Dark clouds foreshadow rain. Similarly, the new Mortal Kombat live action video that made its way onto the web seemed to foreshadow a coming storm of new media for the almost forgotten franchise. Timing couldn’t have been better, in all honesty; just around the corner was E3, the place where video games can be re-born (or at least, given a second chance). E3 is where many fans were expecting to see something new from the Mortal Kombat franchise, having just been acquired by a new developer. It’s been a little less than a year since Midway went bankrupt and Mortal Kombat went to WB Games (now, NetherRealm).
That much time away from the spotlight can leave most properties in a stalemate, of sorts. Mortal Kombat is no exception to becoming stale, especially considering the series hasn’t been terribly relevant since the 3rd entry. The new Mortal Kombat movie on YouTube just turned out to be nothing more than a really elaborate job application for an aspiring director. However, it seemed to spring board perfectly into this; a true trailer for a truly new Mortal Kombat game, titled simply, Mortal Kombat.
The trailer, which is now available to view any time on themortalkombat.com, was released just a bit before E3 and barely a week after the live action video was abuzz on YouTube. What is shown is a phenomenal little trailer for a gorgeous looking Mortal Kombat game, easily the simplest and prettiest entry in the series in years. But, despite the earlier proclamations otherwise, to call it new is a bit of a stretch.
Let’s call it a throwback, but not in a derogatory sense, because it throws back very, very well. Based off of this short trailer, it seems obvious that Ed Boon and company are at least trying to make this game into the MK game fans have been waiting for since MK II. It’s safe to say that the games had become a bit too diluted and had strayed a bit far from what made them the classics that they are. Adding 3D environments, boats of new characters, weapons, and new stories are all well and good, but the world became too much and got too far from what MK fans had loved.
So, MK, it seems, is going back to its roots. 2D fighting, classic characters, classic environments, and classically brutal violence are all in this trailer attempting to showcase that Mortal Kombat is back. No character shown is from any game later than Mortal Kombat 3. The returning characters seem to have (for the most part) reverted back to their simpler forms, like Sub-Zero and Reptile who resemble similar looking ninjas, but not pallet swapped ones, and Kung-Lao and Raiden who have been given a modernized MKII makeover.
Environments that we see are ones that fans have been demanding, like The Pit and the Dead Pool as well as others, all given a modern sheen. But most importantly, the game seems simpler, yet deeper almost simultaneously. The games in this genre that have had the most success have been ones that anyone can pick up and play, but with layers and layers of depth to give the hardcore players new nooks and crannies to salivate over.
Mortal Kombat has never been known as a game to feature a really in-depth combat system until the later games, at which point it almost became too complex, and no longer pick up and playable. This trailer shows a game that’s in 2D, which will mean less complex controls, while at the same time showing what appears to be an intense combo system filled with crazy juggles and special moves. It would be hard to argue that Boon and the boys had taken a cue from the latest incarnations of Street Fighter and have really taken a game that had lost its luster, simplified it, and added some much needed depth.
But it’s also obvious that this game is here to please the fans, very similar to how Capcom did it with Street Fighter IV and Super Street Fighter IV. It’s hard to argue against emulating success, and harder to argue with the success of SFIV and SSFIV, which have revitalized the fighting genre and thrust it back into the mainstream. Can Mortal Kombat continue the fighting genres hot streak? Calling all you sucker’s for the old school: Whether it’s a reboot, a throwback, or what; it looks badass and it looks like Mortal Kombat is back.