Talking to NetherRealm About Ronda as Mortal Kombat 11’s Arm-Tearing Sonya Blade

Justin Golightly
Ronda Rousey in Mortal Kombat 11

Back in January, Earthrealm found out their fate is in the hands of Ronda Rousey. “The Baddest Women on the Planet’s” time to prove herself in Outworld has finally come after receiving her gold koin in the mail. You’d think that Mortal Kombat would jump into the 21st century and send an e-mail, but it remains a mysterious and ancient tournament which still relies on the postal service. recently sat down with NetherRealm’s community manager Tyler Lansdown to talk about Ronda stepping into the studio to bring life to Sonya Blade in Mortal Kombat 11. What brought Ronda and NetherRealm together?

Tyler Lansdown: We heard that Ronda was a huge fan and the team felt like she’d be a great fit for the role of Sonya. I guess the rest is history. It was great meeting her in person and seeing how passionate she is about being part of the game and voicing Sonya.

Ronda didn’t do the motion capture though?

Ronda did not do the motion capture, but we were able to get her signature armbar move into the game. Ronda did also give Sonya life with her awesome voice work.

Does Sonya tear off any arms?

Let’s just say that in one of Sonya’s fatalities, she gets about as close to ripping an arm off as you possibly can. She does have a great armbar special move which I think is a fantastic homage to Ronda’s fight style.

Will Ronda’s abilities to tear off arms possibly ever influence Sonya’s ability to tear off arms?

Not sure where to go with that. Can Ronda really tear off arms?

Sonya could probably tear off arms anyway, right?

There is no doubt.

Could Ronda tear off your arm?

I’m guessing tearing an actual arm off takes unworldly strength, that said, probably.

Tell us about where Sonya is in the MK storyline as we head into 11.

Since Mortal Kombat X, Sonya’s been running the Special Forces and enforcing Raiden’s new zero-tolerance policy against Earthrealm’s enemies. With what little downtime she’s had between missions, Sonya’s also managed to reconnect with Johnny and Cassie Cage. It’s now much easier for Sonya to fight battles abroad, knowing that all’s well on the home front.

Can you describe the process for how fatalities are conceptualized and ultimately chosen? The funnel.

Creating a fatality is a true team effort, like most things here at NetherRealm. It starts with meetings where ideas are brainstormed. All kinds of ideas come from those meeting and once one is chosen, storyboards are drawn up. Finally, it goes off to all of the talented art teams here at NetherRealm to finalize it and get it into the game.

Was there much of a pro wrestling influence in the MK universe? It’s kind of MMA. You beat out the mainstream representation of MMA at the time in the early ’90s.

Many people at the studio are huge wrestling fans, myself included.  You can certainly see many pro wrestling influences in our games, especially with our big bruiser types like Jax or Geras. They love throwing people around.

And back then, right when Mortal Kombat 1 and 2 were coming out, the UFC was catching flack as “human cockfighting”.

Would you ever consider a more realistic hand-to-hand combat game?

Never say never, but we love the over-the-top combat that the MK series brings.  That is what makes NetherRealm games so much fun to play.

Ronda’s fans are MMA and Pro Wrestling fans, and many have grown up with MK, but for the players who are on EA UFC or WWE2K: What would they like about MK11?

The team really focused on visceral up-close combat similar to what you would see in an MMA fight. At the same time, we have over the top moves that are always entertaining like a great high spot in a wrestling match.

Mortal Kombat 11 drops on April 23, 2019.

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