Video Game: Mortal Kombat X

"We thought the long nightmare was over. But it turns out that Shinnok had been manipulating events: Shao Kahn's invasion... His death... All part of Shinnok's plan to escape the Netherrealm, and resume his war on the Elder Gods."
Johnny Cage, story mode opening

Mortal Kombat X is the tenth official Fighting Game entry in the Mortal Kombat franchise. It was released on April 14, 2015, for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, and is scheduled to be released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in June 2015. It's set after the events of Mortal Kombat 9, and spans the course of 25 years continuing the Continuity Reboot from that game. Telling the story of what went on after Shao Kahn's defeat and the fallout of it in Outworld and how it affects both the Netherrelam and the Earth with newer warriors fighting for the sake of their dimensions.

The confirmed roster consists of:

At its core, Mortal Kombat X retains the gameplay mechanics featured in the 2011 game, being a 2D fighter with a super bar that allows for enhanced special moves, Combo Breakers, and X-Ray Moves. Additions to the formula this time around include interactive stage elements—used for both offense and mobility—in the vein of NetherRealm Studios' previous title and three variations per character, each style granting different attributes and abilities in battle, reminiscent of Samurai Shodown's Slash/Bust system, or the "isms" in Street Fighter Alpha 3 or the Groove System in Capcom vs. SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium 2001.

Beginning in January of 2015, DC published a weekly digital comic of the same name, which is set during the 25-year time gap between Mortal Kombat 9 and MKX.

Warning: Unmarked spoilers for Mortal Kombat 9 past this point. Read at your own risk.


This game shows examples of:

  • 0% Approval Rating: A significant amount of pre-match dialogue with Mileena has the opposing fighter point out how much Outworld does not want her rule.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • Both of Scorpion's fatalities imply that the opponent is still alive, at least for a few minutes. In his first, the larynx can be seen trying to scream while the second is a recreation of the original trailer where the opponent's head can be seen twitching and blinking.
    • Shinnok has this view of being imprisoned in his own amulet, and he intends to return the favor to the one responsible. He fails and ends up suffering an even worse case once he's at the mercy of a newly dark Raiden. Raiden uses Shinnok's severed head, clearly still alive and in agony, to make his point about not playing nice anymore.
  • Artistic License Biology: Sort of a given for the series, but Scorpion's face-slicer fatality deserves special mention. He cuts off the victim's face, they fall over, and their brain slides out. Right, because it's not like there's a brain stem or anything in there to keep that thing in.
  • Artistic License Gun Safety: Erron Black, an expert, old-west-style marksman, breaks every gun safety rule in the book, and looks damn cool doing so. He twirls them on his fingers, KICKS the hammer to load the next shot during some of his moves, and is overall far fancier than necessary as a gunslinger, much less a gunslinger from a time known for the horrid inaccuracy and impracticality of its firearms (compared to modern-day weapons).
  • Bait and Switch: When you defeat Shinnok in the Arcade Ladder, the hit spark from the final blow and dramatic slow-down indicate, much like in the previous game, that you've won. Then Shinnok absorbs power from the Jinsei and goes One-Winged Angel.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: The X-Ray moves show the characters portrayed this way, continuing the trend from 9.
    • An exception is for Cassie Cage's X-Ray which shows fully swinging animated testicles for her to burst. The women get a cameltoe instead.
  • Beat Still, My Heart: Kotal Kahn's Fatality involves cutting through his opponent's chest and ripping out the heart. He then squeezes the blood from it into his mouth.
  • Blatant Item Placement: Many arenas have stuff that the fighters can pick up and use as weapons, such as Shao Kahn's Wrath Hammer in Quan Chi's Fortress, branches in the Dead Woods, barrels in the Kove, and so on.
  • Bloodier and Gorier:
    • Even more than 9, which had already set the bar high for the franchise itself. The Fatalities in particular.
    • Inverted with the damage to player's bodies during a match. Although it could be an attempt to more realistically depict damage during a fight compared to Mortal Kombat 9 (where characters could wind up looking like they've been in a car accident after a match), it's still notably turned down here.
  • The Cameo: Several in the endings:
  • C-List Fodder: A general Rule of Thumb is that characters from Mortal Kombat games after 4 are typically killed, if not already dead, both to show how different this new timeline is and as a Take That, Scrappy!. Exceptions are Kenshi, who starts off as one of Earthrealm's only three heroes and goes on to have a child; Tremor who finally debuts as a proper playable character; Li Mei, who cameos as a non-kombatant; and Frost who is unplayable but survives the story. Averted for Taegon and Daegon who's story mostly takes place as it did in the last timeline, in Kenshi and Takaeda's endings.
  • Combo Breaker: Like in 9, works by using two bars.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Some Fatalities have the winner treat the loser's body in funny and awful ways. It's not very surprising coming from Cassie Cage or Johnny Cage, but Jax can turn his opponent's head into an ashtray.
  • Continuity Nod: Check the page.
  • Creator Cameo: Ed Boon makes a cameo in Cassie Cage's "Selfie" Fatality, under the screen name "Noobde", which is also the name of his real-life Twitter account. Dan Forden also cameos under the handle "DN4DN", with his comment being, of course, "TOASTY!"
  • Darker and Edgier: The game takes place in an After the End setting, long after many of the heroes of the previous game have died. In a literal sense, the game's palette is a lot darker and less colorful than before, with extra emphasis being placed on the blood and gore that occurs in a fight.
    • Several stages lend credence to this: the Destroyed City level shows, well, a completely destroyed city, with crumbling buildings, abandoned vehicles, and even a crashed airplane in the background. Meanwhile, the Refugee Kamp, set in the titular area from Earthrealm, wouldn't be too out of place in a warzone. The comics also indicate that similar scenarios are taking place in Outworld, with the civil war tearing it apart.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The stoic Erron Black is perhaps the best example in the entire game, based on pre-fight dialogue (see his folder on the quotes page for more).
    Jacqui Briggs: I really don't like you.
    Erron Black: I really don't care.

    Kotal Kahn: You challenge me?!
    Erron Black: That seems to be the case.

    Raiden: You would oppose a god?
    Erron Black: If the money were good enough.
  • Depending on the Artist: Kharacters like D'Vorah and Reptile have odd-coloured blood in the game, but not in the comics.
  • Dialogue Tree: Similar to some other fighting games, the dialogues prior to a fight are unique for each matchup and the characters talk back and forth to each other, as the Quotes page shows. They always follow the same structure: quip-retort-rejoinder. Unless, of course, if Jason is involved.
  • Double Meaning Title: According to Ed Boon, the "X" in Mortal Kombat X refers to the Roman numeral (this being the tenth entry in the main series) and "next", in both the sense of the game's availability on next generation consoles and, as one of the time periods shown in the story is set in the future, the next generation of kombatants.
  • Easter Egg: The "Emperor's Courtyard" stage has various workers going about their business, remaining utterly indifferent to the carnage neabry. If Kotal Kahn is in the match however and moves near one of said workers, they will notice him and bow before him.
  • Everybody Lives: The Multiplayer takes place in an Alternate Universe in which everybody survived Story Mode. A few key differences seperate the universes otherwise. Notably, Scorpion never reconciles with Sub-Zero, Liu Kang is much less resentful towards Raiden, Goro still has his arms, and most of the revenants have been returned to life. Moloch is still dead though.
  • Eye Scream: Once again, several X-Ray moves involve the recipient having their skull stabbed or smashed in the eye area.
  • Fastball Special: Unless the Lackey variation is chosen, Torr uses Ferra as a projectile in some attacks.
  • Finishing Move: Aside from Fatalities, Brutalities have been confirmed. They're done when the opponent is at critical health and are alternate, succinct Fatalities rather than the brutal beatdowns from UMK3 or the dismemberments from Armageddon.
  • Food Fight: In Outworld Marketplace stage, the wares from the vendor stands can be picked up and used in order to damage the enemy.
  • Funny Background Event: A few arenas have some (most can be better described as weird than "funny"). Examples:
    • In Quan Chi's Fortress, an incomplete flesh construct periodically rises in the pool of blood behind the two combatants (who are completely oblivious to it).
    • Wolves can be seen running through the fog in the background in the Dead Woods.
    • In the Destroyed City, refugees can be seen behind the combatants, scourging through the junk.
    • In the Refugee Camp, the refugees cheer for the two combatants. Occasionally, a Tarkatan will emerge from the portal instead of another refugee, snarl at the two soldiers guarding it, and be comically gunned down by the turret on a nearby armored vehicle. One of the guards then nonchalantly drags the body away.
  • Giant Spider: The Krypt features them. You have a split second to react before they attack in the most horribly detailed way from a first person perspective.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: This game suddenly has Japanese phrases sprinkled throughout story mode here and there including Raiden's incantation When he purifies the Jinsei at the end of story mode as well as Scorpion's intro with Takeda where he shouts the phrase "Itami wa kanjiru darou!" explanation  at him.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: You can toss several people at the opponent, including an old lady at the Outworld Marketplace, a praying monk at the Sky Temple, and numerous bobbing corpses at The Kove.
  • Groin Attack: In one of the flashbacks in story mode, Sonya does this to Quan Chi after fighting him to stop him from turning Johnny Cage into a revenant.
  • Guide Dang It: The Stage Brutalities. The two that are in the game (The Dead Woods and the Outworld Marketplace) have certain requirements that need to be met in order before you succeed, but good luck finding this out on your own!
  • Heroic Willpower: This is shown to be needed for a revenant to become human again without Quan-Chi.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Inverted. After the skimpiness of the female fighters' outfits were turned Up to Eleven in the last game, Mortal Kombat X dials it back so not all of them are as revealing. Kitana still has a rather Stripperific outfit, but no skimpier than last time. (Fancier, yes, but not more revealing.) According to Kombat Kast 3, there is more of an aim towards realism this time around and the womens' outfits are designed to be more believable female attire.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: As shown here, a lot of the characters resemble the voice actors portraying them.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Despite being entitled "Kraken", the Horror Pack's skin for Reptile bears a noticeable physical similarity to the Creature from the Black Lagoonnote . The fact that Mileena and Ermac's alternate skins are a vampire and a mummy, respectively, more or less confirms the homage.
  • Limit Break: The super bar from 9 returns with the same functions (Enhanced, Breaker, X-Ray).
  • Made of Iron: As in MK9, X-Ray attacks lean towards this with the victim receiving injuries that would leave them permanently crippled at the very least, but immediately standing back up and continuing to fight with no visible sign of said injuries as long as his/her health meter isn't completely depleted.
  • Made of Plasticine: Fatalities lean towards this as even the slightest hit results in the victim suffering severed limbs and the like.
  • Mirror Match: Lampshaded and Discussed when they happen. The pre-battle dialogue suggests several different possibilities for the mirrored character, including AU counterparts, secret twin siblings, copies made by Shang Tsung, or Shang Tsung himself.
  • Mythology Gag: Check the page.
  • Never Live It Down: In-Universe, several characters are very willing to remind Raiden that under his wing, nearly all of Earthrealm's warriors were killed.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Under the right circumstances, you can get the old lady in the Outworld Market stage to punch some poor bastard's face off.
  • No Fair Cheating: When someone quits a match online, their character's head explodes, and the other player wins by Quitality.
  • Not So Different: Sonya has a shaky relationship with her family, but some of their similarities are more than superficial: for example, both Sonya and Cassie have Fatalities where they use their opponent's bodies as trophies (Selfie for Cassie, Head Hunter for Sonya).
    • Played for Laughs in pre-fight dialogue between Kano and Kung Lao.
      Kano: Liu Kang...
      Kung Lao: Scum! You face Kung Lao!
      Kano: Whatever.

      Kung Lao: Kira!
      Kano: Kano, ya bloody prick!
      Kung Lao: Whatever.
  • Not-So-Safe Harbor: The Kove. A lot of shipwrecks can be spotted in the background and even the waterlogged corpses are interactable.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: X-Rays are back, and like the fatalities, are even more devastating than in MK9. But the victim still gets up like nothing's wrong after one happens to them.
  • Patchwork Kids: Cassie Cage seems to be this to her parents, Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade. She combines Sonya's military training and weaponry with Cage's Hollywood attitude and flair for the dramatic. She even gets her father's Groin Attack special!
  • Play Every Day: There are daily challenges you can complete for experience, and living towers which change weekly, daily, and hourly for you to fight up.
  • Press X to Not Die: If you fail in the QTE with the Krypt monster, he'll take some koins from you.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Cassie Cage's Fatality has her draw a pistol, kneecap her enemy, and finish them off with a shot to the forehead (and then stick her chewing gum in the wound), which surprisingly for the series, leaves their head intact. Unsurprisingly, High-Pressure Blood is still in effect with this.
  • Quizzical Tilt: Jason, true to character, does this if you don't press any buttons and also don't get attacked.
  • Rage Quit: Doing this triggers a "Quitality", where your character's head explodes on-screen as a punishment.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Kung Lao puts his opponent over his knee and rapidly punches their face during his throw. It can be enhanced into a Brutality, adding a few extra punches to knock the opponent's head off.
  • Real Song Theme Tune:
    • Wiz Kahlifa's "Can't Be Stopped" was used in the game's first trailer ever.
    • "Chop Suey!" by System of a Down was chosen for the game's launch trailer.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Apart from looking like Maleficent, Shinnok's horned crown is likely to symbolize how he is the Mortal Kombat equivalent of Lucifer, seeing as to how they both fell from grace and banished to a hellish realm (the Netherrealm) and became its ruler (though, in Shinnok's case, he only became the ruler of the Netherrealm after overthrowing the original one, who was ironically named Lucifer).
  • Sequel Hook: Many arcade endings hint at story possibilities:
    • Mileena awakes as several dozen copies of herself from an unseen perpetrator , who may be Shang Tsung revived.
    • Shang Tsung returns from the dead after his spirit drains Ermac of his souls.
    • Raiden makes Scorpion and the Shirai Ryu defenders of Earthrealm and preemptively attack Outworld. Irony abounds when Kotal invokes Mortal Kombat to defend Outworld.
    • A string of endings have Jax die at Erron's bullet, while Sonya has a dream that Kano forced her to chose between Jax and Cassie.
    • Kitana's ending has Jade possesed by the spirit in her ending in 9 show her a vision of the unaltered timeline where she defeated Shao Kahn.
    • Kung Lao and Kung Jin meet and Jin seeks to redeem Lao in spite of his revenant state, also providing a nifty Hand Wave incase Netherrealm Studios decides they want to restore the revenants to human.
    • Jacqui's ending Has her stealing some sort of mystical skull from Kotal Kahn and takes it to the Special Forces for study.
  • Shout-Out: Check the page.
  • Shows Damage: Not quite to the extent of Mortal Kombat 9, but still present. The battle damage is more in line to the actual damage being inflicted in terms of injury and positioning, and the "damage" effects include elements like mud, water, and the like.
  • Spin-Offspring: Cassie Cage, to Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade, Takashi Takeda to Kenshi and Jacqui Briggs to Jax. Kung Jin is this to Kung Lao to an extent, being a descendant instead of his child.
  • Stance System: A variation from how they did it from Deadly Alliance to Armageddon. Each character can select one of three different variations to their fighting style when selecting their character, each one giving them certain unique powers or weapons.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Reptile actually speaks this time, unlike the previous game where he just grunted or hissed.
  • Teleport Spam: Raiden as par for the course. But this time, one of his three new fighting styles ("Displacer") is awesomely devoted to this trope. Also, a Brutality of his is a delayed Tele-Frag on the victim.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Fatalities in this game are often excessive and go far beyond simply just killing the enemy.
  • Time Passage Beard: All returning human male characters, with the exceptions of Lui Kang and Johnny Cage grew beards in the time skip. Kung Lao's one is however, non-canon.
  • Token Wholesome: Subverted. It was assumed that Cassie Cage was going to be this after her reveal, but with the reduction of Hotter and Sexier, several women wear significantly less revealing clothing. Cassie Cage, Sonya Blade, and Jacqui Briggs all wear wholesome uniforms, thus eliminating the "token" factor.
  • Unfazed Everyman:
    • Just like the background characters of Injustice: Gods Among Us, the people of the Outworld Marketplace seem to completely ignore the bloody brawl occuring just a few feet away, to the point where an old lady is close enough to be grabbed and thrown... again, to the complete ambivalence of the market at large. Then again, it is Outworld, they're probably used to it by now.
    • Zigzagged with the Refugee Kamp stage. There are some background characters who don't seem to care at all, while others are actively watching the bout and responding enthusiastically.
  • X Makes Anything Cool: A variation. The title is not pronounced "Mortal Kombat Ten", but rather "Mortal Kombat Ex". However "X" also still means "ten" in this case (see Double Meaning Title).
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: As per the series norm. Initially averted with the "Cove" stage, Ed Boon apologized for the spelling error and renamed to "Kove" in subsequent demos. "Krossroads" and "Refugee Kamp" likewise got "korrected" spelling in later builds after their initial reveals.

Tropes related to the Story Mode and the prequel comics

  • A Day in the Limelight: Just like in 9, the Story Mode deals with one character and changes each chapter:
    • Chapter 1 is Johnny Cage
    • Chapter 2 is Kotal Kahn
    • Chapter 3 is Sub-Zero
    • Chapter 4 is Kung Jin
    • Chapter 5 is Sonya Blade
    • Chapter 6 is D'Vorah
    • Chapter 7 is Takeda
    • Chapter 8 is Jax
    • Chapter 9 is Scorpion
    • Chapter 10 is Raiden
    • Chapter 11 is Jacqui
    • Chapter 12 is Cassie Cage
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: During Chapter 7, Takeda grapples Ermac and tries to read his mind with his fledgling telepathic powers, only to be overwhelmed by the Many Spirits Inside of One, reeling back and releasing his grip in shock.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: Steal food in Outworld? Execution is the punishment. Keep justice from being served to said thief? Execution is the punishment. Cassie even lampshades this.
    Cassie: I'm sensing a theme...
  • Arc Words: "There are fates worse than death." It comes up at the beginning, middle, and end of the story, though the first instance is slightly different, Raiden saying that the undead warriors under Quan Chi have lives worse than death.
  • Arc Villain: Kano serves as a villain for a small portion of the story, as an ally to Mileena. He's finally arrested by the Special Forces before the halfway point, after serving as The Rat for Mileena's schemes.
  • Awful Truth: In the flashback at the beginning of Chapter 7, Takeda realizes the reason of why his father Kenshi abandoned him, and left him in Hanzo's charge. It took Hanzo's intervention (and later his father's telepathy showing) to keep him in check.
  • Back for the Dead: Some of the returning characters in the comic such as Hsu Hao and Mavado would've been better served by staying offscreen. In the game itself the trope applies to Baraka, Mileena and possibly Bo' Rai Cho.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • Chapter #11 of the prequel comics and the first chapter of the story mode reveal that the Sub-Zero in the game is Kuai Liang, with his cybernetics being reverted by his time in the Netherrealm.
    • Jax comes back from the dead, thanks to Raiden's victory over Quan Chi, which also restored Scorpion to Hanzo Hasashi and Sub-Zero to Kuai Liang. Unlike his ex-Netherrealm companions, he stays human and has a daughter, Jacqui.
    • Kung Lao, Kitana, and Liu Kang return to the game in playable form, but unfortunately for them, before Raiden could work on anything, Scorpion killed Quan Chi, the one who could work on restoring them, thus they stuck with Shinnok's forces until Shinnok's defeat, and even then they couldn't go back to the living world, so in the end, they settled into ruling the Netherrealm with Liu Kang and Kitana as their Emperor and Empress. However, they still come with their human forms for casual, non-story matches, so this trope can be somewhat invoked like either just an All Just a Dream or a What If? scenario, if Raiden had enough time to free the three.
  • Battle Couple:
    • Subverted with Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade. While they did hook up after 9 (even married with a kid, as shown with Cassie), they apparently divorce sometime during the 25 years of MKX.
    • In the stinger, it's shown that Liu Kang and Kitana rule as Emperor and Empress of Netherrealm after Shinnok's "demise". Given their garbs, it's not a stretch to think that they kick ass together.
  • Big Bad: Shinnok.
  • Big Damn Heroes: At the end of Chapter 11, Team SF is surrounded by the outworld soldiers, including Erron Black, Reptile, Ferra/Torr, Ermac and Kotal Kahn. Then Ferra and Torr and several Outworld soldiers are frozen. Cue the Lin Kuei.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Upon Shinnok's resurrection, he has most of the heroes unconscious and completely at his mercy, yet lets them live for no discernible reason. This allows Sonya to inform the younger fighters of Shinnok's plan to absorb the Jinsei which leads to his defeat.
  • Book Ends: Story mode begins and ends with a Cage saving a loved one by conjuring green energy, then defeating Shinnok and saving the Jinsei, and Johnny saying that "(Sonya) called me 'Johnny'."
  • The Cameo:
    • Hsu Hao, Jarek, Tasia, Shao Kahn, Reiko, Mavado, Havik, Kintaro and Sheeva appear in the comics. Daegon is mentioned by a Red Dragon mook in Issue #1, and King Gorbak (Goro's father and the Shokan king) appears in another issue. Gorbak had previously appeared in the MKII official comic and the Malibu comics line. For those that don't believe the MKII comic to be canon due to some inconsistencies, this would make Gorbak a full on Canon Immigrant to the game's universe.
    • Smoke, Kabal, Fujin, Stryker, Li Mei, Nightwolf, Sareena, Frost and Bo Rai Cho appear in the story mode. Additionally, Smoke executes the player's opponent for one of the Lin Kuei Faction Kills.
  • The Cavalry: Sub-Zero and the Lin Kuei swoop in just as Cassie and her friends are about to be killed by Kotal Kahn's forces.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In Chapter 1, Shinnok attempts to cast a spell at Sonya with his amulet, taunting "You'll be the first to join me!", but it hits Johnny instead with no ill-effects thanks to the latter's green energy. We later hear of the amulet's power as Li Mei describes Mileena decimating entire brigades with its power, and finally see what it was meant to do when Shinnok tortures and possibly kills Bo Rai Cho during his attack on Raiden's temple.
  • Chekhov's Skill: At the end of Chapter 1, Kung Jin mocks Cassie for not being able to summon green energy unlike her father. At the end of Chapter 12, she manages to do this.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Profanity in MKX is more common than in any other game. In fact, there's more cursing in this game than virtually the rest of the franchise combined. Cassie Cage currently holds the honor of cursing more than everyone else (including saying "Fuck" more than anyone else does).
  • Conspicuously Light Patch: A variation. Of the revenant character, the ones that are fought have new designs while non-playable ones merely have glowing eyes, tron lines and minor battle damage. Most notable in the opening where Kenshi is attacked by Nightwolf, looking almost as he did in MK 9 while Johny and Sonya take on Jax, who has a whole different set of mechanical arms
  • Continuity Nod: Check the page.
  • Continuity Porn: The comics have plenty of references to and cameos by characters aside from the ones confirmed for being in game, including relatively obscure characters like Tasia from Special Forces.
  • Continuity Snarl: The comics show that Cyber Sub-Zero actually survived Sindel's carnage, and was taken hostage by Quan Chi, where the latter completely destroys his cybernetic body as his sorcery can't affect Sub-Zero's free will as long as he's a cyborg. However, the ending of Mortal Kombat 9 clearly shows Sub-Zero as an undead revenant serving Quan Chi, in his cybernetic body, to boot.
    • Ermac appearing in the comic as an ally of Mileena long after he turned on her in the game is a huge one, to the point where you'd be better off pretending that Ermac and his dialogue doesn't even exist.
    • Tasia gets a brand new costume at the very end of Issue #20....and reverts back to her original one in the next issue after the battle.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Well, sure, this happens in this franchise a lot, but Mileena's execution at D'Vorah's hands may have set a new record for sheer sadistic cruelty. (Even Cassie, who witnesses her shove thousands of insects down Mileena's throat which proceed to tear her apart from within, gets sick watching.)
  • Cycle of Revenge: In the comics, Goro kills Kotal K'etz, Kotal Kahn's father. The latter used a Kamidogu to empower himself while pleading it to give him the power to permanently disarm Goro. The next chapter has him do exactly just that, with the added humiliation of Kotal sparing the prince under Shokan tradition. The Shokan King Gorbak, upon seeing the state his son is in, sent an army to attack while the Osh-Tekk's power was compromised.
  • Disc One Final Boss: Two examples; first, Mileena's civil war is brought to a decisive halt at the end of Chapter 6 when she is killed by D'Vorah. The plot switches over to the second example; Quan Chi's attempts to bring back Shinnok only extend to the end of Chapter 9, at which point he is killed and Shinnok, the real Big Bad, takes over.
  • Ending Tropes:
    • Bittersweet Ending: Albeit not as much as the previous game.
      • Quan Chi is dead, and Shinnok no longer poses a threat, as he's been reduced to a severed head. However, every remaining revenant is doomed to be such indefinitely because of Quan Chi's death by Scorpion. Although they are now no longer controlled by Shinnok or Quan Chi, they run the Netherrealm, being unable to return to Edenia or Earthrealm. And if Liu Kang's Ladder ending is to be trusted, they might become a danger to all realms, if Liu Kang really gets the idea of conquering other realms running.
      • The Jinsei is restored, but the process has apparently corrupted Raiden, turning him into the ruthless persona he was back in Deception, although the danger presented by this Raiden could be pretty much what puts Liu Kang's possible ambition into a halt.
      • And while the Enemy Civil War in Outworld is over, with Mileena, Baraka, and most of the rebels either dead, jailed or unable to fight, Earthrealm has gained a renewed hostility towards the realm, so there is a chance that Dark!Raiden will take action quickly and go on the offensive against Outworld, as shown in his Ladder ending.
    • Earn Your Happy Ending:
      • The case for the Cage family. After witnessing all the dramas they went through since the end of 9, Johnny and Sonya get to the end of the game's events in good terms, and it's implied that Sonya is working in order to reconcile her relationship with both Cassie and Johnny. Furthermore, Sonya finally gets justice for Kano, arresting him for the Special Forces as she had tried for so long.
      • Also the case for Cassie's team. After all of the events of the game and the comics, they are all safe and sound, Cassie finally manages to get the respect of the entire team, Kung Jin takes several levels down in jerkassness (even respecting the team's leader), and it's Takeda and Jacqui remain a couple throughout.
  • Enemy Civil War: In the prequel comics, Kotal Kahn is in a civil war against Mileena for Outworld's throne. Kotal Kahn's forces include Ferra, Torr, Erron Black, D'Vorah, and Reptile. Mileena's forces include Reiko and Rain. Goro originally served Kotal Kahn, betrayed him for Mileena, and Reiko speculates that he intends to backstab her to bring Outworld under Shokan rule.
    Cassie: Why be worried about Outworld? I thought Kotal Kahn respected the Reiko Accords.
    Johnny: He does. But he's facing a civil war. The rebels win, those Accords are history.
    • It finally comes to an end in the game with Mileena biting the dust.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Mileena looks genuinely saddened as she stands vigil over Rain as he recovers from being incinerated by Kotal Kahn's sunbeam. She even lashes out in rage when Ermac interrupts her having a moment.
  • Evil Power Vacuum: Several factions in Outworld are attempting to fill the void left after Shao Kahn's defeat in the previous game. Mileena was the Empress of Outworld at first, but Kotal Kahn took the throne from her.
    • The ending, along with Liu Kang's Arcade Ladder, implies that this happens to the Netherrealm once Shinnok bites it, so Liu Kang proceeds to beat the crap out of the demons inside, bring order and fill in the vacuum by becoming the ruler, solo in his Arcade end, and in-story, brings in Kitana as his Empress.
  • Eye Scream: Kotal Kahn does this to Kano in the second chapter, if the QTE is inputted.
  • Fan Disservice: Think Mileena looks pretty with her new lips? That won't last once D'Vorah executes her.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Dark!Raiden renders Shinnok merely a decapitated head and in VERY deep pain and implies that he will remain this way. Time will tell if this will really stick.
  • For Want of a Nail: The main story altering change in the rebooted timeline turns out not so much to be Sindel's massacre in 9 but Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade forming a relationship, which besides from the obvious of Cassie's existence also caused Shinnok to be trapped in his amulet for 25 years thanks to Johnny protecting Sonya, resurrecting Jax and the resultant (relative) peace allowed for Jaqui and Takaeda to be born and for Kung Jin to be requited to the Shaolin.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: As with Injustice: Gods Among Us, alternate costumes represent the same character in different stages, either between the past and present day or whether they're alive or revenants under Quan Chi's control. Averted for Lui Kang, Kitana & Kung Lao's costumes that have them as living and aged.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Jacqui Briggs can shoot long-range plasma projectiles in cutscenes, but her High Tech variation (which uses said plasma attacks) only allows for close-range bursts in gameplay.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Raiden manages to free Scorpion (with a major assist from Kenshi), Sub Zero, and Jax from Quan-Chi's control, and plans to do the same for the rest of the revenant heroes.
    • Heel Face Door Slam: Scorpion unwittingly does this to the revenant Earthrealmers who are still under Quan Chi's control.
    • Later subverted. Kung Lao and Kung Jin's Arcade endings show that there is still hope for the revenants, but becoming human again is a very difficult process without Quan-Chi alive.
  • Honorary Uncle: Cassie calls Jax this way in the comics. Enforced by Sonya, who says Jax "is family". Jacqui in turn considers Sonya an "Aunt".
  • Ironic Echo: At the start of Kotal Kahn's chapter, Kano says that the money offered to him is "S'not worth the dirt on my shoe." After the two have a fight shortly thereafter, Kotal says that Kano isn't worth the dirt on his shoe.
  • Karma Houdini: Kotal Kahn. He betrays Earthrealm during a period of cooperation and then attempts to invade Earthrealm later in order to take the amulet by force. However his deeds come and go without so much as an acknowledgement by the game's story.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Two of the biggest examples of Karma Houdini in the franchise finally expire in this game:
    • At the end of Chapter 5, Kano is behind bars, after threating Cassie in Sonya's presence.
    • At the end of Chapter 9, Quan Chi is decapitated by Scorpion.
  • Killed Off for Real: Baraka and Mileena bite it by D'vorah, Quan Chi is decapitated by Scorpion. Sektor is killed by Sub-Zero offscreen, though his head and memories are left intact.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler:
    • People who didn't play the past game's story mode should be aware that the story mode for this one spoils that several characters died and became evil revenants. Other spoileriffic mentions are Kung Lao being murdered by Shao Kahn, Liu Kang being accidentally killed by Raiden and Jax losing his arms to Ermac.
    • Also, the intro narration refers to the events which took place in Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero, the only one of the early games still deemed canon for this timeline.
  • Lighter and Softer: The storyline at least, while still being Bloodier and Gorier than its predecessor, Earthrealm being devastated by the Netherrealm War, and Liu Kang and others are still undead. Jax, Scorpion, and Sub-Zero are Back from the Dead with the latter two reconciling with one another, Quan-Chi is dead, and Shinnok is decapitated yet still alive and in horrific pain.
  • Mythology Gag: Check the page.
  • Noodle Incident: In the start of Chapter 2, Cassie offhandedly mentions Darfur, Iran and Kurdistan, presumably as missions that she and the other Special Forces members took part in.
  • No One Could Survive That:
    • Should the player fail specific QTEs in Chapter 1, Johnny Cage gets punctured by Scorpion's spear, and later gets burned and frozen at the same time by both him and Sub-Zero. Not to mention the posterior fall from the helicopter.
    • Should the player fail specific QTEs in Chapter 2, Kano stabs Kotal with his knife and burns him with his Eye Laser.
      • If the player succeeds in the same QTEs, Kotal breaks Kano's skull and pokes Kano's remaining living eye out. Of course, Kano gets up to fight afterwards.
  • No Ontological Inertia:
    • Averted in the case of Quan Chi's revenants of the dead from 9. The protagonists even discuss how they need Quan Chi alive to reverse the process and restore their friends, but Scorpion's need for vengeance results in him offing Quan Chi's head. The revenants cannot easily be restored now. Also averted with the attack on Earthrealm in general: Even two years after Shao Kahn's death, Earth is still under attack from Outworld forces.
      • Kung Lao's Arcade Mode ending shows that there are other, more difficult ways to restore revenants.
    • Possibly played straight with Sindel; she no longer seems to have the incredible power granted to her by Shao Kahn that she had in 9. Justified since it's repeatedly implied that Shang Tsung's spirit is alive and plotting.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: In The Stinger, it goes both ways. Netherrealm Emperor and Empress Liu Kang and Kitana do not show any anger or blaming Raiden for their fates when they realized that he's no longer the Thunder God that accidentally got them killed and turned revenants, but instead the ruthless, darker God that is serious in trouncing them in case they do anything funny.
  • Passing the Torch: An important theme of the game's story mode. Better summed up in Johnny's words:
    "You're all here because you deserve to be. You're beautiful and unique snowflakes. (...) Us older folks are gonna retire someday. So it's time for your generation to step up. Shaolin, Shirai Ryu, S-F. Together."
    • The story mode can be seen at this, with new faces being more in the forefront and old faces were either made stuck into revenants indefinitely (Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Kitana, the remaining MK9 heroes) or killed off (Mileena, Baraka, Sektor). On the whole, the atmosphere is that it is time to move forward into a new era of kombatants on both the villainous and heroic sides.
  • Play the Game, Skip the Story: Invoked Inverted Trope by way of an in-game option for skipping fights to progress through the story. Whether there are limits as to how many times you can do this or not has yet to be seen.
    • The game also provides this: By default, Liu Kang, Kung Lao and Kitana are in their human forms, with the men getting physically older, but in story mode, they spend all their time as revenants. For those who are disturbed with their revenant forms, they can still enjoy their human forms as they play casual games and treat it like Raiden saved them anyway.
  • Plot Hole/Series Continuity Error: There are a number of timeline hiccups and continuity errors between the comic and the game, and even within the game itself.
    • Following Shinnok's defeat, the story jumps forward twenty years, though Jax's chapter (within the same general timeframe) has Jax say that it's been twenty-five years since then.
      • Adding to the confusion, Johnny Cage's narration at the beginning states that Shao Kahn's defeat at the second tournament occurred two years prior to Shinnok's escape from the Netherrealm. Combined with the twenty years that passed between Shinnok's defeat and the events of the main story, this would put a twenty-two year gap between the two games. However, a flashback in Raiden's chapter indicates that the second tournament occurred twenty-five years ago (which is in line with what the official summary says). The only logical way to explain this three year discrepancy would be to say that Shinnok's attack on Earth occurred three years after his escape from Netherrealm.
    • Kotal Kahn tells Sonya in the comic that (as of the comic events) he has been fighting Mileena for at least ten years. However, the flashback to the initial rebellion against Mileena in-game was only five years prior.
    • Treading the line between these and Adaptation Name Change, the comics say Scorpion's wife and son were named Kana and Jubei, but the game has Scorpion refer them as Harumi and Satoshi.
    • Confusing things even more, Issue 21 of the comic shows Ermac to still be on Mileena's side after Kotal's coup. This is despite the fact that D'Vorah's flashback in the game has Ermac switching sides during the coup.
  • Press X to Not Die: Subverted. Quick Time Events feature in cutscenes, but failing them doesn't result in a game over; instead, the fight scenes they correspond with change accordingly.
  • Put on a Bus: There is no explanation what happened to Cyrax following MK9. Sheeva and Kintaro have made appearances in the comics, but their fate has yet to be resolved.
  • Redshirt Army:
    • The comic books have Kotal Kahn's armies being mauled by Goro and Rain.
    • Any member of the Special Forces which isn't a playable character or someone important to the story also qualifies. For example, Chapter 1 of the Story Mode has eight soldiers in the helicopter accompanying Johnny Cage, Sonya and Kenshi. 6 of them are offed by Scorpion and the remaining two by Sub-Zero. However, they get better over the course of the story, even managing to stop Quan Chi and his revenants from escaping on horseback. Lampshaded by Quan Chi, who notes that he's only interested in turning the named characters into revenants; he has no use for mooks.
    • The Tarkatans. Kotal Kahn shreds tons of them in Chapter 2. In a flashback in Chapter 10, Raiden, Liu Kang, and Kung Lao plow through a whole army while on a mission to rescue their fellow monks. Lampshaded by D'Vorah.
      D'Vorah: (to Baraka) Tarkatans are beaten so easily?
      • The comics are even worse for them: when Ferra was telling the story of how she and Torr first met Kotal Kahn, the ones that attempted to enslave the duo got easily slaughtered by the Osh-Tekk. They were eaten afterwards.
    • Kotal Kahn's own soldiers aren't much better. In Chapter 11, Cassie and her team wipe out most of Kotal's troops in an ambush.
    • Subverted with the Lin Kuei and Shirai Ryu. The former help their grandmaster Sub-Zero restrain Team SF in Chapter 3 and then help pull off a Big Damn Heroes scene in Chapter 11, while the latter are decreased in the comics to only Takeda and Hanzo Hasashi in their sleep, they seem to have regained their numbers and lead a successful attack on the Refugee Camp and subdue the Special Forces in Chapter 9.
  • Revenant Zombie: This is what has become of everyone who died in Mortal Kombat 9, barring Jade and Shao Kahn. Raiden managed to turn Jax, Sub-Zero (Kuai Liang), and Scorpion back to human, but Scorpion killing Quan Chi prevents him from restoring the others in the same way.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Scorpion could care less for letting the other fallen Earthrealm warriors return to life: he's gonna kill Quan Chi for destroying the Shirai-Ryu and manipulating him, and there's nothing anyone can do to stop him.
  • Sequel Hook: The story mode ends with the still revenant Liu Kang and Kitana ruling Netherrealm. Dark Raiden vows to go on the offensive to defend Earthrealm.
    • Several Arcade endings also set up potential sequel hooks, such as Kung Jin attempting to help Kung Lao redeem himself and Mileena reviving in a clone body of her made by Shang Tsung.
    • And as confirmed by Word of God the same woman who possesses Jade in her Arcade ending in 9 appears in Kitana's Arcade ending.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Scorpion cold-cocks Quan Chi when the sorcerer tries to smooth things over with the man whose family he killed and whom he manipulated into being his servant.
  • Squick: In-Universe, this is Cassie's reaction to D'vorah's execution of Mileena.
    Cassie: Well, thanks for that. I know I'll never eat again.
  • The Stinger: See Sequel Hook above.
  • Token Minority: Inverted with Cassie's squad. In a group composed of two Asians (one of them gay), and two women (one of them black), only Cassie is white.
  • Together in Undeath: One small upside of Raiden being unable to save most of those slain in the previous game is that it solved the problem with Liu Kang and Kitana's relationship and they can be together at last. And they seem okay with it for the most part. Unfortunately, in one part of the Story Mode, Sindel takes this concept far too literally; when Cassie calls her out for what she did last time, Sindel scoffs, telling her that her allies are "bonded in death" and that Cassie will be joining them.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Sonya after the time skip acts very coldly toward her ex-husband and daughter.
    • Heck, damn near everybody, if the pre-fight dialogue is any indication. Each and every character has something nasty (or at least snarky) to say to one another before every fight, with VERY few exceptions.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The Launch Trailer shows Shinnok, shown in several previews to be sealed away in the first chapter, no longer imprisoned and poisoning the Jinsei Chamber.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Each of the four members of the squad under Johnny's command have a lot to live up to. Better resumed in this dialogue from the intermission between Chapters 6 and 7:
    Cassie: Well, if they don't kill us, my mother will. Me, at least.
    Takeda: Tough being the general's daughter?
    Cassie: You have no idea.
    Kung Jin: I do. My great-whatever grandfather took down Shang Tsung. Saved Earthrealm. How often do you think that comes up to family gatherings?
    Cassie: That was six-hundred years ago.
    Kung Jin: And yet, you'd think it happened yesterday.
    Jacqui: No pressure there.
    Cassie: I've trained all my life... can fight my way out of nearly anything... But still I feel like a second-rate Cage.
    Takeda: At least you grew up with people expecting things from you.
    Jacqui: I thought you and your dad were best friends.
    Takeda: Now. He was a no-show for a long time.
    Jacqui: I can relate.
    Kung Jin: What was that like growing up? Having an ex-revenant father? (...) Couldn't have been easy.
    Jacqui: He was just a bit overprotective. When I joined S-F, Mr. Cage insisted on being the one to tell my dad. He thought it'd go smoother.
    Cassie: I'll never forget that day. My dad came home with a broken jaw.
    (...)
    Jacqui: Being the son of a telepath also has its perks.
    Takeda: I didn't used to think so.
  • Wham Shot: The Stinger shows the return of Dark Raiden, supposedly corrupted after cleansing the Jinsei Chamber of Shinnok's influence, and the reveal that the revenant Liu Kang and Kitana are the new rulers of the Netherrealm.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Jade, despite being seen as one of Quan Chi's revenants at the end of 9, her only mention in the game is on of Kitana's Variations, Mourning, which uses some of her moves. Until Kitana's ending shows that Jade is under the control of the being in her ending in 9 probably still forced to return the timeline to normal, where it got better after Raiden died.
    • Despite the presence of their comrades, the revenants of Stryker, Kabal, and Nightwolf are conspicuously absent from Shinnok's return.
    • Cyrax and Sheeva receive no mention at all in the game in any form.
    • Fujin shows up in Chapter 1 but isn't seen again. Jax and Sareena also disappear from the plot after Chapter 8, though they may still be fighting other forces in the Netherrealm.
  • What the Hell, Antihero: Sonya and most of her team give one to Scorpion/Hanzo Hasashi for trying to kill Quan Chi off (in single-minded rage, natch), because if he dies, the rest of their allies who died in Shao Kahn's invasion won't be restored.
  • The Worf Effect: Anyone who played the previous game knew how much of a powerful character Sindel became. In this game, not only does she not have the same effectiveness at killing people, but she gets beaten by Jax, and later Cassie. (Justified, her onslaught was caused by being infused by the multitude of souls Shang Tsung had kept in his bod, and thus the magic could have been nullified, either through Sindel's death at the hand of Nightwolf, or Kahn's death at Raiden's hand.)
  • Worf Had the Flu: It's mentioned in-story as well as shown that in the Time Skip between the Netherrealm War and the present, Quan Chi lost a lot of power, to the point that he goes from being able to deflect gunshots easily to being stopped by a firing line. This is explained explicitly as a consequence of extended time without Shinnok.