Mortal Kombat X from NetherRealm Studios was showcased for Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One at E3 2014 this week. The fighting game made a brutally bloody introduction with a series of fatalities that will likely give anti-violent video game activists nightmares for months to come. It also seeks to liven up the Mortal Kombat formula with new gameplay mechanics, and the return of multiple fighting styles for characters.
The Mortal Kombat E3 2014 trailer featured staples like Sub-Zero and Scorpion, but also introduced the bug-like D’Vorah and Ferra/Torr, a duo that features a young girl riding the back of a brute like something out of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. Another new character was introduced in the form of Johnny Cage and Sonya’s daughter, Cassie Cage. That provides the first hint of a dramatic shift with Mortal Kombat X as Creative Director Ed Boon revealed during a Playstation E3 2014 livestream that NetherRealms Studios has pushed the game out 25 years after the successful 2011 reboot.
Boon also revealed several new mechanics being introduced or re-introduced to Mortal Kombat. The most controversial is likely to be the return of multiple fighting styles, this time called “Variants.” GameSpot described D’Vorah’s three Variants after going hands on with the game at E3:
I had variants that gave me access to either a close-range, poisonous spray, or a bug trap that would detonate after a few seconds. I focused on the third option, dubbed Swarm Queen, which granted me bug attacks that stunned my opponent, letting me follow up with another attack. Using that variant, I played D’Vorah as a keep-away fighter, but when I took the poison spray, for example, I had to play her much more aggressively.
Meanwhile, Polygon described Scorpion’s Variants as one that allows the Mortal Kombat ninja to summon a demon to harass opponents, a second that can fights with swords, and a third that sets himself on fire to burn his enemy. Each Variant can also change the look of the characters beyond just their stance. D’Vorah, for instance, may have her hood up or down or green ooze flowing from her veins. One Variant for Ferra/Tor sees the small girl standing on the sidelines, watching the Mortal Kombat fighters throwing down.
Multiple fighting styles were last tried in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, which only featured two while Deadly Alliance had three. Boon says that NetherRealm is working to make each Variant style unique and balanced.
As the trailer revealed, interactable objects will make the leap from Injustice: Gods Among Us to Mortal Kombat X. However, now they can only be used when the newly stamina meter below the health bar allows it. Another change is that thrown objects can now be blocked.
Another new Mortal Kombat mechanic that depends on the stamina meter is running. Players will be able to run forward or dash backwards to make for a more uptempo game.
There will likely be more changes revealed for Mortal Kombat X along with many new characters before it is released in 2015 to the PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC. What do you think of what has been introduced so far?
[Images courtesy NetherRealm Studios]
[Correction: Marvel-grade typo as we accidentally wrote “Luke Cage” instead of “Johnny Cage.]