07 December 2015

Mortal Kombat X is Turning Into the Pop Culture Fighting Game We Deserve

Last Week a video leaked revealing a new slew of characters in the ever-expanding Mortal Kombat X roster. Among the randos were two horror icons to add to the growing line-up of pop culture badasses, Leatherface and a Xenomorph.

It's obviously exciting to play as Leatherface and whomp on already-existing Gust Kharacter Jason Voorhees, or re-enact the immortal clash between Alien and Predator that transcends all media. This places Mortal Kombat X in an interesting position though - first, it chiefly renews long-term interest in an otherwise cut and dry fighting game, but more importantly it's creating this sort of transcendent Super Smash Bros game for adults.

The whole point of Smash Bros is containing all these video game icons under one roof and see what happens when they battle each other. This has grown from a Nintendo party to expand further and further until virtually any icon, past or present could be eligible for inclusion. They have their own similar DLC expansion roll-outs that continues to generate interest in a game that could otherwise be forgotten, but it's far more novel that Mortal Kombat X finds itself in a position as a flagship for all badasses in pop culture.

I also love how they added that weird Predator laugh he does at the end.

There have been other characters released in DLC, but honestly, who is really excited for Tremor or Takeda? See, you don't even know who they are. But there's instant interest in the Predator or Jason. They fit seamlessly into Mortal Kombat's universe, probably because of the brutality inherent to horror icons, but it's also strange that they're starting to dominate the conversation. At this point it's a tipping point that's more about "When will they add Michael Myers?" rather than "Where's Cyrax?" (interestingly enough, MKX seems to be avoiding that specific problem by, for once, combing their clone characters into another DLC, Tri-Borg).

This seems like an effort to go into the realm of novelty over Klassic Kharacters, but then again, we had everyone in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, so who really cares? I'm also not sure that's a bad thing at all. But for better or worse, MKX is becoming a flagship for what March Badassness was originally trying to do. By this logic, the next natural progression is how far can the inclusion of different IPs continue?

This all started, of course, in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, which pitted a gaggle of Mortal Kombat fighters against DC Comics heroes and villains. In the 2011 edition of Mortal Kombat, Kratos from God of War and Freddy Krueger appeared, setting up the current trend of sliding in horror icons who fit well with the Kreepiness of MK's branding.

This of course isn't limited to Mortal Kombat. Darth Vader and Yoda notably appeared in Soul Calibur IV. Still, what other guest characters might find themselves in Mortal Kombat X - and when do we reach the point where we're totally only checking out the game to see how they stack up? I still don't think that's necessarily a bad thing, but I'm totally digging how MKX has become the unlikely spotlight for pop culture battles.

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