NetherRealm Studios

NetherRealm Studios (stylized as NetheЯRealm Studios) is an American video game developer based in Chicago and owned by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Led by video game industry veteran and Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon, the studio is in charge of developing the Mortal Kombat and Injustice series of fighting games.[1]

NetherRealm Studios
IndustryVideo games
PredecessorWB Games Chicago
FoundedApril 20, 2010 (2010-04-20)
Key people
ParentWarner Bros. Interactive Entertainment


On February 12, 2009, Midway Games filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States.[2][3] Warner Bros. subsequently acquired "substantially all of the assets", including Mortal Kombat, This Is Vegas and the Midway Games company structure, on July 10, 2009.[4][5] While Warner Bros. went on to close most of Midway Games' Chicago headquarters and San Diego, California and Liverpool, England, development studios, they retained the Midway Games Chicago development studio, which became part of Interactive Entertainment.[6][7] The surviving studio was renamed WB Games Chicago a few days later.[8][9] On April 20, 2010, the studio was reincorporated as NetherRealm Studios, effectively replacing WB Games Chicago.[10][11]

NetherRealm Studios' first game, the ninth installment of the Mortal Kombat series, was released in April 2011. Their first game in an original intellectual property, Injustice: Gods Among Us, based on the DC Universe, was released in 2013.[12][13] The success of the two games allowed the development of respective sequels; Mortal Kombat X in 2015 and Injustice 2 in 2017.[14][15] Meanwhile, NetherRealm Studios has also developed the Android and iOS versions of Batman: Arkham City Lockdown, Batman: Arkham Origins, and WWE Immortals. NetherRealm Studios' next game, Mortal Kombat 11, was released on April 23, 2019.[16]

Games developed

Year Title Platform(s)
2011 Mortal Kombat Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360
Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Batman: Arkham City Lockdown Android, iOS
2013 Injustice: Gods Among Us Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Android, iOS
Batman: Arkham Origins Android, iOS
2015 Mortal Kombat X Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Android, iOS
WWE Immortals Android, iOS
2017 Injustice 2 Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Android, iOS
2019 Mortal Kombat 11 Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Android, iOS, Stadia


Shortly after the launch of Mortal Kombat 11, several independent declarations from former employees came through about the studio's alleged practices and general working conditions during the development of their last four games.[17][18][19] In May 2019, NetherRealm released a statement saying “At NetherRealm Studios, we greatly appreciate and respect all of our employees and prioritize creating a positive work experience. As an equal opportunity employer, we encourage diversity and constantly take steps to reduce crunch time for our employees. We are actively looking into all allegations, as we take these matters very seriously and are always working to improve our company environment. There are confidential ways for employees to raise any concerns or issues.”[20] Following the statement, NetherRealm gave the studio the weekend off.[21]

The same month, another article by Kotaku reported on the mental toll the developers were taking on by developing such graphic video games; one developer detailed stories about using pictures and videos of murders or animal slaughter as reference material, causing nightmares and eventual insomnia, with a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.[22]


  1. McWhertor, Michael (August 24, 2010). "What's Next For Mortal Kombat, NetherRealm Studios". Kotaku. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  2. Lee, James (February 12, 2009). "Midway US files for reorganisation in Bankruptcy Court". Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  3. Crecente, Brian (February 12, 2009). "Midway Files for Bankruptcy". Kotaku. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  4. McWhertor, Michael (July 10, 2009). "Warner Bros. Now Owns Midway, Mortal Kombat". Kotaku. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  5. Thorsen, Tor (July 14, 2009). "Midway Newcastle shuttered, Chicago layoffs 'imminent'". GameSpot. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  6. Thorsen, Tor (July 16, 2009). "Midway's Chicago HQ closing, final buyout price $49 million". GameSpot. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  7. Gilbert, Ben (July 17, 2009). "Midway execs get the boot, entire Chicago dev team acquired by WB". Engadget. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  8. Gilbert, Ben (July 27, 2009). "Mortal Kombat team sheds Midway skin for 'WB Games Chicago'". Engadget. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  9. Martin, Matt (July 28, 2009). "Mortal Kombat studio becomes WB Games Chicago". Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  10. Nunneley, Stephany (April 9, 2010). "Warner trademarks Netherrealm Studios". VG247. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
  11. O'Connor, Alice (June 10, 2010). "Mortal Kombat Returning to '2D' Roots". Shacknews. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  12. Kubba, Sinan (January 15, 2013). "Injustice: Gods Among Us hits April 16, Battle Edition revealed". Engadget. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  13. Purchese, Robert (January 15, 2013). "Injustice: Gods Among Us release date 19th April". Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  14. Plagge, Kallie (January 9, 2017). "Injustice 2 Release Date Revealed [UPDATE]". GameSpot. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  15. Fahey, Mike (February 14, 2017). "Injustice 2 Doubles Up On Cats". Kotaku. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  16. Fahey, Mike (December 6, 2018). "Mortal Kombat 11 Announced, Launching Globally April 23". Kotaku.
  17. "NetherRealm's self-sustaining culture of crunch".
  18. "Former devs speak out about 'severe crunch' at Mortal Kombat studio". PCGamer.
  19. Kim, Matt (May 2, 2019). ""This Is How They Get Away With It:" Former NetherRealm Studios Contract Devs Reveal a Troubling Studio Culture". Archived from the original on May 2, 2019. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  20. Lanier, Liz (May 4, 2019). "'Mortal Kombat 11' Game Devs Allege Toxic Work Conditions at Warner Bros. Interactive's NetherRealm".
  21. Lanier, Liz (May 9, 2019). "NetherRealm Investigating Worker Concerns After Studio-Wide Meeting".
  22. "'I'd Have These Extremely Graphic Dreams': What It's Like To Work On Ultra-Violent Games Like Mortal Kombat 11". Kotaku.
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