Developer NetherRealm Studios has finally pulled back the curtain on their next entry in the long-running Mortal Kombat franchise--Mortal Kombat X--with a bone-breaking, head-severing new trailer. It’s a trailer filled to the brim with Scorpion-on-Sub-Zero violence, but there are several little details hidden within all the brutality that may give some extra insight into this fighting franchise’s tenth installment.
Since releasing the trailer, Mortal Kombat publisher Warner Bros. has offered up some extra tidbits about the game. As we reported, Mortal Kombat X will deliver a "cinematic" presentation with "all-new gameplay" as well as offering a significant online component involving a "persistent online contest where every fight matters in a global battle for supremacy." Players will be able to choose from multiple variations on the same character, a first for the series, as well as take part in an "original story" introducing new challengers that "represent the forces of good and evil."
New modes, new characters, and new mechanics: we already know a lot about this new Mortal Kombat, but what more can we learn from that teaser trailer? Let’s get started.
BREAKERS & X-RAY ATTACKS
These should come as no surprise, as both were present in the previous Mortal Kombat. Scorpion’s signature scorpion sting X-ray attack can be clearly seen at roughly the 1:05 mark (embed below), with upgraded visuals showing all that juicy organ trauma. Breakers also seem to have received an upgrade. In the previous Mortal Kombat, breakers interrupted an opponent’s combo and didn’t deal any damage. Both of these aspects seem to have changed in Mortal Kombat X.
All the breakers (read: counter attacks) shown in the trailer had some sort of painful-looking follow-up attack to the appropriate appendage. In addition, at around the 43 second mark, Scorpion charges Sub-Zero and gets countered. Scorpion’s attack wasn’t part of some long combo--it was just a single attack that got squashed. Could this mean Mortal Kombat is adopting a more complex counter system similar to, perhaps, the one in Dead or Alive?
STAGE BREAKING & WEAPONS
Sub-Zero uses weapons and background objects constantly in the Mortal Kombat X trailer. In order of appearance, Sub-Zero throws Scorpion through a tree to access a new part of the stage, removes a tree branch and uses it as a frozen club, performs a swinging kick using another tree branch, and finally picks up and attacks with a frozen sword that has been lying in the background (interesting to note that sword then disappears in the scenes after Sub-Zero drops it).
These sorts of background interactions and stage transitions were also present in NeatherRealm’s previous fighting game foray, Injustice, so it would make sense to find improved versions of them here. However, in Mortal Kombat X’s case, less could mean more since these sequences were far more subdued than the car-smashing, office-building-destroying environmental attacks in Injustice.
One important thing to note that wasn’t in the trailer is Warner Bros.’s comment about Mortal Kombat X being a "fully-connected experience that launches players into a persistent online contest." The fighting game landscape has changed a bit since 2011 and the days of the last Mortal Kombat. Love it or hate it, the free-to-play business model is gaining traction within the fighting genre. Bandai Namco has been running F2P experiments, with varying degrees of success, for the past few years with Tekken Revolution, SoulCalibur: Lost Swords, and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure All-Star Battle. Here in the West, Killer Instinct was designed from the ground up to be a F2P experience. It’s not too great of a stretch to imagine NetherRealm is going to use its online functionality for a little more than just some leaderboard challenges.
GIVE US SMOOTH
Free-to-play speculations aside, one thing we can all get excited about is the silky smooth fighting seen in this trailer. The Mortal Kombat series has always caught flack for feeling too robotic or--to use the parlance of our times--herky-jerky, but this trailer seems to go out of its way to demonstrate how fluid a Mortal Kombat game can be. Of course, it’s likely this trailer isn’t entirely representative of how the actual game will play, but the fact that NetherRealm wants to set the expectation in all our minds that maybe, just maybe, their next game won’t feel quite so stiff is promising.
Last, but not least, Warner Bros. has announced that Mortal Kombat X will not be a purely next-gen experience. The game is coming to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 in 2015. You can expect more information about the game to drop at this year’s E3, as well as our impression of the game from the show floor. Until then, all we have is this trailer. Was there anything we missed? Leave your thoughts, rumors, and speculations in the comments below.