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Returning Champions: Our Hopes and Fears For Mortal Kombat 11

Raiden in Mortal Kombat 11

When the new trailer for the upcoming Mortal Kombat 11 premiered at the 2018 Game Awards, fans of the series both new and old let out a collective cheer as vamped up versions of Raiden and Scorpion made their appearance in a ruined courtyard from MK9. As they engaged in combat, bones crunched, spears flew, and blood splattered like paint on a canvass. Though the atmosphere was darker and grittier than most entries in the series, the fighters and violence were still as over the top as they ever were. As MK2 Scorpion made his toasty entrance, our socks were officially rocked and knocked off. We were ready to step into the arena once more to engage in another round of Mortal Kombat.

We'll say this, the trailer looks good and shows a lot of promise in terms of concept and story for the next entry in the popular series. Looks can be deceiving, after all. But that still doesn't dampen our dreams at an awesome tournament fighter coming to our consoles this year. A lot can happen between today and the launch date in April. We're certainly dreaming of something smashing for Scorpion, Sub-Zero, and all the gang in their newest installment. That all being said, we're still a bit wary at the possibility of failure, even with a series as popular as Mortal Kombat. There's always the possibility of pitfalls. A lot can go right and a lot can go wrong, but we're hoping for the best. Here are our 20 hopes and fears for MK11.

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20 FEAR: IT'S ONLY A STEP UP FROM MKX

Granted, this wouldn't be the worst thing to happen. An improvement is an improvement, after all, progress always progresses. That's fine, but if that truly is the case, why go all out in the reveal? It sure seems like a waste of animation to us.

As with all our favorite games, we want to see the material grow and expand. We want to see improvements on what made the previous game fun in the first place, not just updated graphics and new characters. Simply put, we want a step in the right direction. Give us new combos, new finishers, new ways to play. Improve where improvements can be made.

19 HOPE: MORE HORROR CHARACTERS

Who knew characters like Freddy, Jason, and Leatherface would be so at home in a Mortal Kombat game? Alright, you might have seen this one coming, but it's pretty obvious. It was more than fun to slice up your opponents as Jason, blast them to bits with the Predator, and show them the saw as Leatherface. Can you blame us for wanting more?

We'd love to see characters like Michael Myers, Pinhead, and Pennywise take on Scorpion, Sub-Zero, and Reptile in the heat of gorgeous gory combat. Think of the potential for horror-fueled and bloodsoaked fun to be had at the hands of these monsters and maniacs. We think it'd be a real scream.

18 FEAR: EXCESS DLC

DLC is fine, we don't mind a little something extra here and there. What we do mind is pack after pack after pack of content that should've been in the game in the first place. Downloadable characters are forgivable, but things like costumes, stages, and finishing moves should stay away from the markets and stay in the source.

A good chunk of MKX's character list consisted of DLC only characters like Jason, Alien, and Goro. It was more than a bit groan-inducing to have to pay for a fuller character roster, but that's the route it went. Hopefully, the game developers will have learned from this and try to limit the DLC options.

17 HOPE: THE RETURN OF TAG TOURNAMENT

One mode noticeably missing from MKX was the tag-team tournament mode. Many gamers, ourselves included, loved having a good old fashioned two on two tag match to make the fighting last. Two heads are better than one, and the same can be said about martial arts masters from different dimensions duking it out.

We don't know why this was omitted from MKX, but it certainly would have made for some interesting gaming sessions. We want this mode to make a triumphant return so we can continue doubling up the brawls, brutal secret moves, and, of course, double the Fatality fun. Here's hoping to an improved version or simply just a return to form in MK11.

16 FEAR: SLUGGISH OR SLOWER COMBAT

Scorpion Mortal Kombat 11 header

One of the biggest things that MKX had going for it was how fast and furious the combat was in the game. It was like something out of a classic kung fu movie. Rapid releases of combos blowing on an opponent were nothing short of satisfying. Our fear here is that the new game will stray from this delightful aesthetic.

It's almost a proven fact that when it comes to fighting games, the faster route is typically the most successful. Look at the Street Fighter: Turbo entries, Capcom got it right and have been leading by example since the '90s. We want this to continue for Mortal Kombat, but there's always the possibility of things hitting an unwanted speedbump.

15 HOPE: CRUNCHIER X-RAY MOVES

Jade in Mortal Kombat

Ooh, that's gotta hurt... How many times have we uttered something similar to that as we get trounced by a hard-hitting x-ray move in either one of the previous two Mortal Kombat games? Introduced in MK9, these special abilities are pleasantly cringe-worthy and drive home the gore-factor all the more perfectly.

We want to see more of these moves as the series improves. They've become a welcome addition to the Mortal Kombat formula, and there is always the potential for more bone-shattering, skull-crunching, rib-cracking, and spine-breaking moves to be added to the combo list. The messier the better we say.

14 FEAR: TOO MUCH SHOW NOT ENOUGH SUBSTANCE

We reiterate what we've mentioned before, just because a game looks good, it doesn't promise to be good. You can up the graphics, the gore, the appearance, and the features all you want, but if the gameplay isn't on point, it doesn't matter what it looks like. The last thing the game needs to do is go the way of Battlefront and Andromeda. 

Don't get us wrong, the game needs to look great. But it also needs to have fluid controls, options for multiple play-styles, replay value, and, above all, it needs to be fun. Bells and whistles are great, but they don't make the game. If there's not enough enjoyment to back the visage up, the game is going to bomb.

13 HOPE: MORE RIDICULOUS FATALITIES

We love our gory finishing moves, everything from spines ripping to bare-handed decapitations is always a plus for any finishing move in this gut-wrenching series. But what makes fans keep coming back is how ridiculous and at times laughable these Fatalities can get. The worst thing a fighting game like Mortal Kombat could do is take itself too seriously.

We want to see goofier gorier fun in our finishing moves. The more over-the-top a fatality is the better. We want cyborgs with meat grinders, Johnny Cage beating someone with an Academy Award, and a certain skeleton ninja setting someone ablaze. We encourage the developers to give us Fatalities that make us both laugh and cringe.

12 FEAR: UNDERWHELMING ROSTER

One of the biggest problems that Mortal Kombat X had when first released was the noticeably smaller character roster, not including the DLC characters. Compared to the previous entry, the number of Kombatants is lacking. With such a massive cast list of the Mortal Kombat universe, how can you not take advantage of that?

With Elder Gods, special agents, cyborgs, and a rainbow of different ninjas, there are more than enough fighters to play with. Why cut back on such a varied roster? We're not asking for anything ginormous, just something along the lines of MK9.

11 HOPE: ANIMALITIES, BABALITIES, AND FRIENDSHIPS

The new entry to the Mortal Kombat series has the potential to bring back so many wonderful additions from games past to be enjoyed by a new generation of players. Everyone loves a good and gory Fatality, but what about the lighter side of things with Animalities, Babalities, and Friendships? They were fun in the pixel-age, but think of the possibilities with 3-D Graphics.

Though the Babalities did get a return for MK9, we want to see the whole nine yards with the Animalities and Friendships added as well. Seeing your favorite Kombatant shift into a giant beast or offer an act of friendship to a defeated opponent in the new title would be truly rich. Here's hoping for some glee along with the gore-fest.

10 FEAR: LOSS OF POPULAR CHARACTERS

This is something that upset quite a few fans, ourselves included, in MKX. We're glad to welcome new fighters to the fray, but we're not exactly happy with replacing some of our favorites. Where was Kabal? What about Nightwolf? Where were Jade, Stryker, and Rain? One word, readers: replaced.

Yes, we know about the revenants in the storyline of MKX, but we still would have liked them on the list. With the altered timeline direction the trailer is possibly hinting at, it could mean a return for some other series favorites. The roster is already impressive, but some characters are more impressive than others.

9 HOPE: MORE INTERACTIVE BACKGROUNDS

Raiden in Mortal Kombat 11

The series took a turn for the better with the introduction of interactive stages. Taking a cue from the Injustice series, MKX introduced some weaponized stages that just made the combat all that more satisfying. Though it took a note from their DC universe outing, the various elements of the stages maintained Mortal Kombat's deadly and distinct identity.

We want to see more of these, but not just as a feature. We want more bone-crunching objects like the tree branch or the lead pipes. We want to throw more background characters, splash more fire pots, and bash our opponent with various decor. Anything that can give us that satisfying beatdown.

8 FEAR: CONFUSING OR OVERLY COMPLEX STORY

MKX's story was a bit of a mixed bag. It's trying to keep the continuity of the previous entry, but at the same time, it's trying to be gritty and realistic. This is the same game where you can set your opponent on fire and rip out their skulls, right?

A game like Mortal Kombat doesn't need to be dark and gritty. If anything it needs to be over-the-top and at times comedically violent. We're looking at you, Johnny Cage. This is a world where ninjas, lizardmen, and cyborgs all exist, don't try to make things too realistic by making it overly edgy.

7 HOPE: MORE STAGE FATALITIES

One of the coolest things you could ever do in the original Mortal Kombat series was to send your opponent to their demise by launching them out of the background. Watching them fall on the spikes of the Pit, burn in the flames of the Netherworld, or melt away in an acidic lake proves there's a little masochist in every gamer.

In MK9, there were eight different Stage Fatalities. Compare that to the measly three in MKX, that's some pretty weak sauce. We're hoping for at least five more arenas with the Stage Fatality option, or better yet, they should all have one. There were plenty of missed opportunities with both the previous two games, MK11 could make up for the shortcomings.

6 FEAR: MICROTRANSACTIONS

Sub-Zero Mortal Kombat X

Nothing irks a gamer more than microtransactions, and many games and game developers nowadays are guilty of this gnarly act. MKX had a few, but they weren't mandatory features. We strongly advise the developers to stay away from this quick cash grab. Things like skins and extra characters are forgivable but don't make us pay for Fatalities or stages.

Microtransactions are an easy way to hurt your game and your brand. Mortal Kombat should be a classic arcade fighter, not something that nickles and dimes you out of your good time. We want to fight and test our might, not our wallets.

5 HOPE: MORE KLASSICS

Everybody likes a throwback, right? Scorpion and Sub-Zero don't need the suped-up ninja outfits, they just need to be ninjas. Even in their old-school outfits, the cast of Mortal Kombat can still kick major butt and melt all kinds of faces, literally. We love seeing the Klassic outfits and Fatalities make a triumphant return, but maybe this time there'll be more to go around.

We love seeing Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Reptile, Mileena, and Kitana in their gear from games past, and we hope to see more. Since Scorpion's MK2 form was presented in the new teaser, perhaps that means there'll be more on the way. With the rise in popularity for '90s nostalgia, its time to bring these looks back.

4 FEAR: NOT ENOUGH/TOO MUCH NEW CONTENT

We'd love to see the franchise take new steps and see what they can do, but we don't want them straying too far away from what made them great in the first place. We want to see the infamous fighting series push the boundaries farther with its madness and mayhem, show us something different and deranged.

Too many changes to a popular series can be a big mistake. Mario might race go-karts and play tennis, but at the end of the day, he's still a plumber after a princess. Same logic with Mortal Kombat, we want to see newer and messier fatalities, but we still want that same action that keeps us coming back.

3 HOPE: RETURN OF FAMILIAR FACES

We've stated before how a number of characters were absent from the most recent entry to the series. Ergo, we'd like to see a return to form with some of the classic characters seen in previous games. With a recent reveal of Shao-Khan, we hope this is a sign of familiar faces to come, but its anyone's game so far.

We miss our friends from MK9, plain and simple. Not that we don't enjoy Ferra/Torr, Aaron Black, and Kung Jin, but they're just no substitute for our old friends. Hopefully, MK11's character roster is large enough to accommodate the return of some classic Kombatants.

2 FEAR: TAKING TOO MUCH FROM INJUSTICE

Netherrealm did well with both Mortal Kombat and Injustice, we applaud them greatly for their work on these two fine fighting games. But there's certainly more than a few similarities between the games. From the hard-hitting combat to the environmental hazards, Injustice was just Mortal Kombat with more violence and fewer superheroes. Immitation is the most sincere form of flattery, but don't overdo it.

We're not asking for much, we do like what shared elements there are, but we do want things to stay original. The last thing we need is for Batman to suddenly show up, we saw how well that went before. If we want to play Injustice we'll play Injustice. Give us what you're advertising, that's all.

1 HOPE: TAKE THE ULTIMATE MK3 APPROACH

When MK3 was first released, mistakes were made. It lost several popular characters like Scorpion, added too many new characters, moves, and other bits it kinda took a step back from what it should have been. Thankfully, it was reborn as Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 and soon became the bar for many fighting games afterword. Perhaps this is the direction the new game should take?

We'd love to see what new and gory surprises await us in MK11, but we'd also like to see a return to form. We want the classic characters back, we want the developers to improve the good to make it great. It doesn't need to be insanely complex, just a continuation of what was great to begin with.

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