PLEASE NOTE: This article contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Mortal Kombat 1.For years now, one of the biggest things that has separated the Mortal Kombat franchise from its competitors is its dedicated story mode. While many fighting games have included a story mode, they often feel rushed, half-baked, and as though they were a complete afterthought. Mortal Kombat, however, has always put a strong emphasis on story, and Mortal Kombat 1 takes that to the next level.

Potentially the best story mode of the entire franchise, Mortal Kombat 1‘s own campaign isn’t overly long – coming in at about 5-6 hours – but it packs a huge punch. Revolving around Liu Kang’s new universe, Mortal Kombat 1‘s story mode has plenty of twists and turns, but it remains fairly grounded – that is, up until the final act. And in that final act, NetherRealm might be planting the seeds of the next big Mortal Kombat gameplay gimmick.

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The Next Mortal Kombat Could Have Mix-Matched Fighters

Mortal Kombat 1 Stung Lao

Mortal Kombat 1‘s story mode is zany from the get-go as far as video game plots go, but in relation to previous MK titles, it’s pretty grounded. In Liu Kang’s new universe, peace has reigned for eons, and each realm stays in its place, being kept at bay with a less lethal version of the Mortal Kombat tournament. However, there are mysterious plans afoot that could jeopardize Liu Kang’s new universe, and those plans involve a ton of alternate dimensions invading one another.

The entire final act of Mortal Kombat 1‘s story mode throws any form of grounded storytelling firmly to one side, and instead decides to embrace a bombastic tone more fitting of the average MCU blockbuster. In a final battle that sees players try to stop a multiversal war, they’ll face off against a variety of alternate universe versions of iconic Mortal Kombat characters. But there’s a big twist. With these characters coming from different dimensions and timelines, they’re not just the standard versions, but instead mix-matched iterations, combining two characters into one.

Players will face off against a horde of mix-matched fighters, ranging from Kung Lao mixed with Scoprion, to Geras mixed with Reptile, to Sonya Blade mixed with Kano. Along with fun tongue-in-cheek names, these mix-matched fighters also have the movesets of both their respective characters, with Stung Lao being able to throw his razor-sharp hat and throw out a rope and spear. While this is simply just a fun way to end a fighting game like Mortal Kombat 1, there could be more to this sequence than meets the eye.

Each Mortal Kombat game brings its own unique gimmick to the table. Whether it’s Mortal Kombat 2011’s X-Ray move, Mortal Kombat 11‘s gear system, or Mortal Kombat 1‘s own Kameo Fighter mechanic, each of NetherRealm’s MK entries brings something new for fans to experiment with. Perhaps the next gimmick is already being teased in Mortal Kombat 1‘s final battle. A big aspect of Mortal Kombat 1‘s Kameo Fighters is that they encourage experimentation with the rest of the game’s roster, challenging players to find a Kameo that best suits not only the character they choose, but their own personal playstyle.

A natural progression of this concept would be giving players the opportunity to mix and match each playable fighter, combining movesets and special abilities to vastly increase the type of combos they can pull off. Though Mortal Kombat: Armageddon had a Kreate a Fighter mechanic, it was fairly limited, only allowing players to mix and match one type of each special move. This gimmick would have the potential to be much more in-depth than that.

Mortal Kombat 1 is available for PC, PS5, Switch, and Xbox Series S/X.

MORE: Mortal Kombat 1 DLC Wish List

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By asm3a