Mortal Kombat 1 director considered having every character played by a famous actor

Johnny Cage in Mortal Kombat 1
(Image credit: Warner Bros. Games)

The co-creator of the Mortal Kombat series and director of Mortal Kombat 1, Ed Boon, has revealed that it was a consideration during the most recent game’s development to have every single character played by a recognizable actor.

“One of the things that I entertained with this game – and this is the 10 out of 10 version – which we didn’t do, was, ‘What if every character in this game was played by an actor?’” Boon told Rolling Stone in a new interview. “Like [if] we got Keanu Reeves to play Kenshi… this is, like, pipe dream. We’re not even thinking of their salaries and all that stuff. What if we made a game that had an actor, a famous, recognizable actor play every character[,] and Johnny Cage was absolutely the one who would have been played by Jean-Claude Van Damme. 

“So, the thought did come to us. But at some point, I don’t know if he would have wanted to do motion-capture work, or if he [says], ‘Just scan my face and have somebody else do all the whatever stuff.’”

Boon acknowledged that this would have meant actors signing up to “a real acting job”, rather than a one-day task that could be completed in a recording studio in an hour, since there are “hundreds of lines of dialogue” to read. 

Of course, even if Mortal Kombat 1 didn’t end up with a completely star-studded cast, many notable actors have still been involved with the game. Johnny Cage now has an alternative skin that looks like Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Megan Fox has provided both her likeness and voice for Nitara. J.K Simmons is reprising his role as Invincible’s Omni-Man in the Kombat Pack 1 DLC, and John Cena is voicing Peacemaker.

For more games like Mortal Kombat, be sure to check out our list of the best fighting games. If you’re looking for something entirely new, you can read our recommendations for the best PS5 games. 

Catherine Lewis
News Writer, TechRadar Gaming

Catherine is a News Writer for TechRadar Gaming. Armed with a journalism degree from The University of Sheffield, she was sucked into the games media industry after spending far too much time on her university newspaper writing about Pokémon and cool indie games, and realising that was a very cool job, actually. She previously spent 19 months working at GAMINGbible as a full-time journalist. She loves all things Nintendo, and will never stop talking about Xenoblade Chronicles.