...while on the other hand, even the ruthless konquerors
need some love in desperate times.
Per wiki policy, Spoilers Off applies to Heartwarming pages. All spoilers will be unmarked.
- MKX's story worked miracles in burying the hatchet between Scorpion and the younger Sub-Zero. In several pre-match dialogues, it becomes apparent they have become considerably less hostile, seeming to regard the other as less of an Arch-Enemy and more of a Worthy Opponent. The story mode seals the deal, making it clear that this is now canon. Hanzo and Kuai Liang have become Bash Brothers in Earthrealm's defense and have a chapter dedicated to their team-up.
I still grieve my wife and son. Sub-Zero:
I'm not so cold as to mock your pain. Scorpion:
A wise choice, Sub-Zero.
Scorpion: You'll lead the Lin Kuei?
Frost: Sub-Zero made us weak.
Scorpion: He restored your clan's honor.
- To further emphasize how wholesome Scorpion and Sub-Zero's new friendship is, there's a moment where, while infiltrating the Cyber Lin Kuei factory, the two come across the dismembered remains of former Lin Kuei members. Sub-Zero looks distraught, prompting Scorpion to place a reassuring hand on his shoulder and say that they will avenge his clan.
- Kotal Kahn's reaction to seeing Jade after the Time Crash begins is perhaps the single most humanizing moment for him as a character. When past Kombatants arrive Kotal begins to realize that if Baraka, Skarlet and Kitana are alive among them that Jade must be too, something she cuts him off on before he can say it himself. The quiet joy in his voice as he addresses her again is echoed by her gentle smile towards him, and once they get a moment of quiet and solitude during the ensuing battle they waste no time in sharing a kiss as both were each-other's Lost Lenore in their respective timelines.
- They have several more tender moments throughout the story, such as Jade musing how surprised she is that no other woman has tried to become Kotal's queen, only for him to counter that many did but none were Jade, and her holding his hand as they reconcile after his second fight with Shao Kahn. He'll also tell Sonya in one fight intro that no woman measures up to Jade in his eyes.
- It's really telling how much Kotal values Jade when he's more concerned that she's still wiling to stay by his side despite his faults rather than the fact that Jade's (rather justified) actions led to his near execution and eventual crippling by Shao Kahn.
- Shao freaking Kahn of all people gets one. While explaining the events of the timeline he was in, D'vorah offhandedly mentions that she killed Mileena. She probably didn't expect him to care that much given that she bothered to mention it, and the audience probably wouldn't expect it either. As it immediately turns out, this legitimately pisses Shao Kahn off and he tries to kill D'vorah on the spot before Kronika arrives. Either Mileena's death somehow inconveniences him greatly, he considered D'vorah as untrustworthy for this, or in some sick twisted way, Shao Kahn actually cares for Mileena as a daughter.
- Shao Kahn isn't the only one: Shang Tsung also gets a heartwarming moment in that he genuinely considered his champions friends, including Goro - who he outright says in a somber tone that he misses him the most. Even the worst of Outworld can show affection to one another after all. He also seems happy to resurrect the Wanderer, whenever he's killed by any hazard in his island.
- Also from Shao Kahn of all people, when in one interaction Kano tells him he is holding Kollector for ransom, Shao tells him to return his minion or face death. And that's Shao Kahn we're talking about. It's possible that he just doesn't want to show weakness by paying the ransom instead of taking him back by force, but the fact that he values Kollector enough to fight for him rather than just write him off is still rather "nice" of him.
- When Sub-Zero restores the cyberized Cyrax's free will, he is frightened at the machine he had become. Before taking the Cyber Lin Kuei network offline, Cyrax beseeches Sub-Zero to find a way to restore his humanity. Sub-Zero, knowing all too well what it's like to have his humanity stolen from him, assures Cyrax that it doesn't matter if he is man or machine: he is still a proud warrior, and the Lin Kuei will always welcome him.
- Following the events of MKX, the reconciliation of the Cage family appeared a distinct possibility. Come 11, and it turns out that it did take: Sonya has not only mended her relationship with her daughter, but has got back together with Johnny. She positively beams with pride when promoting Cassie to Commander and the smile stays on her face as Johnny comes in for a hug with their daughter. She's also not shy of public displays of affection with her husband, pulling him into a kiss to see him off. This, however, makes the Player Punch at the end of Chapter 1 all the more painful.
- Looking closely at Johnny's win pose with the action figure of himself reveals it is Cassie's toy as signified by her name written on its foot Toy Story style. 
- While the revelation that Kronika has reset the timeline more times than she can count, is horrifying, there's a bit of Heartwarming in the reveal that Raiden has discovered this before, and he's always called her out and made peace with Liu Kang. Even at his worst, Raiden still wants the best for his student and friend.
- When two characters are the focus of a chapter, you're usually allowed to choose which character to use before each fight. But in Past Jax/Jacqui's chapter, when you face Present Jax, it automatically selects Past Jax, as if the game wants to spare Jacqui from having to fight her own father.
Past!Jax: (gently pushing Jacqui aside) Hang back, kid. I know I wouldn't wanna fight my dad. (to Present!Jax) How 'bout we keep this between me, myself, and I? Never thought I'd stoop so low...
Present!Jax: You don't know how bad it gets! Losing your arms was just the beginning.
Past!Jax: I know you suffered. You still do. But you don't betray your unit and you SURE AS HELL DON'T BETRAY YOUR FAMILY!
- When confronted by his past self, Scorpion, Hanzo pleads with him that vengeance isn't everything, that Shirai Ryu rebuilt in a better light. When Hanzo dies in the arms of Scorpion, he felt obliged to pass on Hanzo's last will and go to the Fire Garden, to which he witness it was truly rebuilt and the clan lives on, with a faint relief in his voice that it was all true.
- Past Liu Kang's faith in Raiden. Even when told of his terrible future and Raiden's part in it, Liu Kang still chooses to believe in Raiden because that's just how much he trusts him. The only thing that makes this faith waver is when Raiden is being actively corrupted by Shinnok's amulet and seemingly proves the Revenants' claims to be true, and even then it comes right back when Raiden comes back to his senses.
- Something that helped Raiden come to his realization was an Ironic Echo to 9 where Liu Kang says the same line he used back then, but here, their roles are practically reversed, so Liu Kang the one trying to reason with Raiden, and is only fighting him if he has to for his own good.
- Raiden reveals to future Jax that Kronika is the architect of all his suffering. When Jax berates himself for being so blind, Raiden is completely understanding and compassionate towards what Jax was going through.
- Right before storming Kronika's central chamber, Liu Kang, Kitana, and Kung Lao share a Friendship Moment.
- The good ending for Story Mode has a now mortal Raiden and the newly ascended protector of Earthrealm Liu Kang finally make peace with each other as the former vows to make the most of his now finite lifespan to help Liu Kang restore the timeline and the realms. And if Kronika is defeated the first time you fight her, Kitana will survive Kronikas temporal apocalypse and accompany Liu Kang on his quest to reshape a better timeline. After all the pain, suffering and death Liu Kang went through in both the original and rebooted timelines, he finally got a break.
Liu Kang: Are you ready?
Kitana: Yes. But no matter how we sculpt the sands, we cannot plan for every possibility. Mortals will make their own choices. New evils will arise.
Liu Kang: Each realm must choose its own destiny. Whatever those choices, we will face them together.
- Both Johnny and Cassie's tower endings see them content to leave the timeline as is, except for one difference: preventing Sonya's death as she destroys Revenant Liu Kang's castle.
- Sonya's tower ending involves her becoming a god with the people she cares about the most. Cassie, Jax, Jacqui, and even Johnny.
- Jax's tower ending has him choose to use Kronika's hourglass not only for his own benefit, but to Set Right What Once Went Wrong in regard to the treatment of black people in the USA, turning the nation (and possibly the whole world) into a utopia free of discrimination and bigotry. All that, and he does it in a way that still allows him to meet Vera and become Jacqui's father.
- After spending the last two games locked in a FaceHeel Turn, the sight of seeing a purely heroic Liu Kang not only remaining that way throughout the story but giving his evil future self several measures of ass-kicking is a very refreshing change of pace. Also, he didn't die permanently.
- Hanzo's attitude towards Jacqui and Takeda's relationship. His intros with Jax and Jacqui reveal him to be a major Shipper on Deck, treating both of them with complete respect and declaring any enemies of the Briggs become the Shirai Ryu's enemies as well.
Your daughter will soon be Shirai Ryu. Jax:
I'm supposed to feel good about that? Scorpion:
Her enemies will become ours.
Jax: Not sure I like Jacqui with one of yours.
Scorpion: Takeda is worthy, commander.
Jax: He damn well better be.
- Surprisingly, Johnny Cage and Hanzo Hasashi (Scorpion) do come to an understanding. In one of their intros (one that doesn't have Johnny drive Hanzo's patience up a wall), Hanzo ask him whats different knowing that he has a family now. Johnny wholeheartedly says that he finally understands his need for vengeance. While Hanzo does banter saying it's one thing to have something than to have lost it, it's pretty cool to see Johnny Cage being one of the few combatants to truly see Hanzo's point of view.
- This game's versus interactions make a point of addressing some of the more controversial issues introduced in the last game. Yes, Sub-Zero is still upset about losing Smoke. No, Liu Kang and Kung Lao are not homophobic, their past selves like Kung Jin just fine, Lao is actually disgusted with their family for treating him poorly and it's confirmed they didn't even know about him at the time of their deaths so they weren't a part of said poor treatment.
: The Netherrealm can have you. Noob Saibot
: It also has your friend, Smoke. Sub-Zero
: Do not speak of my friends!
Kung Lao: You know of Kung Jin's interests.
Raiden: You sit in judgement, Kung Lao?
Kung Lao: Of my family's shameful treatment of him.
- And despite Kung Jin having moved onto the White Lotus Society and away from the Special Forces, and that his relationship with Cassie Cage isn't exactly the best either, Cassie Cage does tells Kung Lao that Jin still has a home for him should he ever need it again. And likewise, when she goes up against Shang Tsung, Kung Jin texts Cassie to see if she needs air support, suggesting that even with strained relationships he still has her back.
- Sub-Zero's tower ending has him intending to use Kronika's hourglass to restore the Lin Kuei, but realizes before he can redeem the Lin Kuei he will have to redeem Bi-Han first. While his corruption goes back even further than being resurrected as Noob Saibot (As far as being tempted to corruption by Sektor), after a few tries he finally sets him on the right path as both Sub-Zeroes become co-Grandmasters of the Lin Kuei. Even after disowning his brother, Kuai Liang still wishes to have him by his side.
- Noob Saibot, of all characters, gets a small one in his battle intro with Frost, as he finds her being the Grandmaster of the Lin Kuei a horrible prospect and states that Kuai Liang, despite he and Noob bearing a Cain and Abel dynamic between them, is better in all accounts. Repeat: Frost is so bad, Noob Saibot defends Sub-Zero despite all the bad blood. Perhaps the original Sub-Zero isn't all gone just yet...
Noob: One clan will rule the New Era.
Frost: That clan will be mine, Bi-Han.
Noob: Kuai Liang would be a better Grandmaster.
- Liu Kang seems to be the only one who believes Frost still has a bit of good inside her. In his intro with her, he says as much, but her arrogance won't allow much.
Liu Kang: There is still honor in you, Frost.
Frost: I don't need you to tell me.
Liu Kang: Then why do you display none?
- Considering Johnny normally likes to troll almost everyone, the interactions where he's respectful are oddly sweet.
What is different, knowing you have a child? Johnny:
I get the "avenge my family and clan
" thing now. Scorpion:
"Having" is not the same as "having lost".
- Even though Kotal Kahn had to have sense beaten from him by Jade before slaughtering a Tarkatan village, there are several interactions between him and Baraka where they are slowly growing mutual respect and understanding for one another — when Baraka isn't rightfully skeptical of him, of course.
: You are freed of Shao Kahn's yoke. Baraka
: Tarkata now controls its own fate. Kotal Kahn
: Outworld is better for it.
- For one who died before she was ever born, Nightwolf has some respect for Cassie Cage. In some ways the feeling is mutual.
Nightwolf: You also inherit a mantle.
Cassie: Being Cage 2.0 isn't as cool as being Nightwolf.
Nightwolf: Do not sell your family short.
- The Terminator's tower ending. No, really. After seizing control of Kronika's hourglass and realizing that the war between man and machine will always end in mutually assured destruction no matter how many times history is restarted, he creates a new future where they coexist peacefully together, then self-terminates by throwing himself into the Sea of Blood, taking all knowledge of the hourglass with him.
Cassie: [narrating] If you could ask him about it, he'd tell you he made the only logical choice. But in my book, that machine's a hero.
- According to one of the intros, at least one Terminator was sent to protect Kitana, and another was reprogrammed by Jax to help the good guys.
- Sindel's interaction with D'Vorah is a massive Pet the Dog moment for the now-dead Mileena.
Sindel: You betrayed Mileena, D'Vorah.
D'Vorah: Why care for that disgusting clone?
Sindel: She was as much my daughter as Kitana.
- Once again, someone calls Sub-Zero "Grandmaster Blueberry Ice," this time it is Joker. Kuai Liang states that only Johnny Cage can get away with calling him that, shows that despite how annoying he is to everyone else, Sub-Zero respects him enough to let him joke around.
- In one of Raiden and Spawn's dialogues, Raiden says the hellspawn reminds him of another dark knight. This is Spawn's response:
Spawn: The billion-dollar crusader? He's a friend.
- Which is pretty ironic considering that Spawn and Batman infamously hated each other in the original crossover comic.
- There may have never been a more precious image in Mortal Kombat history than Scorpion aggressively spearing... a giant teddy bear in for a cuddle as the first revealed Friendship of the modern series. It seems that Scorpion does like teddies after all. What makes this more heartwarming is when one takes into consideration that Scorpion, a revenant who runs on rage and revenge, previously regained his humanity as Hanzo. It makes sense that the revenant Scorpion would hate teddies, whereas the more human Hanzo would happily snuggle with a teddy.
- Kitana's friendship more than qualifies. She throws her fans to the ground defiantly before out comes... Mileena! The two play patty cake with each other before ending with a loving hug. With how much Kitana never considered Mileena anything more than a disgusting evil clone of herself, this is absolutely precious.
- A meta-example, but given the nightmare the animators had to go through to the point that at least one of them developed PTSD, seeing that they get to make the same kind of finishers in a lighthearted goofy way is a heartwarmer.
- This is most likely why Friendships were added into the game. While this could be seen as adding a layer of cynical damage control to the addition of Friendships, anything to see the Kombatants smile for a change is nice to see.
- More importantly, this offers a more in-character conclusion to certain match-ups - Johnny Cage, for example, would never perform a Fatality on Cassie or Sonya.
- Some of RoboCop's intros have these:
- One of these with Jax has the latter remember Kurtis Stryker, referring to him as "Super Cop" and Murphy lamenting he couldn't meet him. One with Spawn has the latter empathize with Murphy over the hell of being resurrected. He even finds a mentor in Fujin.
- One of his intros with Cassie has her ask "Something wrong, Murphy?" Not only is it just sweet of her to ask, the fact that she calls him Murphy and Robo has no problem with it says a lot.
- A small one, but in some of his interactions, Johnny Cage wants the other fighters to help him with a film idea, but they respond with a firm no. RoboCop, however, is the only one who is willing to help him in some way.
RoboCop: How can I help you, Cage?
Johnny Cage: Research! I'm a robot cop in my next blockbuster.
RoboCop: What do you want to know?
- When Sub-Zero ask RoboCop if his soul is still intact, he replies that despite OCP best efforts, it still is. Sub-Zero immediately says that he might still be worthy of the Lin Kuei. Sub-Zero knows a thing or two about being a Cybernetic Warrior against with no choice, so not only does he believe in Murphy's words, but he also believes he is worthy to be Lin-Kuei.
- Like the aforementioned one with Spawn, one intro with Scorpion sees Hanzo sympathize with Murphy losing his family due to what happened to him. Another sees Hanzo relieved that Murphy avenged his death at the hands of Boddicker.
- Fujin's Arcade ending. Though he grew fond of mortals through observing them, Fujin realizes that he lacks understanding of the deeper intricacies of mortal life. He uses Kronika's hourglass to live hundreds of thousands of lifetimes in various mortal incarnations, encompassing all species, genders, and even faiths. With this experience, he becomes a Messianic Archetype and forges a timeline of peace between mortals, with himself living among them.
- In Fujin's chapter during the Aftermath DLC, he is able to relate with Present!Jax's situation as a man concerned for his loved ones and is successfully able to make him turn back to the side of good before he confronts and fights Jacqui and Past!Jax.
Present!Jax: Dammit, Fujin. You know what I've suffered. Kronika's my one chance to prevent all that. Not just for me, but for Jacqui. For Vera! Shit, you're a god. Ain't no way you get how this feels.
Fujin: You know the only time Raiden and I ever fought? When I left the Sky Temple, to live among humans. "Do not become attached to them, Fujin. Sentiment will only impede the execution of your duty." But warriors like you and I, we are strengthened by sentiment. We do not fight to kill enemies. We fight to protect our loved ones. That is why it cuts so deeply when we fail.
Present!Jax: Well, I'll be. Maybe you do get it.
Fujin: Kronika knows your pain. She manipulates you with it. Jacqueline is on her way here. Kronika expects you to fight her. Worse, even, break her heart. Is that someone who cares one whit about you or your family?
- Again from Aftermath: a blinded Shao Kahn gets rescued from his imprisonment by Sindel, and later they share some sentimental moments together. Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other at its finest, even if said love for each other is quite shallow.
Shao Kahn: Wife, I have missed you. If Quan Chi were here, I'd hoist him up by the ankles, and split him through for all the time he stole from us...
Sindel: Soon we will have the hourglass. Eternity will be our empire!
Shao Kahn: [Growls, smiles, and embraces Sindel] We'll have all the time we need.