See live in the studios of Netherrealm was a great satisfaction, one of those that does not happen too often: from the hangar for motion capture, among the largest of the industry, to the cinemas registration for the actors and the legendary foley (noises). After about an hour of paths between memorabilia and the unique pieces in there, we were almost enraptured, but we could not leave without having snatched some interviews from the devteam. Fortunately for us, the developers of Mortal Kombat 11 were more than willing to compare, and given the enormous curiosity that we brought with us from the trailer seen in London, it seemed right to start with Story Mode; Dominick Cianciaolo Story Director of the last two Mortal Kombat, was more than happy to chat with us, and also gave us some more details about what seems to be the most epic campaign ever seen in a Mortal Kombat. In any case, you can rest assured: no spoilers.
Face to face with Dominick Cianciaolo
Everyeye : First of all, congratulations, we got to play Story Mode and we liked it very much, and now we would like to ask you: we noticed a lot of improvements on all the fronts, directing, writing and even acting. What is your perception about it, what result do you think you have achieved with this new story?
Dom : I think we made a big jump compared to the past: the Story Team did a phenomenal job on all fronts , putting together a story of epic proportions, what Mortal Kombat needed. We are satisfied with what we did with Mortal Kombat X, but this time the size of the battles grew out of all proportion, and to make the best of the possibilities we also supported external studios and professionals from the world of cinema.
Obviously this was possible thanks to the new engine, which allowed us to improve characters, environments and even special effects; the department that takes care of VFX has really done a commendable job, and it is clear from the first moments of the campaign. I am very proud of my team, but also of the work done on the other fields, for example the visual rendering of blood, which is truly spectacular. It is the natural evolutionary process, and the result is the result of experience and the tools we have, and obviously we can not wait to present our story to the public.
Everyeye : You can talk a little bit more in detail of the plot, at least up to where we got to see in the first chapter?
Sun : Of course, the story starts essentially shortly after the events of Mortal Kombat X: As the audience will have already seen in the launch trailer, Raiden came into contact with her dark side and clashes with Shinnok. Obviously the first is a very introductory chapter; we wanted to take the time to show how the personal situations of the protagonists evolved, deepening their profile and ambitions. We were interested in showing the relationships between the characters, such as the relationship between Sonya, Cassie and Johnny Cage, their careers and their stories.
This type of study will be present throughout the narrative, because we wanted to contrast the themes of the great war for the salvation of the world to the smaller ones of the individuals, to let the public know a new part of their psychologies, to create an emotional contact. As for duration and longevity, however, I can tell you that it is similar to that of the previous chapter, but the narrative breath is much wider
Everyeye : Let's talk about writing and especially the dialogues, after playing the first chapter seems to us that somehow they have evolved; are more dry and in our opinion even more effective, can you confirm our impressions? Have you changed any of the authors?
Dom : the pen that wrote the last two Mortal Kombat is always mine, and so I can give you reason: we wanted to make the protagonists more real, more real, and this is also part of the natural evolutionary process, and of the experience we have accumulated together as a team.
In order to achieve this result we have also paid a lot of attention to the rhythms of dialogue and the differentiation of the different voices, so one of the aspects we focused on most is the dialects and accents that distinguish each individual character.
For example, take when they meet Kano and Kabal : you immediately feel the difference, the first is more openly vulgar, you can hear its original slang that emerges in each bar, while the second it's sharper, more irritating. In practice we have "regionalized" them even more than in the past, and we have been very specific in this type of operation, precisely because we wanted to give more depth to the characters.
Everyeye : How it was for you and the your team working on such a large production? To put a hand to a brand as well known as that of Mortal Kombat, and especially how long it took to get these results?
Dom : It is a very long work long and complex we have many artists who work with us, about a dozen who work exclusively on kinematics, and many have joined along the way, including collaborations external ones we talked about before. To answer your initial question, however, I can tell you that writing the texts took only six to eight months, and then it took about a year to transform everything into the cutscene that make up the story.
We wanted something that was as close as possible to a cinematographic product, clearly inspired by the great Hollywood action productions, and that's why we invested a lot in the direction too. We have chosen a very active, extremely dynamic camera, and we have also added many new camera movements, some even experimental ones.
Everyeye : Let's go on personal: what it means for you and your team to get your hands on characters a franchise so important? How do you approach the writing of a subject and above all, do you like to overturn the cards on the table or do you prefer to adhere to the traditions?
Dom : Interesting. First of all I can tell you that when I approach writing I want to understand the soul of a character even before putting hands on the actual story. I wonder what the reason that pushes them to fight, I try to understand the reasons and its past. Once its basic profile is crystallized, it is essential to think of an evolution, and to do so it is necessary to keep well in mind its path, so as not to betray it; we like changes, of course, but they have to make sense for the characters, of course, and the secret is to be able to create the right context, the right situation for that to happen.
In other words, we are not strangers to plot-twist, they do not scare us, and if history requires it we do not even scruple ourselves before the death of one of our fighters, but also in this case it must make sense. We believe we have managed to create a powerful story, made of epic tones and spectacular moments, but also to have done justice to our characters, showing new aspects of them to the public.
Everyeye : The time is practically expired unfortunately But we do not want to give up our extra question: is there any curiosity, or maybe some funny episode that happened during production, a detail that deserves to be told?
Dom : Now that you make me think something curious is worth telling, but more than a secret is a coincidence: do you have the iconic voiceover voice actor? That gentleman with a deep voice that acts as a speaker during the clashes?
Well, more than twenty years ago he was one of the actors who participated in my first short film, a western in black and white. Then we lost sight of a lifetime, he returned to Los Angeles and I came to work here, until one day, out of nowhere, I find myself in the studios for a casting, and of course I was very happy and I told everyone: "Hey, this is for us!". And so it was, curious life eh?
Everyeye : Definitely! Thank you so much Dom, it was a pleasure!
Dom : Thanks to you, see you soon!