You wouldn't expect a Mortal Kombat game to hit you in the feels, but this game doesn't just tug at your heartstrings...it rips them out!
Per wiki policy, Spoilers Off applies to Tear Jerker pages. All spoilers are unmarked.
- Pictured above: the end of the first chapter in Story Mode. Sonya sacrifices herself to ensure the Revenant Liu Kang's fortress is destroyed, leaving Cassie to deliver the worst news anyone can give to someone's husband...
- When Sonya starts the detonation sequence for the explosives, Cassie pleads with Jacqui to override the sequence only to be told there is no override command. Despite this, Cassie still desperately tries to dig through the rubble that Sonya is buried under, until Jacqui, who's clearly unhappy about doing so, reminds her of their orders to withdraw, to which Cassie reluctantly complies.Cassie: General? ... Mom?! MOM!
- Johnny Cage is present when the Special Forces return from the Netherrealm, clearly relieved to see Cassie alright until he asks where Sonya is and notices Cassies grief-stricken expression, realizing what had happened. All Cage can do is console his daughter who breaks down in his arms sobbing.
- It's especially gut wrenching since it comes right on the heels of seeing how healthy and even affectionate Sonya's relationship with both Cassie and Johnny had become in the aftermath of Shinnok's defeat. Talk about a Happy Ending Override...
- Even worse is that despite the operation being successful, it becomes a Senseless Sacrifice when Kronika undoes the damage to Revenant Liu Kang's fortress. And even with Kronika's meddling with the timelines and having brought back people of the past to the current timeline, Cassie never gets to see her mother alive again; only a past version of her mother who is young enough to be her sister.
- Past Sonya's reaction to finding out about her future self's death. After reading the mission report, she mistakenly believes that her own future daughter simply left her to die and confronts Cassie about it.Past Sonya: Dammit Cassie, you abandoned me?!
Cassie: To save the company! That was my order!
Past Sonya: Who the hell gave you that order?!
Cassie: YOU DID!
- And if their intro dialogue is anything to go by, she at least partially, if not entirely, blames Raiden, and isnt about to forgive him anytime soon.Cassie: My trust in you cost me Mom.Raiden: How can I ever make amends?
- When Sonya starts the detonation sequence for the explosives, Cassie pleads with Jacqui to override the sequence only to be told there is no override command. Despite this, Cassie still desperately tries to dig through the rubble that Sonya is buried under, until Jacqui, who's clearly unhappy about doing so, reminds her of their orders to withdraw, to which Cassie reluctantly complies.
- Throughout the early stages of the story mode, we learn how Jax becoming a Shell-Shocked Veteran after regaining his humanity, the memories of the things he was forced to do as Quan Chi's Revenant, and the death of his wife sent him over the Despair Event Horizon and forced him to accept an honorable discharge. By the end of Chapter 5, when Earthrealm's communications networks have gone down, Jacqui is worried about her father following her failed attempts to contact him. We then see Jax having an honest-to-god panic attack as he is unable to hear from Jacqui. It's little wonder he agrees to join Kronika not long after...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!
- Some of the interactions between characters are light-hearted, others not so much:Jade: In the future you're dead, I'm a Revenant.
Baraka: I prefer my fate to yours.
Jade: I must agree, Baraka.
- Raiden and Shao Kahn also have a darker intro, which also perfectly showcases the contrast between them:
- Scorpion vs Scorpion has both of them lamenting over the fact that their respective families are gone forever. One Scorpion openly admits that they should have taken Raiden up on his offer back in Mortal Kombat 9 , to which the other Scorpion agrees.
- Frost and Sub-Zero have their own unique exchange, which highlights just how far Frost has fallen. Sub-Zero outright tells Frost he would have given her everything shed asked for... if only she hadnt tried to take it by force.Frost: I was your heir apparent!
- An interaction between Noob Saibot and Frost highlights just how desperate Frost craves recognition that she'll turn to Noob Saibot for approval, only to be rejected in a harsher manner than Sub-Zero had:Frost: You should have been Grandmaster.Noob Saibot: I would not allow female Lin Kuei.Frost: (visibly crushed) You're worse than Kuai Liang!
- Noob Saibot has one with Scorpion, showcasing just how far gone the former Sub-Zero is.
- One between D'Vorah and Sub-Zero, highlighting the respect Kuai had for Scorpion:
- One intro dialogue between Kitana and Liu Kang shows how difficult their relationship is in the face of Outworld's Fantastic Racism towards humans:Kitana: Kotal's right, we must end this.Liu Kang: But we have only just begun, Kitana.
- This intro dialogue between Geras and Baraka hints at how sad Geras' life is:Geras: Your tribe is so populous.Baraka: How many are in yours?Geras: I am eternally alone.
Geras: ... Perhaps Mortals do not need a Lord of Time. I will sacrifice my body and my mantle to re-sculpt the Sands so the Hourglass runs itself. And in the first time for all eternity... I can rest in peace...
- As shown in his arcade ending, Geras is revealed to be a Punch-Clock Villain and Death Seeker who is tired of Kronika using him for her dirty work, and after finally getting sick of her, he realizes how hard it is to create a perfect timeline. Recognizing this is what corrupted his master, he sacrifices himself to the Hourglass, giving it the capacity to run autonomously and finally allowing him to die.
- Jacqui's arcade ending, where she realizes all the suffering her father has been put through and alters time so that Jax never gets killed by Sindel. This results in Jax having a much better life, but at the cost of him never meeting Vera during his recovery. As Jacqui begins to fade away, she tearfully says goodbye to her father and that she loves him.
- Jacqui and Jax's situation in the main story itself is sad too: we learn that atop the suffering we know of, that both of them lost Vera a year before, making Jax even more sorrowful and regretful to the point that he chucks in with Kronika in hopes of preventing it all. The hurt on both father and daughter's faces when faced with his choice tells volumes.
- Liu Kang's arcade ending has him using him using his power over Kronika's hourglass to replace the Elder Gods Cetrion betrayed with himself, Kitana, Kung Lao, Raiden, and Bo' Rai Cho. But by doing so, he gives up any chance of him and Kitana ever having a normal life. And to drive home the bitterness of this ending, Liu Kang ponders what could have been and sees himself and Kitana, both still mortals, getting married in a cherry blossom grove.
- Hanzo and Sub-Zero finding the mutilated remains of the Lin Kuei students that the Tekunin kidnapped and converted into cyborgs. While Sub-Zero grieves in quiet anger, Hanzo, no doubt empathizing with Kuai Liang given what happened to his family and the Shirai Ryu, vows that they will avenge their deaths.
- Cyrax's reaction to his cyberized state after he is freed from Sektor's control. He begs Sub-Zero not to bring him back online until they can find a way to make him human again.
- Jade's infiltration of the Tarkatan camp involves her coming face to face with a Tarkatan woman. Instead of holding her ground as Jade expected, she's... absolutely terrified. It's here she realizes that the Tarkatan reputation for bloodlust doesn't necessarily mean all of them are fighters by nature. Jade tries to calm her down to find Baraka's whereabouts until more of the camp's group notices her squad. After Kotal has his troops storm the place in response to seeing them mobilize, he has them all rounded up to be executed as he had before the time distortion, including the woman Jade had met before. Jade, unable to stomach witnessing such a pointless genocide, attempts to reason with and is forced to fight her fiance, knocking him out just in time for reinforcements from Shao Kahn's inner circle to come investigate and imprison them all.
- Hanzo's death in the arms of his past Revenant self after D'Vorah fatally poisons him. He spends his last moments pleading to his past self that his new Shirai Ryu clan is worth preserving, more than his vengeance.
- And when he goes to see the heroes, his reaction at seeing the Red Gardens was enough to move him, seeing what Hanzo told him was true.
- Even worse, in Scorpion's Arcade ending, even though his future self told him not to dwell on the past, past Scorpion still can't resist the chance to change the timeline in order to ensure that his family survives... only to find that he can't: no matter what timeline it is, his family will always die. Eventually, he figures out a reason why that might be: Kronika was a Titan, a creature even more powerful than an Elder Gods. And there are still more out there. Blaming them for the loss of his family, Scorpion wages a one-man war on them, once again dooming him to a eternal lifetime of vengeance; exactly the opposite of what his future self wanted.
- It's not much better in Story Mode, when Kronika sets off a Time Crash and undoes past Scorpion's redemption, on top of the aforementioned Eternal Recurrence of Hanzo losing his family.
- Past Raiden nearly succumbs to the evil influence of Shinnok's amulet as his future self did, lashing out at past Scorpion and Liu Kang and even beginning to manifest red lightning. The only thing that stops him from Jumping Off the Slippery Slope all over again is Liu Kang solemnly remarking "Enough of your madness. If you must die, so be it." Raiden then has a multi-timeline Flash Back of every single time he has been brought to blows with Liu Kang across the entire franchise, and realizes that Kronika has been steering his hand to put him at odds with his trusted friend again and again. He drops to his knees in anguish at the revelation.
- The ending. Liu Kang has become the God of Fire and defeated Kronika, but everyone except him, Raiden (who is now mortal), and potentially Kitana (only if you manage to defeat Kronika without losing any rounds) is gone. Kronika has succeeded in enacting her own version of Armageddon by wiping the slate clean and creating a brand new timeline. The only consolation is that Kronika's hourglass is now in Liu Kang's hands and can now be used for more constructive purposes.
- The fact that so many important story events have either been rendered moot or are potentially doomed to repeat themselves.
- Shao Kahn may once again usurp Onaga as Emperor of Outworld.
- Johnny and Sonya might never marry or have Cassie. Johnny himself might once again end up dying repeatedly.
- Jax may never receive bionic upgrades or have Jacqui.
- Hanzo Hasashi may once again be doomed to become Scorpion and witness his family and clan wrongfully murdered.
- Bi-Han may once again be transformed into Noob Saibot and become a powerful force of evil.
- Everything Raiden tried to prevent was All for Nothing.
- Kuai Liang may not become Sub-Zero.
- If another incarnation of Kitana exists, she may once again have to endure her home realm of Edenia and her family taken from her by Shao Kahn.
- Kotal may once again be doomed to be wrongfully imprisoned by Shao Kahn and tortured by Shang Tsung. He may never even succeed Shao as Kahn of Outworld.
- The Krypt shows Kenshi's decaying corpse, having failed in his mission to take revenge on Shang Tsung for the deaths of his ancestors and leaving Takeda an orphan. A pretty harsh Player Punch for a good number of players, especially since it was Shang Tsung himself who killed him and escaped justice. It remains to be seen if the events of the Krypt are canon, though.
- As you enter Goro's Lair in the Krypt, you'll get a cutscene of Shang Tsung wistfully reminiscing about the now-dead Goro, saying that he was his favorite champion and he misses him dearly.
- The new version of Goro's Lair, which is not only suffering from twenty plus years of neglect, but sitting in his throne is none other than Goro...'s rotting corpse. It's a bit tough seeing a series icon like him in such a state.
- Johnny's "$500 Sunglasses" brutality, as silly as it is, is still saddening to hear certain Kombatant's last words before they die. While some are comedic, some are downright depressing.
- Sub-Zero: Finally...Jade or Kitana: Spare me...Jade: Gods no...Skarlet: You can't!Geras: Again...Cetrion (in a scared tone): Mercy!Cetrion: Mother, help-Sonya: Wait!Johnny: Not like this!Kung Lao: Please!Frost: So cold...
- One intro for a Mirror Match between two Liu Kangs reveals a surprisingly tragic reason for their fight.