Get Over Here, Oh Wait, Wrong Game
NetherRealm Studios announcing Mortal Kombat 1, a reboot of the gory 90s brawler video game series, has left millions of gamers itching to dive back into the franchise. While this is good news to some, millions more were awaiting the confirmation of Injustice 3, and they in turn have been left disappointed.
It’s always been one Mortal Kombat game, followed by an Injustice game, and the cycle has stood true for a decade. NetherRealm’s history implied that the cycle would continue, but it appears that it’s finally been broken.
However, it’s not like NetherRealm hadn’t spilled the beans already. If you had been keeping up with the leaks about the studio’s next game, then you’d already know that it was clear as day that their next game would be “Mortal Kombat 12“. Well, that’s not exactly what happened but you get the gist of it.
Either way, back-to-back Mortal Kombat games feel unnecessary. And because of that, Injustice 3 may not be released for a while now, but considering it was technically its turn to dance in the fighting game limelight, let’s take a moment to go over everything we know about the anticipated sequel.
Is Injustice 3 Even Happening?
NetherRealm Studios hasn’t confirmed that they are making Injustice 3, so for now the answer is a definitive no in regards to whether the game is in development. The Mortal Kombat 1 reboot may be what we’re getting now, but a sequel to the DC fighting game will inevitably happen since the series is a success for the company.
Ed Boon Frequently Trolls Fans About Injustice 3
The studio’s director, the ever-so jovial Ed Boon, intentionally teased fans on multiple occasions that the next Injustice game was on the horizon, but every time was right after a new Mortal Kombat leak popped up on the internet. Despite the light-hearted gaslighting by Ed, all that he said wasn’t untrue.
NetherRealm is probably cooking up some ideas for Injustice 3 in the backlog while they’re capitalizing on the next Mortal Kombat game. And it makes sense as MK11 was the biggest launch for the franchise, so that may be the culprit as to why the company gave preference to a new installment rather than switching things with an Injustice game like they have been doing for nearly a decade.
As unfortunate as the change in dynamic is, Ed Boon has frequently interacted with the community about what characters they would like to see in a future entry, so if nothing else, consider this a sign that Injustice 3 will be made, eventually.
Have You Watched The Injustice Movie Yet?
As a matter of fact, Injustice 2 wasn’t the last time we visited the franchise. An animated film based on the events of the first game was released in 2021. But fair warning, the movie isn’t on par with the video game. The story is rushed, and the animation won’t dazzle you either, but the film does a decent enough job of bringing out the nostalgia.
DC’s upcoming slate of projects may include a sequel film that adapts the story of the second game. There’s been no official announcement per se, but it wouldn’t be surprising that before we get Injustice 3 Warner Bros. decides a sequel film is in order.
When’s Injustice 3 Releasing?
As you might’ve deduced by now, Injustice 3 does not have a release date yet. Most of us had our fingers crossed that NetherRealm’s next game would be the titular sequel, but instead, it’s the Mortal Kombat soft reboot which releases on 19 September 2023.
It’s safe to assume Covid impacted development time, and if that wasn’t the case, Mortal Kombat 1 might’ve been released in 2022, leading NetherRealm to set their sights on Injustice 3 by now. On average, NetherRealm takes 2-4 years to develop a title. And the upcoming soft reboot of Mortal Kombat marks the longest period we’ve had to wait for a new game from them.
Keeping that in mind, Injustice 3 should hit shelves worldwide by Fall 2026, or at least I hope it does. If the studio makes a detour with an out of the blue original IP, though smaller in scale, expect the release date to be delayed by a year. But NetherRealm creating another AAA original IP after Mortal Kombat 1 is equally likely. They’ve been only doing Mortal Kombat and Injustice for so long now, and most studios like FromSoftware and Insomniac have a habit of expanding their works with brand-new IPs. On the off chance that comes to fruition, Injustice 3 could be pushed back by nearly half a decade, or maybe that’s just my paranoia talking.
Too Many DC Games Overshadowed Injustice 3
There are two factors that could have influenced NetherRealm’s decision to prioritize Mortal Kombat 1 over Injustice 3. Firstly, the releases of Gotham Knights and Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, both developed by Rocksteady and WB Games Montréal, which, like NetherRealm, are subsidiaries of Warner Bros. Games. It is a possibility that existing IPs owned by the company take precedence in such cases.
WB. Montréal’s Gotham Knights was based on Batman’s famed sidekicks, while Rocksteady’s Suicide Squad is a continuation of the Batman: Arkham franchise. Both are about DC superheroes, and one of them released in 2022, whereas Suicide Squad will follow suit in February 2024 after a delay of two years — well hopefully anyway.
That’s still two DC games within two years. I’m sure you’re getting an idea of where I’m going with this. Granted I stated above that NetherRealm prioritizing a Mortal Kombat soft reboot right after Mortal Kombat 11 seems unnecessary, but doing Injustice 3 wasn’t a pretty scenario either.
Three AAA DC games in 3 consecutive years would have been too much even for the greatest of fans. So what else could they do except for Mortal Kombat 1?
There’s also the Wonder Woman game in development at Monolith Productions, and possibly many more we don’t even know about yet. Injustice 3 being on hold because of that seems to be as good of a guess as any. Suicide Squad will arrive in 2024, and for Wonder Woman, a 2025 release window should be what Monolith is aiming for.
That’s a couple of more DC game projects added to the pile up till 2025, so Injustice 3 at the earliest will arrive by 2026. In any case, that’s the best estimate we’ve got at the moment. There haven’t been any leaks or rumors about a new Injustice game in forever, and with the Mortal Kombat reboot, Starfield, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, Lords of the Fallen, and other titles launching during Fall this year, everyone’s focus is diverted elsewhere.
Things We’d Like To See In Injustice 3
By the time Injustice 3 comes out, presumably a decade will have passed since the franchise’s last video game was released. Wanting a few major changes at that point is the least a person could ask for, so here are the biggest requests that come to mind.
Make It On Unreal Engine 5, Please
Not that NetherRealm games look bad, but Injustice 3 should be developed on Unreal Engine 5 (UE5). In Mortal Kombat 11, which is quite beautiful visually, the studio has used their heavily modified version of the Unreal Engine 3. That’s an amazing engine and all, but for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series generation of consoles, it’ll be criminal to not build the sequel on UE5.
We haven’t received confirmation on which engine the Mortal Kombat soft reboot is rocking, but it’s either the same old modified 3 or perhaps the Unreal Engine 4. I can’t imagine it being UE5, NetherRealm skipping over a generation seems unlikely. Regardless, the studio amazes us with its work every time, and if they use an upgraded engine, you can only imagine how appealing Injustice 3 might look.
Characters That Are Long Overdue
The DLC packs NetherRealm games have are among the best. Sometimes it’s the Terminator popping up in a new DLC, and a month later it’s Hellboy, Joker, and Sub-Zero. Injustice 3 is the perfect stage for a Hogwarts crossover, especially since Hogwarts: Legacy is so popular and because Warner Bros. owns the IP.
I would’ve said give us Omni-Man, and Homelander, but they were leaked to be a part of Mortal Kombat 1’s DLC. That’s odd considering they’re literal supervillains who fit the Injustice narrative more than Mortal Kombat. Goku and Saitama are potential replacements that come to mind since you can never have too much anime. Requests for the entire Teen Titans cast, John Constantine, Trigon, Azrael, and many more have come in as well, so hopefully the team at NetherRealm takes heed.
Mortal Kombat 1 is a hard pill to swallow if you were waiting for Injustice 3, but it’s only a matter of time until that day arrives when we’re doing more than merely talking about it. That being said, fatalities aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, so if you would rather have your hands on a DC game, Rocksteady’s upcoming Suicide Squad IP may be just what you are looking for.
Tayyab’s an anime & gaming enthusiast, and since he can’t make them (yet), he loves to write about why he finds them amazing.
Also, he’s a huge Hideo Kojima fan, and everything else that’s Japanese for that matter.