and they’re all using eight different characters. That to me is so cool to see, because it’s not just everybody choosing Superman. It’s cool to see how players’ fight styles are attached to certain fighters: keep-away fighters, zoning fighters, quick fighters and everything like that.

there will be a “Regulation Soccer Field” that people can use

Don’t expect to see the Gear system implemented beyond the cosmetic stage however, as Boon explained how “regulation play” will factor into tournaments. “The goal is that there’s always a way to continually upgrade your character. I’m not sure if you were talking about how this might be applied to a tournament like an EVO,” Boon said.

The tournaments, I suspect, are going to disable the gear’s implements, and we have a system in there that lets you kinda level things out like “This is Regulation Play.” So we’ve defined the Regulation versions of all the characters. While it would still be fun to see the different costumes and the looks, just for the visual fun and the variety, there will be a “Regulation Soccer Field” that people can use.

That’s a balanced approach, and an obvious one then. There’s something inherently cool about seeing these iconic characters kitted up to the silver age nines, which makes my inner fanboy squeal with delight as I recognise certain outfits and themes hailing from various eras of DC Comics continuity. It’s that attention to detail, which makes me happy. Also, having an online chance to bop Al in the face with the power of a Kryptonian super-god is also kind of appealing.

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Last Updated: May 18, 2017

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Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia's M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

  • MonsterCheddar

    Have we settled on how to spell it now?

    EsPoRtS

    eSpOrTs

    Isphurts

    Nerdsdoingspurts

    • HairyEwok

      eSperts!

      • Original Heretic

        Better that esquirts!

    • Hammersteyn

      But is it a sport?

      • MonsterCheddar

        Thats what they say…

        • Hammersteyn

          And if enough people say it, it must be true

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Amen.

  • Hammersteyn

    Esports ruined fighting games for the average gamer, there I said it.

    • Original Heretic

      Nah, I dunno if I agree, hey.

      Just like any pro sporting, be it esports or, uh, non-esports, when I watch okes who just awesome, it shows you what is possible when talent is combined with hard work.

      It’s like watching AB de Villiers in full song, laying waste to an opposition bowling attack. I know I’m never going to be able to do that, but I still like whacking a cricket ball with a bat.

      • Hammersteyn

        It’s fine to admire AB de Villiers, but you’re never gonna play against him in a club cricket game but it’s fine here? Look at what happened to SF5 in the name of esports. It’s amazing they even bothered with a story in this game, not that any of the DLC characters are in it because that would have made an even better story.

        Sub Zero is one of the DLC characters and instead of Darkseid we have Gorilla Grodd team up with Brainiac. Why? Because of sweet, sweet profits. I bet most competitive players all bought the Ultimate edition ensuring they have access to all the DLC as soon as it drops so that they can start learning how to chain the bouncy castle combos together.

        /end rant. I’m grumpy and cynical, sorry not sorry.

        • Original Heretic

          If you wanna go competitive, then yeah, there are guys who probably shelled out more moola for all the content.
          But if I get this, and it does look likely, I’m just going to enjoy it. I can’t see my playing online against any pros or pro wannabes.
          I may jam against my mates, but we’re all equally shit.

          • Hammersteyn

            Same here, exactly the same.

          • Original Heretic

            Hahahaha! Then why are you moaning and ranting?!? What those okes are doing aren’t going to affect you in any way!

          • Hammersteyn

            I’m agreeing with you, but I still stand with my other points

        • Unlikely – DLC chars tend to be barred from tournament play.

          • Hammersteyn

            Really? Did not know that.

    • Fighting games have been an “esport” since before it was called esports. Street Fighter 2 had a pretty hectic pro-gaming scene.

      • Hammersteyn

        But look at SF5 in comparison, Capcom didn’t even bother with most of the modes at the start. They just wanted to ride the esports wave.

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