- Ed Boon once considered having famous celebrities voice the entire playable cast of Mortal Kombat 1, but budget and availability made it infeasible.
- While celebrity voice acting in video games can be an effective marketing strategy, it can also result in mixed results, as seen with Ronda Rousey and Megan Fox’s performances in Mortal Kombat 11 and MK1.
- Despite abandoning the idea of celebrity voice actors, fans can expect famous voices like JK Simmons, Antony Starr, and John Cena to appear with Mortal Kombat 1 DLC guest fighters like Omni-Man, Homelander, and Peacemaker.
Ed Boon once considered having famous celebrities voice Mortal Kombat 1’s entire playable cast. The latest installment in NetherRealm’s infamous fighting game series is finally out after about a year of hype and speculation, with players all around the world diving into Mortal Kombat 1’s rebooted timeline and refined gameplay mechanics. So far, reviews for Mortal Kombat 1 are some of the highest the franchise has ever seen, with much praise going toward the game’s strong single-player offerings.
Part of Mortal Kombat’s appeal has always been its memorable cast of playable warriors, and this has even included a few famous faces from outside the world of gaming. WWE and UFC star Ronda Rousey voiced the iconic Sonya Blade in 2019’s Mortal Kombat 11, which also saw Arnold Schwarzenegger and Silvester Stallone reprise their famous roles as the T-800 Terminator and John Rambo. This trend is continuing in Mortal Kombat 1, as Megan Fox voices the vampiric Nitara and Jean Claude Van Damme lends his own for an alternate Johnny Cage skin modeled in his likeness.
As it turns out, Mortal Kombat 1 was originally planned to have even more involvement from Hollywood, as revealed by series co-creator Ed Boon in a recent interview with Rolling Stone. While telling the story behind Mortal Kombat 1’s Jean Claude Van Damme skin, Boon noted that he once considered having every character played by a famous actor, such as Cyberpunk 2077 star Keanu Reeves voicing Kenshi. He soon realized that this wasn’t feasible in terms of budget or availability, and he wasn’t sure if Reeves would be willing to come in to read the hundreds of lines of spoken dialogue Mortal Kombat 1 required.
While having famous Hollywood actors lend their talents to a video game is an effective form of marketing, the actual results can be rather mixed at times. Mortal Kombat has proven no different, as the aforementioned Ronda Rousey drew criticism for her performance as Sonya Blade in Mortal Kombat 11. History would repeat itself for Megan Fox’s portrayal of Nitara in Mortal Kombat 1, which fans have decried as bland and unemotional. Fox didn’t do all of Nitara’s dialogue either, with veteran voice actress Cristina Valenzuela filling in for the character’s battle grunts.
With this in mind, perhaps it’s for the best that Ed Boon abandoned his original plan to have Mortal Kombat 1’s entire cast be voiced by celebrities – even if Keanu Reeves has proven himself as a voice actor thanks to his role as Johnny Silverhand in Cyberpunk 2077. While Reeves didn’t appear as Mortal Kombat 1’s Kenshi, fans can expect to hear the famous voices of JK Simmons, Antony Starr, and John Cena as Mortal Kombat 1 guest fighters Omni-Man, Homelander, and Peacemaker in the future.
Mortal Kombat 1 is available now for PC, PS5, Switch, and Xbox Series X/S.
Source: Rolling Stone