Ed Boon has said that the first time NetherRealm Studios saw Kratos doing the business in God of War, the team thought: "Oh my God, what a great Mortal Kombat character he would make."
Flash forward a few years later, and the man full of vengeance is indeed a fighter in the PS3 version of Mortal Kombat, but not without a few stipulations from the God of War team.
“We kind of felt it was meant to happen,” Boon told the US PS Blog regarding how this all came about. “We think we’ve done Kratos justice."
"I remember somebody saying, 'Hey, there might be this possibility of Kratos appearing in Mortal Kombat,’” God of War 3 director Stig Asmussen added. “I said, ‘You gotta be kidding me, we gotta make this happen! Let’s get on the phone.’”
The subsequent phone call resulted in a collaborative effort between both studios, but Sony did have a stipulation: he must be portrayed as accurately as possible.
Capturing “the real Kratos” in Mortal Kombat wasn’t easy one, according to Boon.
“The God of War team set certain ground rules,” he said. “From the beginning, we were absolutely set on respecting the character.”
What followed was a “receptive” collaboration with Sony Santa Monica with Boon’s and Asmussen’s teams "regularly trading feedback and ideas," and using Kratos’ God of War 3 character model as a reference asset.
“Once we started sending playable builds of Kratos, that’s when they got specific regarding things like animation,” said Boon who said that Kratos’ fatality went through quite a few edits and revisions due to feedback from Santa Monica. It was mostly minor stuff, certain tweaks to the animation. We went through a lot of iterations, but in the end, when you look at that screen, you see Kratos."
"From the start, we decided we wouldn’t put him into the Story and have him interacting with Scorpion or things like that. We do explain what happens when Kratos wins the tournament," added Boon who said Kratos' ending is “a lot more elaborate” than in prior MK games.
As far as the fatality doled out by our favorite Spartan is concerned: “We had 10 fatality ideas we wanted to do,” Boon said. “But the final versions are in line with all the crazy deaths you’ve seen in God of War over the years. It’s probably over the top, but we’ve always been over the top.”
Kratos also has his own stage in the game, as well as a stage fatality described by Boon as "the best stage fatality we’ve put into any Mortal Kombat game ever," and Kratos’ close-range combat skills were balanced for the game as well. His long-ranged attacks were saved for special moves and he has more weapons in this game than any other characters "by a factor of two," such as the Bow, Cestus, Blade of Olympus, Icarus Wings, Helios head and the Blades of Chaos.
However, don't expect the God of War to participate in Test Your Might. “We’re not too shy about putting our Mortal Kombat characters in silly situations,” Boon said. “There’s just no humorous side to Kratos, [so] you’re not going to see Kratos do a Friendship … we kept him out of those situations out of respect.”
Check out the screens of Kratos in action below, as well as the video of Boon and Asmussen chatting about Mortal Kombat.
The game is out next month on PS3 as well as a Kratos-free version on Xbox 360.