NetherRealm Studios is an American video game developer based in Chicago. After Midway filed for bankruptcy, its assets for Midway Games Chicago were purchased by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. After a brief spell under the name WB Games Chicago, this newly owned property would eventually become NetherRealm Studios in 2010. The studio comprises many Mortal Kombat veterans and is led by the series' co-creator Ed Boon.
Largely a Fighting Game studio, they debuted with the critically acclaimed and hugely successful Mortal Kombat 9. The studio has developed something of a Signature Style, with fast-paced, heavy-hitting gameplay, superb production values, and massive amounts of single-player content. At the same time, though, they've faced criticism for stilted animations, perceived "casual" gameplay, and being quick to drop support for a game when their next one is released.
They also used to be criticized for poor, laggy net code, but this was amended with the XL update for Mortal Kombat X, and their online play has been held in high esteem ever since. They even gave a GDC talk about it.
The studio worked on a two-year cycle, alternating between Mortal Kombat and the DC Comics-based Injustice each time until Mortal Kombat 11 in 2019, whereupon they followed that up with Mortal Kombat 1 in 2023. Ed Boon has stated that Injustice 3 isn't off the cards, however.
- Mortal Kombat (2011 onward)
- Batman: Arkham City Lockdown (2011)
- Batman: Arkham Origins (Mobile version, 2013)
- Injustice: Gods Among Us (2013)
- A mobile spinoff by the same name.
- Injustice 2 (2017)
- A mobile spinoff by the same name.
- WWE Immortals (mobile game, 2015)
- Artistic License – Gun Safety: The studio tends to follow the Rule of Cool more than proper firearm etiquette.
- Mortal Kombat.
- Stryker fires his weapon into the air and then twirls it before holstering it in one of his victory poses. And this guy is actually a police officer.
- Cassie and Erron Black are just as bad in X (Erron’s The Gunslinger so his twirling his guns around is somewhat expected, while Cassie tends to ignore the third rule of gun safety and she is in the military).
- Cassie’s even worse in 11, twirling guns in her intros as she loads them and shooting them wildly in one of her victory outros.
- Injustice: Gods Among Us
- More or less averted with Deathstroke and Deadshot, who are only shown loading, holstering, and aiming their guns in their intros, and they tend to use lethal methods at all times. Played straight with Deadshot’s Super Move and victory outro.
- Also played straight with Red Hood in Injustice 2, who twirls his guns and fires them into the air.
- Mortal Kombat.
- Borrowing from the Sister Series:
- Mortal Kombat X borrowed the "Interactables" mechanic from Injustice: Gods Among Us, as well as the quick-time event feature for its story mode. In addition, the game had a series of prequel comics, a first for the series, expanding the lore and properly introducing some of the new characters, and a three-character fighting mobile game, also another first, after Injustice's own game.
- Injustice 2 borrowed from X the Dialogue Tree feature, the character selection screen (with the addition of the characters hitting each other after being selected), and the "Tower Konquest" battles, rechristened here as the Multiverse/Brother Eye. In addition, its Character Customization feature expands upon X's "three playstyles per character" system, with even more possibilities.
- Mortal Kombat 11 took the Character Customization system from Injustice 2, its multi-character chapters for the Story Mode, the use of a numeric value to represent the character health, and an Overcrank effect for both Fatalities and Victory Poses (save certain outros).
- Descended Creator: Ed Boon still provides Scorpion's iconic "GET OVER HERE!/COME HERE!!!", even though the role has been Darrin'd to Patrick Seitz and later Ron Yuan. Even when the games are dubbed in other languages (as was the case with Injustice and MKX), the line is retained in its original form.
- Guest Fighter: A DLC mainstay in NetherRealm games since day one. Each game of theirs will include at least one appearance by a famous pop-culture icon:
- Mortal Kombat 9: Kratos from the God of War series (exclusive to the Sony versions of the game), and Freddy Krueger of the A Nightmare on Elm Street horror movie franchise.
- Injustice: Gods Among Us: The only non-DC Comics character on the roster is none other than Mortal Kombat's own Scorpion.
- Mortal Kombat X returns to the well of horror icons: Jason Voorhes of Friday the 13th, Leatherface of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a Xenomorph from the Alien franchise, and its eternal rival the Predator.
- Injustice 2: In addition to Mortal Kombat's Sub-Zero and Raiden, fellow comic book characters Hellboy and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles join in on the fun.
- Mortal Kombat 11 features the T-800, borrowing from its appearance in Terminator: Dark Fate, The Joker, returning the favor for the MK guests in Injustice, Todd McFarlane's Spawn, RoboCop, and Rambo.
- Mortal Kombat 1 proudly features Omni-Man from Invincible with J. K. Simmons reprising his role from the animated series, and Homelander from The Boys, also taking after his Prime Video incarnation.
- Their licensed mobile games even get in on the act. Mortal Kombat's Kano is featured as an opponent in Arkham City Lockdown, and Johnny Cage makes a playable appearance in WWE Immortals.
- Mascot: None other than Scorpion, who is, unsurprisingly, Boon's favorite Mortal Kombat character.
- Playing Against Type: Boon wants the studio to develop games outside the Mortal Kombat universe. This desire was first realized with the release of Injustice: Gods Among Us.
- Plot-Irrelevant Villain: This kind of character becomes a pre-order bonus in Mortal Kombat X and Injustice 2. Averted with 11, whose Pre-Order Bonus Villain character actually plays a role in the entire story.
- Running Gag: Throwing bystanders at the opponent to the complete apathy of the other bystanders.
- Updated Re-release: If you don't like paying separately for DLC, just wait about a year after each NetherRealm console game drops, and they'll put out a Game of The Year Edition with all the extra content available on-disc from the start, along with a few little extras. In Injustice's case, the Ultimate Edition was also an opportunity to port the game to new systems, namely the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Play Station Vita. 11's Ultimate edition serves the same purpose of porting the game to the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S, with a free upgrade offered to current owners of the game.