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NetherRealm addresses concern around Injustice 2's new Gear System

"We are, obviously, throwing a bit of a monkey wrench in the works."

Injustice 2 developer NetherRealm has addressed concern around the fighting game's new Gear System.

Injustice 2 has loot, where different items can drop after a fight. The gear can include stats that affect gameplay, for example a damage increase for environmental interactions.

"We anticipated what some of the hesitation might be from players and are developing intelligently to deliver something which will hopefully appeal to all of our fans, whether you're a hardcore fighting game enthusiast or a more casual fan," NetherRealm's Brian Goodman told Eurogamer in an interview at EGX.

"There's been a lot of discussion on how best to communicate this because we are, obviously, throwing a bit of a monkey wrench in the works as far as some fighting game purists might find. We're doing things to make sure people who want a pure fighting game can get that."

The idea is that the gear system offers increased character customisation, but fans are worried it will lead to unbalanced competitive play, where some players have more powerful, gameplay-affecting loot equipped on their characters than their opponents'.

Where stat-affecting gear is enabled, "essentially it is unbalanced," Goodman admitted. But he revealed Injustice 2 does also feature modes that offer a level playing field.

It sounds like Injustice 2 will offer a variety of modes, each employing the Gear System to a different degree.

"We're creating modes where it's an even playing field and you can gear up for aesthetic reasons but your character stats are on an even plane. We also have modes where gear actually impacts your strength, which is a whole new level of strategy.

"For instance if you're Superman you're likely going to want to increase his offence, since he's a character that likes to come in close and do a ton of damage then hang back and use his special power. That's likely the type of gear you're going to want to hunt down if you play that character.

"Online we're going to look at matchmaking so players are matched like-for-like, but it will be fundamentally unbalanced at that point.

"For the hyper competitive tournaments, we want those to still be places people can show off the customisation they have earned throughout the game but they have to be level playing fields. That's essential for true fighting game aficionados."

It sounds like Injustice 2 will offer the fighting game equivalent of Destiny's Iron Banner / Crucible competitive multiplayer, where the former enables level advantage, and the latter disables it.

As for the loot itself, Goodman said it'll drop depending on how successful you are at the end of every match.

"There are events in the game where you'll be rewarded with either random loot or with a piece of specific gear. After pretty much everything you do you'll get gear drop either for the character you're playing as or another."

Of course, with the arrival of a gear system comes the expectation that NetherRealm plans a loot box system, perhaps similar to that in Blizzard's Overwatch.

And this expectation has given rise to a concern that Injustice 2 could creep over the line into pay-to-win territory. So we asked Goodman if you'll be able to spend money to get powerful gear, effectively paying to win.

"We haven't made any announcements about that, but I can say that's not part of our plan right now," was his response.

There's another reason for the addition of the Gear System: to help casual players feel like they're getting something out of competitive play.

"It's a way to elevate yourself without having to be the greatest fighting game player out there and make the game much more palatable for a casual audience as well," Goodman said.

"You may not be able to go online and beat 90 per cent of players out there but you can have the coolest-looking Batman. You can show off the fact you have put hundreds of hours into a character.

"The system is being built to provide players a way to make this game that much more engaging. We're building a way to make this game more your own, give you opportunities to play this game a number of ways and enjoy it for as long as you keep the controller in your hands."

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About the Author
Wesley Yin-Poole avatar

Wesley Yin-Poole


Wesley likes news, interviews, and more news. He also likes Street Fighter more than anyone can get him to shut up about it.

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