Does Mortal Kombat need another reboot?

Over the course of its history, the famous Mortal Kombat series of fighting games has undergone many changes. The appearance, character stories, and gameplay changed. Even the world itself was rebooted. The upcoming Mortal Kombat 1 is threatening another reboot. But is it needed?

Does Mortal Kombat need another reboot?

Love until you bleed

Mortal Kombat is a series of fighting games where the player must brutally beat the opponent to win. Enemies can be both living people and artificial intelligence. Moreover, the battle with dummies is designed in the form of a tower: the selected character defeats one enemy after another until he encounters the final boss.

For self-harm, the player was provided with an impressive cast of characters. Among them there are people, colorful ninjas, colorful women, robots and monsters with demons of all stripes. The characters have prototypes: Johnny Cage is a parody of Van Damme; Kung Lao’s cutting hat is a reference to James Bond. Famous fighters from other universes also penetrated into the games of the series: Kratos from God of War, Terminator and RoboCop from the cult action films of the 80s, or Freddy Krueger from Elm Street.

Love until you bleed

First of all, games are famous for their cruelty. At the time of the release of the first part, open demonstration of violence in games was considered rebellious, and few developers dared to add such things. Mortal Kombat, on the other hand, relished the process of self-mutilation: regular blows caused fighters to fly out of blood, enemies were burned, frozen, or used the environment – impaling an enemy on stakes or dipping them into acid was allowed if the player knew the right combination.

Fatalities became the calling card of the game. When the enemy’s health dropped to zero, the opportunity arose to brutally finish him off. Depending on the chosen character, the set of fatalities also changed: the poor enemy’s spine was torn out, burned alive, and beaten to death with his own severed leg. Over time, the following features were added: like turning into an animal for finishing off – Animality; brutal killing with a technique – Brutality; They suggested ending the fight with friendship – with the help of Friendship. In the ninth part, special techniques appeared that showed breaking bones during battle – X-ray.

Such cruelty has aroused those who like to blame games for all their sins. Because of Mortal Kombat, the ESRB was created, a non-governmental organization that assigns ratings for games. The fight against violence led to the emergence of several versions of games – censorship either removed the blood or changed the blood to sweat. Fatality was performed by touching the enemy in different places, after which he fell dead. Apparently out of embarrassment.

The games in the series are not limited to fights alone. They also have mini-games like breaking objects, or walking through the crypt to open additional content. In it, the player was periodically frightened by a monster or environment.

Mortal Kombat has always been loved for its good sound. There are iconic lines here, like Scorpio’s “Get over here” when he harpoons an enemy. If you beat the enemy well, the player will hear the famous “Toasty!” Well, the title theme of the game makes your blood boil and sets you up for ultra-violence.

All this ensured Mortal Kombat’s popularity, which continues to this day. This allowed the game to move from slot machines to consoles and PCs, acquiring a dozen sequels. They even made comics and films based on the universe.

Temporary mess

In the first games, the events that take place are easy to describe: fighters from Outworld fight with the champions of Earth in a Mortal Kombat for the right to dominate the losers. The plot had nuances and the characters had rich backstories, but this did not distract the player from the gameplay.

Over time, the number of fighters only increased. Many naturally died, but were resurrected or turned into zombies. The final bosses also changed – a new one took the place of the previous boss, and each one turned out to be stronger and angrier. But that’s just for the plot. No one has been able to surpass the charisma, significance and design of Shao Kahn, who first appeared in the second part. He also commented on the events in the arena.

In the ninth part, the universe was completely rebooted. Raiden, the god of lightning and thunder and protector of the Earth, sent a message to his past self to prevent a terrible future from occurring. After this, attention concentrates on the past. Events are revealed through numerous videos and are replete with plot twists. At the end, some of the characters are killed, ending the game with the potential for a sequel – and thereby completely restarting the Mortal Kombat timeline.

Raiden, the god of lightning and thunder and protector

The next two games cancel the achievements of the ninth part. The focus is on new fighters, but then Netherrealm resurrects dead characters. In Mortal Kombat 11, a bald and scary goddess of time named Chronicle appears – she commands time and space, and is able to change the world at will.

After Kronika appears, events lose all meaning. Deceased characters come back to life at the snap of a finger, coming from another time. Young and old versions of famous heroes appear in one place. The fight for survival turns into a clash with the titans. It turns out that the world is inhabited by creatures of Lovecraftian proportions. And the fighter who defeats Kronika can change the world at the request of his left heel.

The developers didn’t have the talent or skill to turn what was happening into something meaningful. The result is chaos, in which there is a minimum of logic and nothing matters.

Metamorphoses series

Over the course of its existence, Mortal Kombat has undergone a ton of stylistic changes. Early games in the series captivated players with realistic sprites made from digitized movements of live actors.

Mortal Kombat 4 surprised us with its 3D graphics. At the time of its release, in 1997, it was truly impressive. The transition to three-dimensional space made it possible to view fights from new angles and rotate the camera in three-dimensional arenas.

Developers NetherRealms Studios continued to experiment with Mortal Kombat characters and mechanics. Over time, their number began to go off scale, and the series came to a standstill. Among the released games, only Mortal Kombat VS DC Universe stood out clearly. And that’s because the maniacs from “Mortal Kombat” were allowed to fight famous heroes like Batman or Superman.

The release of Mortal Kombat 9 in 2011 came as a bolt from the blue. Players were amazed by the next-gen 3D graphics for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, even though the battles were held in a 2D plane, which returned the game to its roots. The ninth part also focused on history: if you played through the campaign, staged story videos were shown before the battles. They revealed the character of many heroes and the events taking place. The open costumes with the curvaceous figures of the female characters were also pleasing. The truth is that the developers overdid it and made the appearance of the Mortal Kombat participants too provocative.

But over-sexualization is still better than no sexualization in future installments. In Mortal Kombat 10 and 11, female characters had clothing covering their entire bodies. And their forms were mercilessly reduced.

By this point, the omnipresent message had reached the game. Under her pressure, the “OK” symbol, which was offensive to those who like to be offended, was removed. For the same reason, the personality of Jax, one of the canonical characters of the series, was reduced to his skin color: in the ending of the arcade mode, he abolished slavery in the past, and created a paradise for black people. This goes against the logic of the Jax players knew and his character as a character. And such changes affected almost all the heroes to make them more inclusive.


If you look at the next reboot of the Mortal Kombat 1 universe from a plot point of view, then this is a good idea. Mortal Kombat was made too big, with too much story and character development. What is happening definitely needs to be streamlined. If we do not move away from inclusivity and the “agenda”, then at least we will return to the roots: open suits for women, more cruelty and a battle between worlds – such a reboot seems to suit all fans! 

In terms of gameplay, Netherrealm is much simpler. Although Mortal Kombat 11 had problems with balance (judging at the esports level), I would like to believe that they will be corrected in the restart. One of the best people to take an example from is Capcom – making controls easier for beginners would look appropriate in the most popular fighting game. 

by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

Leave a Comment