Mortal Kombat – X Marks the Spot?

Over the past month, Ed Boon has been posting a countdown on Twitter, with “zero hour” coming today. At 8 AM, he made his big announcement.

Shortly afterwards, the first teaser trailer for Mortal Kombat X was unveiled.

At first thought… well, I’m not sure what to think.

The trailer itself gives a good indication of what we can expect, gameplay-wise, with moves and attacks similar to what we saw in Mortal Kombat (2011), but with new features like using the environment against your opponent. The character designs are pretty respectable as well; for example Sub-Zero looking like he pretty much always does, with the added feature of his eyes glowing ice-blue. Scorpion looks more like the design used in Injustice: Gods Among Us, with his mask harkening back to the plain yellow face-covering used in the old games, and the hood being looser and not as form-fitting.

However, for me, the teaser is nowhere near as comprehensive as the teaser for the last game. For example, we still don’t know what the plotline is; while chances are the game will start at the new timeline’s version of Mortal Kombat 4, there’s no hint of Quan Chi, Shinnok (the Big Bad of Mortal Kombat 4), or indeed anything from the last game. In fact, the teaser raises an interesting storyline question. In the previous game, the older Sub-Zero was killed and transformed into the specter Noob Saibot. The younger Sub-Zero was transformed into a cyborg, and died at the hands of Sindel; his soul is now enslaved by Quan Chi, but retains the cyborg appearance. Was he given a new body, and if so, why is he fighting Scorpion (who also serves Quan Chi)? Could this be a brand new Sub-Zero?

Also, is the X in Mortal Kombat X a reference to the letter or the Roman numeral?

EDIT: Patrick McCarron of TRMK just pointed out to me that it’s the latter.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m really interested in the game, as while Mortal Kombat 4 was my least favorite of the arcade titles, I also thought it had a lot of storyline potential. Hpwever, unlike the other games in the series, we’ve never had a really good look at how the events of Mortal Kombat 4 played out. While some of the endings were concise and were quickly shown to be canon (Raiden becoming an Elder God, Scorpion learning Quan Chi killed his family), some were so vague that it took a couple of games before anyone understood what the hell was going on (I’m looking at you, Johnny Cage and Reiko). Some more clarity into what happened would be welcome, even with the game being part of a drastically altered timeline.

I’m also hoping that Shinnok gets much more development this time around; while he’s supposed to be one of the most powerful adversaries in the series (stronger than either Raiden or Shao Kahn), his appearance in Mortal Kombat 4 was not handled very well. He was almost “Diet Shang Tsung”, as he had no moves of his own and copied the moves (but not appearance) of other characters. Hopefully, in this game, we’ll see something more akin to his Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero implementation: a very powerful character that transforms into a demon larger than Goro or Kintaro when provoked enough.

The other big observation I made is that if the graphics of the teaser are an indication of the game itself, we should not expect it to come out on Xbox 360 or Playstation 3. It makes sense, as WB Games has already started the push to exclusively next-generation with Batman: Arkham Knight. I doubt we’ll see a PC version of Mortal Kombat X come out at the same time as the console versions, which means for me personally that unless I get an Xbox One or a Playstation 4, I won’t be getting the game at launch. EDIT: As my friend Matt pointed out on IRC, the official site has it listed as coming out for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. I guess I don’t have to wait for the PC version or a new console after all. :-)

As it stands, this is only a glimpse of what is to come; it’ll be another year before the game itself is released. Until then, I’m going to wait and see; hopefully it meets my expectations, and hopefully I’ll be able to play it on launch.