Mortal Kombat Ermac Key Art

How the Legendary Kombatant Ermac Made His Grand Return in Mortal Kombat 1

Summary

  • Ermac joins the Mortal Kombat 1 roster today as part of the early access period for Kombat Pack owners, followed by wide availability on April 23.
  • For Mortal Kombat 1, NetherRealm wanted to further evolve the visual presentation of Ermac by leaning heavily into certain horror inspirations.
  • You can pick up the Mortal Kombat 1: Kombat Pack here on the Xbox Store.

On the way to the cafeteria at the NetherRealm Studios offices, we have a large poster of Ermac hanging on the wall. Seeing it often reminds me how far he has evolved over the years. Back in the early days before the Internet, rumors often ran rampant about him and drove all kinds of speculation, particularly in the arcades. In the first Mortal Kombat arcade game, there was a diagnostic called ERMACS short for “Error Macro” that appeared underneath the number of “Reptile Appearances” and “Reptile Battles,” and it was therefore assumed by sleuthing fans that there must be a hidden character in the game. Over time, these rumors had taken on a life of their own and wound up being the catalyst to Ermac’s eventual creation and inclusion as a playable fighter in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3.

Mortal Kombat Ermac Screenshot

Since the character’s arrival, Ermac has always been a vessel for souls and would use these souls to manipulate their energy for his own devious purposes. For Mortal Kombat 1, we wanted to further evolve the visual presentation of Ermac by leaning heavily into certain horror inspirations, and then explore the idea that Ermac has been haunted by unique souls he has captured throughout his existence. The collective of tortured souls include: the Witch, the Old Woman, the Monster, and the Soldier, each one playing a key role throughout Ermac’s move set. For Ermac’s classic Lift special move, the Witch’s soul bursts outward from Ermac to lift the opponent and slam them to the ground. The idea that these unique souls manifest themselves throughout his attacks is a common theme we wanted to showcase.

Mortal Kombat Ermac Screenshot

To me, one of the most compelling aspects to the design and implementation of Ermac was the challenge he presented to us. The last time we saw Ermac in a Mortal Kombat game as a playable fighter was in Mortal Kombat X, and we are lightyears ahead in terms of our capabilities from a visual perspective since then. For us, this meant an opportunity to evolve the look of his soul energy to create intricate visual effects-based attacks that help sell the unique telekinesis power he possesses. The inherent challenge is to ensure the visual elements are impactful, blend well with the gameplay elements, and are readable to the player. This is something the design and visual effects teams are constantly iterating on.

Mortal Kombat Ermac Screenshot

Gameplay wise, Ermac stands out as a character with interesting combo potential and routes, especially from the air. In terms of special moves, he employs a variety of his mainstay special attacks as well as new additions for Mortal Kombat 1. One of the main design goals was to evolve and showcase his classic attacks in a distinctive way while at the same time creating new special moves that both serve his gameplay plan while giving players a fresh experience. For instance, Ermac can still perform his Teleport attack but can now initiate it from either the air or ground then cancel it into an air or ground version just before he teleports acting as a mind game with options for different setups.

Mortal Kombat Ermac Screenshot

One of his new special moves is a Mana Shield where one of his souls creates a shield around him whereby incoming damage depletes his super meter instead of his health. Additionally, he has another new attack where he violently ejects souls upward, capable of launching the opponent and allowing Ermac to dash cancel out of. Lastly, one of my personal favorites and something players will want to check out is a brutality we created off Ermac’s Lift special move, which is a clear nod to his telekinesis Fatality from Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3.

Mortal Kombat Ermac Screenshot

Working on klassic characters for a new Mortal Kombat game is almost a sacred responsibility, let alone one of the ninjas. I joined the team many years ago for the first Injustice game and I will always remember the surreal moment working on Scorpion attacks for the first time. This responsibility is a sentiment shared by everyone on the team. We are all very pleased to bring Ermac back in Mortal Kombat 1 and hope players enjoy playing him as much as the team did working on him.

Xbox Live

Mortal Kombat™ 1

Warner Bros. Games

404
$69.99
It’s In Our Blood! Discover a reborn Mortal Kombat™ Universe created by the Fire God Liu Kang. Mortal Kombat™ 1 ushers in a new era of the iconic franchise with a new fighting system, game modes, and fatalities!

MK1: Kombat Pack

Warner Bros. Games

315
$39.99
The Kombat Pack includes the Johnny Cage character skin featuring voice and likeness of actor and martial artist Jean-Claude Van Damme (available now), along with 6 new post-launch DLC playable characters and 5 new post-launch Kameo Fighters. Kombat Pack also includes 1-week early access to all DLC playable characters.  DLC Playable Characters (All Coming Post-Launch) Omni-Man (Invincible) Quan Chi Peacemaker (DC’s Peacemaker) Ermac Homelander (The Boys) Takahashi Takeda DLC Kameo Fighters (All Coming Post-Launch) Tremor Mavado Janet Cage Ferra Khameleon

MK1: Ermac

Warner Bros. Games

12
$7.99
No longer Quan Chi's slave, nor bound to a royal family, Ermac must find a future worth fighting for. This pack includes playable character Ermac including all new movesets.