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. The music that plays, "Broken Blade", certainly doesn't help, it being one of the saddest themes ever composed in the series.
- You can see the realization that Sonya is gone cross Johnny's face, and then you can see him push it all down to be strong for his daughter.
- 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!
- When Johnny is talking to Past Sonya, he makes a remark that they have one awesome daughter, but Past Sonya reminds him who she is. Johnny apologizes and says it's hard to tell, a harsh reminder that his Sonya is gone.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
Kitana: Outworlders will never accept us.
- 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.
- 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.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. Now think about the events of Aftermath...
- Kitana's arcade ending is bittersweet. She restores Edenia to existence — only to realize that the culture is completely foreign to her due to Shao Khan forbidding her to learn of her former home. She decides to use the ancient Edenia teachings to become a better Khan for Outworld, but it's still a downbeat note to her ending. She's been fighting to restore Edenia back since when she was introduced in Mortal Kombat II and almost 30 years later in this game, she finds out that, in her own words, she fits in with her people no better than a Tartakan.
- 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 Fire Garden restored 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 Thunder and 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.
- Kotal Kahn's shocking, horrible death. As Shao Kahn and Sindel's ship arrives on the shores of Kronika's Keep, Kotal's decapitated head gets thrown off the ship and into the ground. Not only does this mean that Jade lost Kotal a second time, but also how the Osh-Tekk are now truly extinct.
- 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...
Kotal Kahn or Kabal: How-?
Jade or Kitana: Spare me...
Jade: Gods, no...
Skarlet or Sonya: You can't...
Cetrion: (in a frightened tone) Mercy! / Mother, help-
Johnny: Not like this!
Cassie: Not this...!
Kung Lao: Please! / Don't!
Frost: So cold...
Scorpion: No more! / Finish me.
Shao Kahn: End it.
- One intro for a Mirror Match between two Liu Kangs reveals a surprisingly tragic reason for their fight.
- Terminator has one that is surprisingly sad with Nightwolf:
- Skarlet might have been evil to the core, but that doesn't make her completely devoid of sympathy.
- Noob, as barb-tongued and Made of Evil as can be, is also as much a victim of circumstance as characters such as Reptile or (original timeline) Sindel.
Noob: I was killed unjustly.
- Just a painful reminder of the injustice that made Noob who he is now:
Raiden: For that, Scorpion lost my trust.
Noob: That is not justice.
Noob: Still trading on my name?
- Remember how Noob hates the younger Sub-Zero using the mantle? There's a tragic reason for that.
Sub-Zero: A name you forsook long ago!
Noob: Not. Willingly.
- Sindel's ending, from Kitana's perspective. Sindel uses the Hourglass to return from her millennia-long stint of being dead to find Kitana has taken the Edenian throne and used her political sway to broker peace throughout the Realms. Sindel wastes no time in narrating her disappointment while beating her daughter into submission. The final image shows Kitana chained and collared at the foot of Sindel's throne, looking utterly broken.
- Spawn will always rebuff anyone who offers him a chance at redemption. By his own admission, he has done things that earned him his fate, thinking he is beyond redemption.
- RoboCop, or in this case, Murphy's past will always be part of him. Spawn and Scorpion can actually relate with him, given how they both were resurrected for the benefit of not their own and how they all lost the ones they love. In Scorpion's case, he says as much when RoboCop says his family is lost to him.
- The Aftermath DLC story continues right where things left off at the end of the main campaign. The first thing you may notice is that only Liu Kang and Raiden are there, at the Dawn of Time. The Golden Ending you get where Liu Kang has Kitana by his side? It's non-canon.
- And as for Kitana herself? She gets put through the wringer during this much darker take on the second half of the original story. Not long after she's just become the new Kahn of Outworld, Shang Tsung revives Sindel, who this Kitana (circa II) has not had the misfortune of getting killed by in a Brainwashed and Crazy state. Their reunion seems happy...until Sindel reveals herself to have been Evil All Along. Not only does Kitana have to watch as her own mother betrays her and destroy everything she's worked so hard for, not only does she get told the Awful Truth that Sindel was the true murderer of her biological father Jerrod, we get to witness her get beaten to near-death again by Sindel. In her moment of defeat, she desperately reaches for Liu Kang, only for Shao Kahn to cruelly step on his hand and separate the two. Her last moments spent in the story mode are being Forced to Watch as Shao Kahn tortures Liu kang to death and decapitates Kotal Kahn.
- Shang Tsung's machinations completely derail both sides of the conflict and ultimately screw everyone over, creating the worst possible timeline during the climax. Sheeva gets betrayed and possibly killed by Sindel. Geras possibly dies permanently at Shao Kahn's hands. The Special Forces and the current Outworld regime are all toppled and either captured or outright killed by Sindel, Shao Kahn, and Shang Tsung's coup d'etat. All of the Revenants die with no chance of redemption, instead of being spared by Liu Kang but erased by Kronika. Sindel and Shao Kahn, who truly loved each other and wanted an eternal empire, are betrayed and killed by Shang Tsung. Cetrion is forced to sacrifice herself early to empower Kronika, but it doesn't matter as Shang Tsung has reached borderline-Titan levels of power by wearing her crown and absorbing the souls of gods and the most powerful members of the cast. He then steals Kronika's soul and becomes a Titan. Everything worked for in the main story mode gets twisted and destroyed, leaving Shang Tsung the only victor and all the realms completely in disarray. And if you so choose, you can even have him kill Fire God Liu Kang an complete the intended outcome of his plan: become the only God and use his enslaved and corrupted minions, Dark Fujin and Dark Raiden, to enforce his rule and dooming the entire universe to an utterly bleak timeline. And it's all your fault. Have a nice day.
- The good ending that comes from choosing Fire God Liu Kang ends on a better, but still somewhat sad note. The rebooted trilogy timeline is still no more, and Shang Tsung's version of the rebooted timeline is so ruined beyond the point of repair that Liu Kang ends up hitting the Reset Button anyway. He had always intended to create his own New Era, but before doing that he had to watch all of his friends and loved ones suffer and die again in order to weed out and defeat Shang Tsung at the last possible moment. It's also a bit of a meta example, because from this point forward, Liu Kang is no longer the main character. In the new timeline, Liu Kang doesn't exist as a mortal anymore, resulting in a Kung Lao who did not have him as a training partner and rival growing up. However, Liu Kang does get to reunite with him in a new way: as his mentor for the upcoming Mortal Kombat tournament.