Warning: Unmarked spoilers for Mortal Kombat 9. Read at your own risk.
Mortal Kombat X (pronounced "Mortal Kombat Ecks") 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. Releases for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 were scheduled, but were cancelled in August 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 Netherrealm and Earthrealm with newer warriors fighting for the sake of their dimensions.
At its core, Mortal Kombat X retains the gameplay mechanics featured in the 2011 game, being a 2½D 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.
A mobile, namesake tie-in game was released on iOS on April 7, 2015 and on Android on May 5, 2015. Like with the Injustice games, players assemble tag teams of 3 fighters. The fighters take the form of cards, wnd can be upgraded by gaining experience, equipping artifacts upon them, and teaching them new attacks. This version takes every variation and creates a new character upon each of them. With the announcement of 11, it's been confirmed that there won't be a tie-in game with it, and that instead this game would be upgraded with new characters and renamed Mortal Kombat.
Followed by Mortal Kombat 11.
- From Mortal Kombat: Liu Kang, Scorpion, Raiden, Reptile, Johnny Cage, Sonya Blade, Kano.
- From Mortal Kombat II: Sub-Zero, Kung Lao, Kitana, Mileena, Jax.
- From Mortal Kombat 3: Ermac.
- From Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance: Kenshi.
- From Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero: Quan Chi, Shinnok.
- Newcomers: Cassie Cage, D'Vorah, Ferra/Torr, Kotal Kahn, Takeda, Kung Jin, Jacqui Briggs, Erron Black.
- From Mortal Kombat: Goro.
- From Mortal Kombat 4: Tanya.
- From Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance: Bo Rai Cho.
- From Mortal Kombat: Special Forces: Tremor.
- Newcomers: Tri-Borg.
- Guest Characters: Jason Voorhees, Predator, Xenomorph, Leatherface.
- the franchise's Developers' Foresight page
- the franchise's Shout Out page
- the franchise's Stage Fatality page
- the Continuity Nod page
- the Mythology Gag page
The 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.
- Actor Allusion: Besides referencing Aliens, Johnny Cage shouting "Game over Man!" and having additional intros with the Alien likely seems to reference Andrew Bowen being The Other Darrin for Hudson in Aliens: Colonial Marines.
- In the Latin American Spanish version, it's not the first time Rebeca Patiño has voiced a no-nonsense general.
- All There in the Manual: Multiple characters refer offhandedly to events that are only really explained in detail in the tie-in comics, such as Sub-Zero's defeat of the cyber-Lin Kuei and rebuilding of the order.
- 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.
- Anti-Rage Quitting: If you quit an online match, your character's head explodes and your opponent wins with a "Quitality."
- Anti-Villain: Whereas there were plenty of vile villains under Shao Kahn's rule with few exceptions, Kotal Kahn's team fulfills this, if not stepping into Anti-Hero territory at times. While Reptile is still Outworld's Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds (and is even improving), Kotal Kahn is at worse a Well-Intentioned Extremist and Erron Black comes across as a Noble Demon. D'Vorah however, is an exception.
- Anti-Frustration Features: You can tag specific moves in your move list so they show on screen and toggle them on or off with a button press so you don't have to pause if you forgot your moves
- Apocalypse How: An Omniversal Metaphysical Annihilation in Shinnok's Arcade Ladder ending, and results in a Class X 5 or Class Z Apocalypse How. It involves him unsealing the One Being to merge all Realms and end reality once and for all.
- 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.
- One of Cassie Cage's Brutalities takes this trope to the point of self-parody; she does a Groin Attack so lethal her opponent's head pops off their shoulders.
- Those... things that erupt from the victim's body in Corrupted Shinnok's fatality.
- None of the characters suffer any ill effects from the Alien's blood spraying them as a result of attacks or fatalities, which canonically is a deadly acid, presumably for game balance reasons.
- 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 just for her to burst. The women get a vicious cameltoe instead.
- Beat Still, My Heart:
- Kotal Kahn's Be Mine! Fatality involves cutting through his opponent's chest and ripping out the heart. He then squeezes the blood from it into his mouth.
- Tanya's Edenian Drill Fatality involves her bursting through her opponent's torso feet first from their backs, holding their hearts when she comes out. It then begins to beat slowly to follow its owner's death.
- 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. E.g., damage progression is slowed downnote , and X-Ray damage doesn't compound, like it did in the last game.
- Boom, Headshot!: One of Cassie's brutalities, she shoots her opponent in the head with her pistol.
- Call-Back: In The Stinger, Raiden has completely lost patience with the cycle of other realms wrecking Earthrealm at will and getting away with it, as Earthrealm only seeks peace treaties once they've won rather than retribution. He pre-emptively threatens to destroy Netherrealm if they even so much as think about starting something. And his arcade ending shows him launching a surprise attack on a weakened Outworld. This is heavily based on Raiden's ending for Armageddon, where he decided to destroy all other realms besides Earthrealm so that there would simply be no one left to make attacks in the first place.
- In the beginning of Kung Jin's chapter of Story Mode, as the next-gen kombatants are entering the Outworld Marketplace, Jacqui makes a comment about how the realm looks; she expected the sky to be purple. In Konquest Mode of Mortal Kombat: Deception, the sky in the Outworld section is, in fact, purple.
- The Cameo: Several in the endings:
- Cassie Cage: Shujinko
- Ermac: Shang Tsung
- Erron Black: Shang Tsung
- Goro: Baraka
- Johnny Cage: Baraka, Shang Tsung
- Kenshi and Takeda: Taven, Daegon, Argus, Delia and Caro
- Kitana: Shao Kahn, Jade
- Shinnok: The One Being and the Elder Gods
- The same woman who possesses Jade in her Arcade ending in 9 in Kitana's Arcade ending.
- 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.
- 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!"
- More unknown to the general public but closer to the community are PakoStevens (Paulo Garcia, a Lead Designer at NRS also going by the name of "colt") and LoverOfTacos (another NRS employee)
- 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: Erron Black, based on pre-fight dialogue. Some examples: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: Characters 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 non-speaking characters, like Jason or Predator, are involved.
- Double-Meaning Title: 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.
- Double Take: Johnny Cage does one while looking at his cell phone at the "character select" screen.
- Dude, Not Funny!:
- Encapsulated in this interaction between Kenshi and Kano, which references him leaving Takeda.Kenshi: You're a scoundrel!
Kano: Says the deadbeat dad!
Kenshi: Even for you, that was low.
- This exchange between Kano and Raiden, considering the latter's actions in 9. Since it's Kano, this was likely very intentional.Kano: Hmm, the big cheese...
Raiden: This day will not end well for you...
Kano: *spits* Get your crystal ball fixed!
- This exchange between resident Jerkass Kung Jin and Scorpion, considering the latter's history as well:Scorpion: You are nothing but a thief.
Kung Jin: At least I have a family.
Scorpion: Do not provoke me!
- Kung Jin, in general, seems to revel at making light out of sensitive topics for the lulz. Notice him taunt Jacqui with "zombie dad" whenever Jax is brought up, despite the fact that it's clearly upsetting her.
- Encapsulated in this interaction between Kenshi and Kano, which references him leaving Takeda.
- Dysfunction Junction: The Cages. Dear GOD the Cages. After getting together and having a daughter, Johnny and Sonya split because she was 24/7 in her military-mode (either out of trauma or for other reasons) and didn't show any love to him or their daughter Cassie; Sonya treats Cassie less like a daughter that needs love and more like a soldier to train to fit increidibly high standards and even Johnny isn't that great of a father/teacher to Cassie either. And that's just from the story mode. In kombat, both Johnny and Cassie have lots of dark, twisted humor (if their fatalities are any indication); all three members of their family are more than capable of beating the living tar out of each other and break each other's bones for fun or training or even kill each other in horrifying ways and, if Cassie's Mirror Match dialogue is to be believed, she actually has a twin sister that the family's either trying to hide or that takes her place from time to time (and, you guessed it, can attack and kill her family without any remorse as well).
- The Briggs family isn't much better. Jax still suffers from PTSD and trauma from his Demonic Possession and blames himself for that; Jacqui also might suffer from PTSD due to her military missions (and thinks her father rejects her) and, once again, in kombat they're more than ok with beating each other to a pulp and killing each other.
- Everybody Lives: The Multiplayer takes place in an Alternate Universe in which everybody survived Story Mode. A few key differences separate 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.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good:
- Triborg, Shinnok and Quan Chi don't understand why Jax, Scorpion (if the player chooses the Hanzo Hasashi skin) and Sub-Zero chose to embrace their humanity after being restored to life.
- Unlike many of his fellow revenants, Kung Lao secretly hates being one and wants to find a way to get out of the Netherrealm for good, but couldn't. But Kung Jin didn't give up hope, comes to his older cousin's aid, and redeems him in both of their arcade endings, enabling Kung Lao's Heroic Willpower to overcome the taint that bound him to the Netherrealm and escape to rejoin the side of light, something which neither Quan Chi nor Shinnok didn't expect. While it may be very hard for a revenant to embrace positive emotions as they were corrupted to the point of extreme hatred, it also shows that Heroic Willpower and familial bonds are things that neither Shinnok nor Quan Chi won't understand, a la Lotso the Hugging Bear's assumptions regarding Ken and Barbie or Lord Voldemort's thoughts on Harry Potter and his parents.
- EX Special Attack: Enhanced specials return from Mortal Kombat 9.
- Eye Scream: Once again, several X-Ray moves, Fatalities, and Brutalities 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: Along with the well-known Fatalities, Mortal Kombat X also includes Brutalities. They're normal moves done when the opponent is at critical health, which takes the move Up to Eleven (such as decapitating punches) 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. Also, a figure in the background, dressed in a black hood, attempts to fight off vicious dogs.
- 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.
- Five-Second Foreshadowing: The battle with Shinnok in Klassic tower is the only fight where the announcer will say Round 3 instead of Final round
- Gameplay Story Segregation
- In a cutscene of Story Mode, The Doors for the Jinsei Temple close, in the Sky Temple stage of the very next fight however they are open.
- You can do Scorpion's klassic "Toasty!" fatality even when using the Hanzo Hasashi skin (which basically means Scorpion rips off his human face).
- 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: 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. Johnny Cage's Nut Punch is also present, and Cassie inherits her father's penchant for low blows as well.
- Guide Dang It!:
- The Stage Fatalities Added with the XL update. Nowhere in the game are each character's inputs mentioned. You have to either guess them, or look them up online.
- The game has several secret brutalities, including Stage Brutalities, whose requirements are not hinted at. Good luck figuring them out on your own!
- Hammerspace: Zig-zagged. The game does a good job of incorporating The Law of Conservation of Detail— characters generally wear whatever weapons they use on their person, and said weapons come out of their holsters in real time with certain attacks/idle animations, but items can also sometimes disappear and reappear out of necessity (for example, Jason can throw his machete, at which point it magically reappears in his hands after the move).
- HeelFace Turn: 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.
- Heroic Willpower: This is shown to be needed for a revenant to become human again without Quan Chi.
- Hit Stop: Occurs when certain environmental weapons are used.
- 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 women's outfits are designed to be more believable female attire.
- Mileena's new character design gives her more human-like lips...bordered by her trademark razor-sharp Tarkatan teeth.
- Ink-Suit Actor: As shown here, a lot of the characters resemble the voice actors portraying them.
- Kneel Before Zod: One of Kotal Kahn's command throws in his Sun God variation forces the opponent to kneel, while Kahn taunts him/her with "On your knees!"
- Knife Nut: Kano.
- 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.
- Leave No Survivors: Predator. Even if he doesn't use a finishing move on you when he wins, he'll still rip off your skull and add it to his trophy collection.
- Similarly, the Alien abducts its defeated opponents and plants a Chestburster in them.
- Limit Break: The super bar from 9 returns with the same functions (Enhanced, Breaker, X-Ray).
- Machete Mayhem: Jason Voorhees in his "Slasher" variation.
- 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 alternate-universe counterparts, secret twin siblings, copies made by Shang Tsung, or Shang Tsung himself.
- 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 Marketplace 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."
- Nostalgia Level: After two canonical games full of nostalgia-based arenas (a canonical Dream Match Game and a Continuity Reboot), we finally get a game with plenty of new arenas. However, that doesn't mean that some arenas didn't return for this game, as we get the Lin Kuei Palace, Quan Chi's Fortress and Raiden's Sky Temple. The Kombat Pack 2 also brings The Pit.
- 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). Sonya is also prone to using internet slang in mid-match taunts, not unlike Johnny and Cassie, such as "Spoiler alert" or "KTFO"note .
- 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. Then the stage fatality reveals that there's a kraken underneath the bridge.
- 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.
- Only in It for the Money: Cowboy assassin Erron Black. During or before fights, he'll say things like "It's just money/business. Nothing personal," and "I'll stop if you pay me."
- 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 (if only for the aforementioned chewing-gum gag). Unsurprisingly, High-Pressure Blood is still in effect with this.
- Pun: Erron Black's intro against Predator has him quip "Papers, please." Because the Predator is an alien. Made even more relevant by the fact that Erron Black is from a time in which no one knew about the concept of extraterrestrials.
- Quizzical Tilt: Jason, true to character, does this during one of his idle animations, as well as at the character select screen, between rounds, and during his Slasher-variation throw.
- Rage Quit: Doing this triggers a "Quitality," where your character's head explodes on-screen as a punishment.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Team S-F, full stop. You got two Army enlistees - one whose father was a revenant and the other whose parents are divorced, with her mom being their boss - a Shirai Ryu ninja with Daddy Issues in the past, and a Shaolin Archer who is Badass Gay. And to top it off, it was Johnny Cage who had put the team togethet.
- 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.
- Liu Kang's moveset contains many lightning-fast punches as well kicks.
- 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.
- Rejecting the Inheritance: Due to Parental Abandonment, this is the case with father Kenshi Takahashi and son Takeda Takahashi. As Kenshi was running undercover missions for the Special Forces, he had to protect his wife Suchin who, unbeknownst to him, gave birth to Takeda. As such, Kenshi never knew he had a son, only after his cover was blown during a covert ops mission and the Red Dragon told him of such fact, and Takeda resented him for not being there when he needed it, to the point of even rejecting the inheritance of Kenshi's telepathy.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: Being the son of a telepath also has its perks.
Takeda: I didn't used to think so.(...)Takeda (to Kenshi): Ten years. No visits, nothing. You abandoned me... I was eight! My mother had just died! Now you come back; think you can jump right in as the proud dad?! (...) To Hell with you! I am NOT your son!.
- Revenue-Enhancing Devices: Purchases of the Blue Steel Sub-Zero and Krimson Ermac costumes go towards prize pools of various tournaments for the game.
- 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).
- Say My Name: Many intros start with one character saying the name of the opponent as they lock eyes.
- 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 possessed 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.
- Serial Escalation: The X-Ray attacks inMK 9 were very brutal and many would be pretty crippling, but most could be potentially survived. in MKX, many of them would be completely fatal, with a shockingly large amount involving outright stabbing or shooting the opponent in the face. But just like MK 9, opponents will get back up without any issue as long as the blow doesn't completely deplete their health.
- Secret Character: You can play as Cyber Sub-Zero by selecting Triborg and quickly pressing up up Triangle/Y
- Ship Tease: Pre-match dialogue indicates that Mileena and Tanya are, if not in a relationship, then engaged in a fling with each other. Tremor even calls Tanya Mileena's concubine. Johnny Cage also implies that Mileena has had sex with Baraka.
- 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 different stages will also leave sand, water, mud, etc. on the player models.
What's also cool is that the visible damage is determined by the type of attacks used against a character. If you face someone with bladed weapon(s) or claws, expect to see cuts and gashes on the player model. The gun-toting Erron Black, Jax, Jacqui Briggs, and Cassie Cage will literally leave their opponents full of holes, and if you face Rain note , your character's attire and skin will be visibly wet by the end of the fight.
- Shown Their Work: NRS did an extensive research while designing Kotal Khan, making him quite possibly the most accurate depiction of an aztec god (Huitzilopochtli) in western media to date.
- 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 and/or hissed.
- Swiss Cheese Security: Shinnok's Amulet is stated to be heavily guarded by both the Special Forces and Shaolin, and yet Mileena was somehow able to steal it and use it against Kotal Kahn without anyone in Earthrealm noticing.
- Tamer and Chaster: In this game, where female characters (most notably Kitana) wear clothes that cover more that previous entries as the design team strive for outfits that were more realistic while still appealing.
- 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.
- Scorpion also has "Teleport" in all variations, Mileena has a variation that teleports
- 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 Liu Kang and Johnny Cage grew beards in the time skip, or in Kano's case, grew it out longer. Kung Lao's, however, is non-canon. Raiden also gets one, though only as part of his Future skin.
- 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.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight:
- 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.
- Unwinnable by Mistake: In a tower with random modifiers, dragon challenges can often end up impossible to successfully do. An example is being asked to do 7 uppercuts, which becomes impossible with the "No Turtling" modifier on.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: OK, so this is Mortal Kombat we're talking about, i.e. gruesomely killing your opponent is nothing new, but this is more present here than in any other game of the series, as you can have parents and children casually mutilating each other. And it's not like they have a dysfunctional relationship (except Takeda and Kenshi - but even this one's resolved relatively quickly - and Cassie and Sonya - who don't even hold any animosity towards each other).
- A Wizard Did It: Most of the Mirror Match banter basically says "Shang Tsung made a clone/disguise, now stop having an existential crisis and fight".
- "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, later renamed to "Kove" in subsequent demos. "Krossroads" and "Refugee Kamp" likewise got "korrected" spelling in later builds after their initial reveals. In fact this game probably has the most indulgent use of the "k-as-a-hard-c" the series has seen in quite some time. The move lists will even make use of this trend (like calling the uppercut the "Upper-Kut").
- 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
- 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...
- All There in the Manual: The prequel comic series fleshes out some of the things that happened in the 25-year interregnum between the previous game and this one, such as the Outworld Civil War and the fate of certain characters. While some chapters do have flashbacks, they only explain a few things such as how Scorpion, Sub-Zero and Jax came back to life, thus making the comics a How We Got Here to the game.
- 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.
- And I Must Scream: 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.
- Anyone Can Die: Between the comics and Story Mode, much like the previous game, this one isn't shy about killing characters off.
- Appeal To Familial Wisdom: In issue #5, Cassie Cage is locked in a deathmatch against Frost, who dominates her. After Frost's Evil Gloating, Cassie begins her Heroic Second Wind saying "Hate to disappoint you, Elsa, but like my 'rich daddy' says, 'you can't fake a comeback'!".
- 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, Mavado, Havik, Reiko, and Kintaro 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.
- 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 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 screeching halt. And while the Enemy Civil War in Outworld is over, with Mileena, Baraka, and most of the rebels either dead, jailed or incapacitated, Earthrealm has renewed its hostility towards Outworld, so there is a chance that Dark Raiden will take action quickly and go on the offensive against other realms (with Outworld topping the hit list), as shown in his Ladder ending. And in Quan Chi's ending, the corrupted thunder god might pose an even bigger threat to all realms, possibly far worse than the Netherrealm's new rulers Liu Kang and Kitana, if Raiden gets the idea of destroying potential threats to Earthrealm.
- 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 later appears in Issue #36, and King Gorbak (Goro's father and the Shokan king) appears during issues #13 to #21. Gorbak had previously appeared in the MKII official comic and the Malibu comics line, so for those who 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's 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.
- 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. Half-averted for Armageddon kombatants Taven and Daegon, whose story mostly takes place as it did in the last timeline, though only told in Kenshi and Takeda's endings. Half, because Daegon felt Sento's bite in Kenshi's ending for killing Suchin.
- 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 characters, 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 MK9 while Johnny and Sonya take on Jax, who has a whole different set of mechanical arms.
- 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 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. Although after Havik got defeated, Ermac turns on her.
- 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.
- Creator Cameo: In the flashback of chapter #23 of the comics, it's revealed that Johnny Cage lives in the same building as Netherrealm Studios' Ed Boon and Tyler Lansdown, among others.
- 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.) Johnny references this in the next game.D'Vorah: Why not come closer?
Johnny Cage: Ugh, you are not sucking my face like Mileena's.
D'Vorah: Johnny Cage, afraid of a kiss?
- 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. By the time of Issue #22 Gorbak is dead as well and Goro starts a quest for power.
- The Determinator: Jax comes across as this if the player fails certain QTEs when facing revenant Liu Kang.
- 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 executed 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 by Scorpion and Shinnok, the real Big Bad, takes over.
- Dress-Coded for Your Convenience: Evil Costume Switch, Undeathly Pallor, Volcanic Veins, Glowing Eyes of Doom and Red Eyes, Take Warning apply to the brainwashed revenants.
- After becoming the Netherrealm's new rulers, Liu Kang and Kitana get darker outfits to reflect their role.
- 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 to 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 Takeda and Jacqui remain a couple throughout.
- Also the case for the comics, once Scorpion disposes of Havik and everyone else is restored Jax teaches Jacqui how to defend herself with a weapon while the Cage family is reunited again.
- 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 Baraka, Tanya 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 civil war ends with Mileena biting the dust.
- 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.
- FaceHeel Turn:
- Raiden, having been corrupted after cleansing the Jinsei Chamber of Shinnok's influence, decides to go on a warpath against those realms that have long harmed Earthrealm, using Shinnok's severed but still-alive head to make his point about not playing "Mr.Nice-Guy" anymore to the Netherrealm's new rulers - Liu Kang and Kitana. And his arcade ending indicates that he's set his sights on conquering other realms, with Outworld and the Netherrealm topping the hit list.
- Liu Kang and Kitana also underwent one, deciding that Evil Feels Good and assuming the Netherrealm's leadership with a glee after Shinnok's demise.
- Thus, this indicates any sense of the good thunder god, the virtuous Shaolin monk or the just princess of Edenia coming back is gone at this point.
- Averted for Kung Lao. He might look like he 'enjoyed' doing that based on his eagerness to beat up Raiden beforehand, but he secretly feels miserable if his Arcade End is to be trusted.
- 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 to 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.
- Raiden also says this trope word for word throughout the story. He calls the revenants and Shinnok's fate mentioned above this trope specifically.
- Five Rounds Rapid: Count how many times in Story Mode the SFs fire their assault rifles at evil revenants and gods of other dimensions, then count how many times said gunfire actually accomplishes anything.
- 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 Jacqui and Takeda to be born and for Kung Jin to be requited to the Shaolin.
- Fighting Your Friend: Due to most of the Earthrealm warriors dying in the previous game, Quan Chi turned them into revenants. Liu Kang, Jax, Kabal, Kitana, Kung Lao, Nightwolf, Sindel, Smoke, Kurtis Stryker, and Sub-Zero are under Quan Chi's control (alongside Scorpion) and you fight them all eventually. Raiden does manage to restore Scorpion, Sub-Zero and Jax to life, but Scorpion's Revenge Before Reason dooms the remaining fallen heroes to stay as revenants.
- 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 Liu Kang, Kitana & Kung Lao's costumes, which 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.
- For the first time Johnny (and Cassie) discover their powers and how they work, establishing that they activate when a loved one is in danger. Those powers, however, were avaliable since MK 9 for Johnny and can be used whenever their users want (and against whoever they want).
- 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 and Scorpion's call to his fellow Shirai Ryu assassins when claiming Quan Chi in order to kill him.
- Greater-Scope Villain: In Shinnok's arcade ending, the One Being seems to be behind the fallen Elder God's ambitions to merge all the realms, just as it did with Shao Kahn and Onaga in the past.
- HeelFace Door-Slam: Scorpion unwittingly does this to the revenant Earthrealmers who are still under Quan Chi's control by killing him.
- HeelFace 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. However, Scorpion unwittingly dooms the remaining revenants from being revived by killing Quan Chi, thereby denying Raiden a chance to free them from the necromancer's control.
- 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".
- Ignored Epiphany: Scorpion finally learns that Sub-Zero was never meant to be his mortal enemy, that he was framed for the death of his family and clan, and that his fits of rage were uncalled for. So that means Scorpion will finally stop making the poor revenge-driven decisions he's always been doing, right? No, he'll just switch his rage to someone else.
- 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. It's implied, however, that the now-corrupted Raiden will hunt him down, if not in retaliation, before he has the chance to strike at Earthrealm again.
- Karma Houdini Warranty: Three 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 threatening Cassie in Sonya's presence.
- At the end of Chapter 9, Quan Chi is decapitated by Scorpion.
- At the end of the final chapter, Shinnok is defeated by Cassie Cage, and The Stinger shows that he was decapitated by Raiden, effectively condemning him to a Fate Worse than Death.
- 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. Erron Black also states that he killed off Kobra as well, in pre-match dialog against Kano.
- The comic itself is adding to this body count, by killing off Hsu Hao, Mavado, King Gorbak, Reiko, Kintaro, Moloch, and Drahmin. The one character that seemed to avert this trope at first is Havik, who survived having his head torn off by Scorpion and wound up as an example of And I Must Scream....until Quan Chi executes him for his failure in the following issue.
- A complete list of everyone who has been killed can be found here.
- 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, all the remaining non-Revenant heroes survive, Quan Chi and Mileena are Killed Off for Real, Kano is in Special Forces custody, and Shinnok is decapitated yet still alive and in horrific pain.
- The Mole: D'Vorah was serving Shinnok behind the scenes all along.
- Monster from Beyond the Veil: In Mortal Kombat X, several of the heroes who were killed off in the last game are brought back as "revenants": evil, undead servants of necromancer Quan Chi and fallen Elder God Shinnok. Granted, some are eventually restored to life, but most of them remain bound to Shinnok due to Scorpion killing off Quan Chi without understanding why he was needed.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Scorpion, thy name is this trope (for a given value of "hero," at any rate). Hanzo's Revenge Before Reason outlook causes him to free Quan Chi from Special Forces custody, right when D'Vorah is coming to him to deliver Shinnok's amulet. Hanzo kills Quan Chi, but not before he finishes the incantation that frees Shinnok, putting the disgruntled Elder God in a perfect position to claim all the power of Earthrealm. Oh, also, Scorpion killing Quan Chi meant that Quan's other revenants are now forced to stay that way.
- Noodle Incident: In the start of Chapter 2, Cassie offhandedly mentions Darfur, Iran and Kurdistan (which is also mentioned by Jacqui in the final chapter), 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 with his one good eye intact.
- If the player succeeds with the QTEs Jax will dodge revenant Liu Kang's fireballs, but if the player fails Jax will be hit but shrug it off and keep walking forward.
- 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. With the necromancer Killed Off for Real, the revenants cannot be restored to life easily. 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.
- 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 as well as Quan Chi getting weaker (and by extension, his revenants) without Shinnok's aid.
- Not in This for Your Revolution: Pretty much all of Mileena's allies. Rain is just setting up a Divide and Conquer scenario, Tanya backs Mileena purely because she isn't as interested in Edenia as Kotal, Kano's in it for money as ever, and on the other side, D'Vorah was never committed to Kotal's cause.
- O.O.C. 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: The story mode's theme, with new faces being more in the forefront and old faces 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. 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."
- Play the Game, Skip the Story:
- Invoked Inverted Trope by way of an in-game option for skipping fights to progress through the story. There is a limit to how many times you can do this, based on how many "Skip Fight" tokens you have.
- 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.
- Praetorian Guard: The revenants seemingly serve as Quan Chi and Shinnok's Elite Mooks, being that they were brainwashed to serve the Netherrealm. Liu Kang and Kitana even willingly became the Co-Dragons, given their immense hatred of Raiden, and choosing to become the Netherrealm's new rulers after Shinnok's demise.
- 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.
- The comics show that the resurrected Sub-Zero implanted a virus that struck the entirety of the cyberized Lin Kuei in order to restore their free will; however, by this time, Sektor had already supplanted the cyberized ninjas with clones with no free will to speak of. Cyrax, being one of the first cyber Lin Kuei, had his humanity restored to him and turned on Sektor. When Sub-Zero killed him, the clones declared Cyrax the new Grandmaster, as he was now the last of the original Cyber Initiative. Cyrax then performed a Heroic Sacrifice, self-destructing and taking the entire Cyber Lin Kuei base with him, to allow Sub-Zero to start anew.
- 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. Six 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?
- Not even star Tarkatan Baraka is safe from this.
- 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.
- Reforged into a Minion: Several of the heroes who were killed off in the last game are revivied as undead minions of Quan Chi and Shinnok. Granted, some are eventually restored to life, but most of them remain bound to Shinnok due to Scorpion killing off Quan Chi without understanding why he was needed.
- Retirony: Inverted. Jax spends a decade as an undead revenant before being revived by Raiden and another decade quietly working on his wife's farm, before being convinced to help bring down Quan Chi, to which he succeeds at without injury. Then immediately played straight in a few characters' endings with him defending the Special Forces from an ambush in one, and in another, shot by an unnamed assassin.
- Revenant Zombie:
- This is what has become of everyone who died in Mortal Kombat 9, barring 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.
- According to MKX lore, this is what Jason Voorhees is.
- Revenge Before Reason: Scorpion couldn't care less for letting the other fallen Earthrealm warriors return to life: he's gonna kill Quan Chi for destroying the Shirai-Ryu and his family and manipulating him, and there's nothing anyone can do to stop him.
- However, this is somewhat rectified in the Arcade Ending, where he realizes that his actions caused by his blind vengeance nearly doomed Earthrealm, so much so that he even contemplates atoning through Hara-Kiri.
- Sequel Hook: The story mode ends with the still revenants Liu Kang and Kitana ruling Netherrealm. Dark Raiden vows to go on the offensive to defend Earthrealm.
- 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.
- 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.
- The comic also shows that Hanzo's wife and son were killed by being frozen in ice, despite the previous game establishing that Bi-Han killed them with a sword.
- 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. This was later rectified, since the comics has shown him having turned on Mileena after Havik got his head ripped off, because he believes that Outworld needs proven leadership.
- Finally, in Chapter 4 of the game, Kotal Kahn tells the Special Forces that Outworld had no saying about where Shinnok's amulet should be kept, then comes Issue #33 of the comics, where Raiden gives Kotal Kahn the choice to keep the amulet, which he refuses as Outworld was in the middle of a civil war.
- Shooting Lessons From Your Parents: The prequel comic implies this was the case for Jacqui Briggs after her and Cassie's ordeal through Outworld. With Jax giving her a handgun at the end and promising her how to use it.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!:
- Scorpion cold-cocks Quan Chi with a rigid backhand when the sorcerer tries to smooth things over with the man whose family he killed and whom he manipulated into being his servant.
- Quan Chi doesn't finish his opening sentence before Jax uppercuts him into a wall, knocking him out.
- 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.
- Spectator Casualty: You can throw audience members at the opponent, killing them.
- The Stinger: See Sequel Hook above.
- The Slow Walk: When Kotal Kahn invades Earthrealm at the game's climax, when he orders his army to go after Cassie's squad, Ermac and Erron Black both walk forward slowly in contrast to everyone else charging forward.
- Talking Is a Free Action: Scorpion would still have doomed the revenants, but Shinnok would have been foiled had Quan Chi not had the magical ability to say an entire incantation in the span of time it took an amulet to be thrown his way. The scene is in slow motion, but his talking is clearly not slowed down nearly as much as the ninja's sword, which doesn't touch him at all until the slow motion ends, at which point it instantly decapitates him.
- 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.
- Damn near everybody with the pre-fight dialogue. The returning characters have something nasty (or at least snarky) to say to one another before every fight, with VERY few exceptions.
- Trailers Always Spoil:
- The announcement trailer reveals Sub-Zero. And not only that, but human Sub-Zero, freely spoiling the fact that Sub-Zero not only survives being a revenant, but is also rebuilt as a human after being killed as a cyborg at the end of Mortal Kombat 9.
- The first 12 issues of the comicsnote also spoil, among other things, Scorpion coming back as a human.
- 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 revenants 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 formnote .
- 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, Hero?: Sonya and most of her team give one to Scorpion 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 her body, and thus the magic could have been nullified, either through Sindel's re-death at the hand of Nightwolf's sacrificial play, or Shao 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.
- The revenants may come off as cannon fodder in the story mode. If Quan Chi's power loss from Shinnok's absence carries over to his thralls, it may explain why all of the revenants are so easily walloped, particularly towards the end of the game.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After Quan Chi got his head hacked off by Scorpion while freeing Shinnok from his prison. Though Shinnok could have resurrected Quan in a snap, he basically says "sad he didn't live to see this" and keeps it moving. He decided right there he had no more use for Quan. Though, given what everybody know about Quan Chi's character, Shinnok was right to do that.
- Your Head A-Splode: Happens to a player when they quit an online match."QUITALITY."