It may come as a shock to Mortal Kombat fans to hear that creator Ed Boon has recently referred to the latest installment, Armageddon, as the end of the series. But luckily he's talking about the series in only its current state; we can assume Mortal Kombat will evolve in some significant way as it moves to next-gen platforms. At any rate, we've just gotten a good look at Armageddon, and the game is so chock-full of fighters and features that at least the MK of old is going to go out with a serious bang.
Probably the most exciting thing about Armageddon is that just about every character from every installment in the entire series is going to be in there, and that's a whole bunch of characters. If you need to put a number on it, it's around 60. Get ready to bust out your old and underrepresented favorites for the first time in years. Kano? Check. Sektor? Check. Kurtis "Bleeping" Stryker? You bet your derriere. It's going to be good times.
From what we can tell, the fighting system in Armageddon is going to be pretty similar to that of Deadly Alliance and Deception, with weapon fighting and multiple styles for each character. Boon did note that a new parry system will be introduced, whereby you can deflect your opponent's incoming attack with precision timing, which will then leave them open for you to start your own combo. The designers also plan to emphasize aerial fighting more than in past installments, so you'll see a lot of air intercepts and throws and moves of that nature, based on what we saw during Boon's presentation.
Aside from the overwhelming roster and the updated fighting engine, Midway will make significant improvements and additions to several other areas of the game. The fatality system has been reworked somewhat, so that you can now string together moves to essentially make fatality combos. You've still got only a limited amount of time to input a finisher, and you can basically do as many fatalities as you're good enough to pull off in the allotted time. In the example we saw, a character pulled out his foe's heart, then the brain, then finally ripped his head off, all in quick succession. If you can recognize this as the sort of cartoon violence that it is, the effect is actually pretty comical, and we're looking forward to seeing what kind of ludicrous fatality chains we can come up with.
The konquest mode will also receive a lot of attention. This adventurelike mode's world will expand, for one thing, and as in the last game, you'll be controlling a unique character here that you can then unlock and take into the fighting portion. The biggest addition to konquest, though, is that you'll do all your fighting right in the exploration mode, whereas in the previous game you dropped into the fighting-game engine to take on opponents. Furthermore, you'll now be facing off against multiple opponents at once, so we'll be interested to see how well the MK fighting system translates into a brawler-style setting.
Finally, Armageddon will include a feature long missing from the series: create-a-fighter. Of course, you'll get to extensively customize your character's appearance, from physical attributes to clothing and all sorts of accessories. But then comes the important part: crafting your fighting style. You'll get to build and name your new character's styles and even put together your own combos from a wide assortment of attacks and maneuvers. The biggest test of your created character, of course, will be to take him or her online and go up against other players' own characters for a battle of supremacy.
Speaking of online multiplayer, Armageddon will have it! But, uh, that's about all we know at this point--Midway wasn't talking any specifics about improved online play at its press event, though materials for the game indicate it will have "deeper customizing" and "expanded lobby options." Regardless, this ought to be the most value-packed Mortal Kombat package since MK Trilogy. But hopefully this one will be a lot better than that. Stay tuned for more information on Mortal Kombat: Armageddon in the coming months.