The Mortal Kombat series has been consistently one of the biggest titles in the fighting genre, with yearly sequels that are each huge in their own right. The series has had its fair share of ups and downs over the years, but the series has always been able to rebound back from the absence of an entry. With the declining popularity of the fighting genre, and the series’ potential to generate a lot of revenue, it makes sense to create a Mortal Kombat game every year. And with the recent announcement that the next entry in the series will not be developed by NetherRealm Studios, fans could be left wondering if the next game will ever come out.

Well, NetherRealm Studios has been quiet lately on the subject of the next Mortal Kombat release. The last Mortal Kombat was in 2011, and the studio has had a game in development since. As of a few weeks ago, they’ve gone radio silent on the subject of the next game, leaving their fans and the gaming community to speculate on the subject.

It looks like Mortal Kombat is back for another go-around, and this time, the publisher has a lot of questions to answer. Mortal Kombat 11 is one of the best-selling fighting games of all time, and the franchise has continued to make headlines with each new entry, from Mortal Kombat X to Injustice 2 to the upcoming Mortal Kombat: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition. But the future of the franchise is in question, as Warner Bros. has reportedly been unhappy with NetherRealm Studios–the developer of the Mortal Kombat series–for not meeting the publisher’s expectations for the franchise’s future. As a result, the publisher is said to be considering cancelling the series entirely.

Image courtesy of NetherRealm Studios

These days, NetherRealm Studios is best known for two franchises: Mortal Kombat, which need no introduction, and Injustice, a newer IP starring Superman, Batman, and other famous DC Comics superheroes.

Given that Mortal Kombat 11 was NetherRealm’s final game, most fighting game enthusiasts assumed that Injustice 3 would be its next project, however GamesBeat writer Jeff Grubb claims otherwise.

Grubb claims in a recent Giant Bomb video that NetherRealm is focused on making another Mortal Kombat game, probably Mortal Kombat 12, for obvious reasons, including the franchise’s newest milestone. Mortal Kombat 11 has sold over 12 million copies globally, according to reports from late July, confirming the game as the best-selling Mortal Kombat ever and the franchise’s relevancy.

“It corresponds to reality and what I’ve heard, where Mortal Kombat 12 would make the most sense since it’s a game they know would generate money and sell well… Mortal Kombat 11 was fantastic, and it continues to sell well, but if you release Mortal Kombat 12, it will also sell and perform well,” Grubb said.

However, given the present condition of WB Games and its parent company, WarnerMedia, NetherRealm’s decision to go with Mortal Kombat 12 over Injustice 3 makes even more sense.

WB Games’ future is unclear due to WarnerMedia’s planned merger with Discovery to create what may be a radically different entertainment business, with numerous studios such as NetherRealm falling under new control. Something like that would undoubtedly hinder a project like Injustice 3, which requires more complex license.

“At the same time, if you want to get rid of NetherRealm or sell it to whoever,” Grubb said, “you don’t have to utilize any of these Batman or Superman characters that may be locked up in licensing.”

NetherRealm Studios’ most recent Injustice game was Injustice 2. It was released in 2017 as a direct sequel to 2013’s Injustice: Gods Among Us, and it continues the narrative of Superman becoming a dictator after being duped into murdering Lois Lane by the Joker.

 

A new development took place earlier this year, when AT&T announced it had agreed a deal to offload WB Games parent WarnerMedia, which will merge with Discovery to form a new standalone company billed as “one of the largest global streaming players”.

The transaction, which is anticipated to close in mid-2022, will see AT&T receive $43 billion and its shareholders receive stock representing 71% of the new company.

While WB Games wasn’t mentioned in May’s announcement, a spokesperson told Axios the deal will see it broken up in some form. “Some of the gaming arm will stay with AT&T and some will go with the new company,” they said.

Giant Bomb is the source of this information (via VGC)

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