NetherRealm Studios (stylized as NetheЯRealm Studios) is an American video game developer based in Chicago and owned by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. 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.
|Predecessor||WB Games Chicago|
|Founded||April 20, 2010|
|Parent||Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment|
On February 12, 2009, Midway Games filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States. 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. 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 Interactive Entertainment. The surviving studio was renamed WB Games Chicago a few days later. On April 20, 2010, the studio was reincorporated as NetherRealm Studios, effectively replacing WB Games Chicago.
NetherRealm Studios' first game, the ninth installment of the Mortal Kombat series, was released in April 2011. Their first game in an original intellectual property, Injustice: Gods Among Us, based on the DC Universe, was released in 2013. The success of the two games allowed the development of respective sequels; Mortal Kombat X in 2015 and Injustice 2 in 2017. Meanwhile, NetherRealm Studios has also developed the Android and iOS versions of Batman: Arkham City Lockdown, Batman: Arkham Origins, and WWE Immortals. NetherRealm Studios' latest game, Mortal Kombat 11, was released on April 23, 2019.
|2011||Mortal Kombat||Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360|
|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|
|Batman: Arkham Origins||Android, iOS|
|2015||Mortal Kombat X||Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Android, iOS|
|WWE Immortals||Android, iOS|
|2017||Injustice 2||Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Android, iOS|
|2019||Mortal Kombat 11||Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Android, iOS, Stadia|
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 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." Following the statement, NetherRealm gave the studio the weekend off.
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.
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- McWhertor, Michael (July 10, 2009). "Warner Bros. Now Owns Midway, Mortal Kombat". Kotaku. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
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- Kubba, Sinan (January 15, 2013). "Injustice: Gods Among Us hits April 16, Battle Edition revealed". Engadget. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
- Purchese, Robert (January 15, 2013). "Injustice: Gods Among Us release date 19th April". eurogamer.net. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
- Plagge, Kallie (January 9, 2017). "Injustice 2 Release Date Revealed [UPDATE]". GameSpot. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
- Fahey, Mike (February 14, 2017). "Injustice 2 Doubles Up On Cats". Kotaku. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
- Fahey, Mike (December 6, 2018). "Mortal Kombat 11 Announced, Launching Globally April 23". Kotaku.
- "NetherRealm's self-sustaining culture of crunch". GamesIndustry.biz.
- "Former devs speak out about 'severe crunch' at Mortal Kombat studio". PCGamer.
- 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.
- Lanier, Liz (May 4, 2019). "'Mortal Kombat 11' Game Devs Allege Toxic Work Conditions at Warner Bros. Interactive's NetherRealm".
- Lanier, Liz (May 9, 2019). "NetherRealm Investigating Worker Concerns After Studio-Wide Meeting".
- "'I'd Have These Extremely Graphic Dreams': What It's Like To Work On Ultra-Violent Games Like Mortal Kombat 11". Kotaku.