NetherRealm Studios is an American video game developer based in Chicago and owned by Warner Bros. Games. Led by video game industry veteran and Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon, the studio is in charge of developing the Mortal Kombat and Injustice series of fighting games.[1]

NetherRealm Studios
Company typeSubsidiary
IndustryVideo games
PredecessorWB Games Chicago
FoundedApril 20, 2010; 13 years ago (2010-04-20)
HeadquartersChicago, Illinois, US
Key people
Products
ParentWarner Bros. Games
Websitenetherrealm.com

History edit

On February 12, 2009, Midway Games filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States.[2][3] Warner Bros. subsequently acquired "substantially all of the assets", including Mortal Kombat, This Is Vegas and the Midway Games company structure, on July 10, 2009.[4][5] While Warner Bros. went on to close most of Midway Games' Chicago headquarters and San Diego, California and Liverpool, England, development studios, they retained the Midway Games Chicago development studio, which became part of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (now Warner Bros. Games).[6][7] The remaining studio was renamed WB Games Chicago several days later.[8][9] On April 20, 2010, the studio was reincorporated as NetherRealm Studios, replacing WB Games Chicago.[10][11]

NetherRealm Studios' first game, was the ninth installment in the Mortal Kombat series, the title was released in April 2011. Their first game original intellectual property, Injustice: Gods Among Us, based on the DC Universe, was released in 2013.[12][13] The success of the two games allowed the development of respective sequels; Mortal Kombat X in 2015 and Injustice 2 in 2017.[14][15] Also, NetherRealm developed Android and iOS versions for Batman: Arkham City Lockdown, Batman: Arkham Origins, and WWE Immortals. The company also developed Mortal Kombat 11, which was released on April 23, 2019.[16] On October 18, 2022, NetherRealm announced that they are working on Mortal Kombat: Onslaught, a cinematic collection role-playing mobile game that will be released in 2023.[17][18]

In February 2023, Warner Bros. CEO David Zaslav announced that Mortal Kombat 1 is in development at NetherRealm Studios and was released later that year on September 19th.

Games developed edit

Year Title Platform(s) Notes
2011 Mortal Kombat Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360 Microsoft Windows Version developed by High Voltage Software
Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Batman: Arkham City Lockdown Android, iOS
2013 Injustice: Gods Among Us Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Android, iOS PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows versions developed by High Voltage Software; PlayStation Vita version developed by Armature Studio
Batman: Arkham Origins Android, iOS
2015 Mortal Kombat X[a] Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One Microsoft Windows version initially ported by High Voltage Software, later replaced by QLOC
Mortal Kombat Mobile Android, iOS
WWE Immortals Android, iOS
2017 Injustice 2 Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Android, iOS Microsoft Windows version ported by QLOC
2019 Mortal Kombat 11 Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Stadia Microsoft Windows version ported by QLOC; Nintendo Switch version ported by Shiver Entertainment
2023 Mortal Kombat: Onslaught Android, iOS
Mortal Kombat 1 Windows, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch Microsoft Windows version ported by QLOC; Nintendo Switch version ported by Shiver Entertainment and Saber Interactive

Controversies edit

Shortly after the launch of Mortal Kombat 11, several independent declarations from former employees came through about the studio's alleged practices and general working conditions during the development of their last four games, in what they described as a toxic workplace with common instances of gender discrimination, as well as severe crunch time.[19][20][21] In May 2019, NetherRealm released a statement saying "At NetherRealm Studios, we greatly appreciate and respect all of our employees and prioritize creating a positive work experience. As an equal opportunity employer, we encourage diversity and constantly take steps to reduce crunch time for our employees. We are actively looking into all allegations, as we take these matters very seriously and are always working to improve our company environment. There are confidential ways for employees to raise any concerns or issues."[22] Following the statement, NetherRealm gave the studio the weekend off.[23]

The same month, another article by Kotaku reported on the mental toll the developers were taking on by developing such excessively violent video games—one developer detailed stories about how the team would view pictures and videos of murders or animal slaughter as reference material, which would cause nightmares and eventual insomnia, with a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.[24]

Notes edit

  1. ^ Later released as Mortal Kombat XL.

References edit

  1. ^ McWhertor, Michael (August 24, 2010). "What's Next For Mortal Kombat, NetherRealm Studios". Kotaku. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  2. ^ Lee, James (February 12, 2009). "Midway US files for reorganisation in Bankruptcy Court". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  3. ^ Crecente, Brian (February 12, 2009). "Midway Files for Bankruptcy". Kotaku. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  4. ^ McWhertor, Michael (July 10, 2009). "Warner Bros. Now Owns Midway, Mortal Kombat". Kotaku. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  5. ^ Thorsen, Tor (July 14, 2009). "Midway Newcastle shuttered, Chicago layoffs 'imminent'". GameSpot. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  6. ^ Thorsen, Tor (July 16, 2009). "Midway's Chicago HQ closing, final buyout price $49 million". GameSpot. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  7. ^ Gilbert, Ben (July 17, 2009). "Midway execs get the boot, entire Chicago dev team acquired by WB". Engadget. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  8. ^ Gilbert, Ben (July 27, 2009). "Mortal Kombat team sheds Midway skin for 'WB Games Chicago'". Engadget. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  9. ^ Martin, Matt (July 28, 2009). "Mortal Kombat studio becomes WB Games Chicago". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  10. ^ Nunneley, Stephany (April 9, 2010). "Warner trademarks Netherrealm Studios". VG247. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
  11. ^ O'Connor, Alice (June 10, 2010). "Mortal Kombat Returning to '2D' Roots". Shacknews. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  12. ^ Kubba, Sinan (January 15, 2013). "Injustice: Gods Among Us hits April 16, Battle Edition revealed". Engadget. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  13. ^ Purchese, Robert (January 15, 2013). "Injustice: Gods Among Us release date 19th April". eurogamer.net. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  14. ^ Plagge, Kallie (January 9, 2017). "Injustice 2 Release Date Revealed [UPDATE]". GameSpot. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  15. ^ Fahey, Mike (February 14, 2017). "Injustice 2 Doubles Up On Cats". Kotaku. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  16. ^ Fahey, Mike (December 6, 2018). "Mortal Kombat 11 Announced, Launching Globally April 23". Kotaku.
  17. ^ "Mortal Kombat: Onslaught is a new mobile game coming in 2023". October 18, 2022.
  18. ^ "Collection RPG Mortal Kombat: Onslaught announced for iOS, Android". October 18, 2022.
  19. ^ "NetherRealm's self-sustaining culture of crunch". GamesIndustry.biz. May 3, 2019.
  20. ^ Chalk, y.; Fenlon, Wes (April 26, 2019). "Former devs speak out about 'severe crunch' at Mortal Kombat studio". PC Gamer. PCGamer.
  21. ^ Kim, Matt (May 2, 2019). ""This Is How They Get Away With It:" Former NetherRealm Studios Contract Devs Reveal a Troubling Studio Culture". Archived from the original on May 2, 2019. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  22. ^ Lanier, Liz (May 4, 2019). "'Mortal Kombat 11' Game Devs Allege Toxic Work Conditions at Warner Bros. Interactive's NetherRealm".
  23. ^ Lanier, Liz (May 9, 2019). "NetherRealm Investigating Worker Concerns After Studio-Wide Meeting".
  24. ^ "'I'd Have These Extremely Graphic Dreams': What It's Like To Work On Ultra-Violent Games Like Mortal Kombat 11". Kotaku. May 8, 2019.

External links edit