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Mortal Kombat Director Hypes Up Next-Gen Console Feature

In a recent livestream for Geoff Keighley's Summer Game Fest series, Keighley sat down for a chat with NetherRealm Studios' Ed Boon for a conversation about Mortal Kombat and the future of video games. Over the course of the talk, Boon revealed some features of the upcoming console generation that have him chomping at the bit to work on new content.

During their conversation, Keighley brought up the recently revealed Unreal Engine 5, which has been blowing gamers' minds for the past couple of weeks. Keighley mentions that Boon and his collaborators must be extremely excited to work with Unreal Engine 5 and to see what's possible on the next generation of gaming consoles. This is a point that Boon very much agrees with, saying that he's most excited to see what can be accomplished with the faster loading times that are made possible with Unreal Engine 5.

Boon explains, "I think people are underestimating the impact that ... the almost zero load times are going to have. That's suddenly going to open doors that just weren't considered possible before ... I think we haven't even scratched the surface of what will eventually be done with those systems."

He added, "It's kind of a given the graphics are going to be better. But this new way of handling memory and loading is going to be huge."

Keighley completely agreed on that point, saying that the new consoles' custom solid state drives would make a huge difference in what was possible for games. We've already seen a little bit of that with the Unreal 5 demo from a few weeks ago.

The demo was a fully functional game called Lumen in the Land of Nanite, and it was specifically designed to showcase the latest advancements made with Unreal 5. These included a new illumination tool called Lumens, which will create realistic lighting for games, and Nanite, which generates film quality graphics for games running Unreal 5. 

The most stunning thing about the Unreal 5 demo is that Lumen in the Land of Nanite was running in real time. According to Epic Games' Kim Libreri, Lumen in the Land of Nanite was actually playing live on a PlayStation 5 dev kit. Luckily though, this kind of impressive power won't only be seen on the PlayStation 5. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney reassured gamers that Unreal 5 was designed to be compatible with both the PS5 and the Xbox Series X.

Even beyond the power that's coming with the new console generation, it make sense that Boon is excited for the future. Mortal Kombat 11 was the best-selling game of 2019. The latest addition to the series, the DLC chapter Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath, has also received a ton of positive hype from longtime fans of the series.

With so much of Mortal Kombat's gameplay relying on precise button inputs and stringing together awesome combos, the idea of nearly nonexistent loading times sounds like a huge step up for hardcore fans. Not only that, but both consoles are touting features that will help make button inputs and responses more seamless than ever before. 

For instance, Sony has been hyping up the "lightning speed" of the PlayStation 5, while the console's DualSense controller is expected to use haptic feedback to create a fuller sense of immersion in games. In a similar vein, the Xbox Series X is utilizing Dynamic Latency Input to completely remove any sense of lag from button inputs. All of these features sound like a dream come true for fighting game fans, so it makes total sense that Boon is feeling the next generation hype.

Keighley suggested different things that could be possible using next gen SSDs, including "instantly switching stages" and the like. It's truly mind-boggling to think that we may have seen our last loading screen in a Mortal Kombat game. As Keighley points out in the Summer Game Fest interview, fighting games tend to have very fun loading screens, but that may soon be a thing of the past.

This may not entirely be a bad thing, however. In fact, according to a report from GameRant, some developers have had to remove features from games entirely because of the load times they would impose on players. Because of this, many developers are very much looking forward to seeing exactly what they can do with the improvements to load times that these new SSDs bring with them.

It remains to be seen whether or not Mortal Kombat 11 will be rereleased for the next console generation. Hopefully Ed Boon will get to play in the Unreal 5 playground sooner rather than later.