Prepare for Broken Bones: ‘Mortal Kombat X’ Is Coming

One of the biggest, most violent fighting game franchises ever is coming back for more. The next installment of the Mortal Kombat series has officially been announced by Ed Boon, the creative director of developer NetherRealm Studios. The game is called Mortal Kombat X, and it will be available sometime next year for PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.

The trailer shows the series’ most popular “kombatants” Scorpion and Sub-Zero duking it out in a nighttime forest level. They use their signature special moves, like Sub-Zero’s ability to temporarily freeze his enemies and Scorpion’s grappling hook attacks. And, as those familiar with the series might expect, the trailer ends with a brutal finishing move, or “fatality.”

The trailer’s YouTube description says, “Fueled by next-gen technology, Mortal Kombat X combines unparalleled, cinematic presentation with dynamic gameplay to create an unprecedented Kombat experience.” The game’s website calls Mortal Kombat X the “most brutal Kombat experience ever.” That might not be a big selling point for some non-bloodthirsty gamers, but it will certainly appeal to fans of the series.

What exactly the game will be like remains to be seen, as the trailer was probably made using CGI rather than in-game footage. However, the press release quotes Mr. Boon as saying, “Mortal Kombat has always been about over-the-top, visceral fighting and with Mortal Kombat X we wanted to utilize the power of new-gen consoles to give players our most intense game yet. The team has worked hard to make sure Mortal Kombat X delivers everything fans expect along with new characters, new game modes and an all-new graphics engine.”

For the first time in the series, Mortal Kombat X will feature different variations for each of the characters, letting players use tweaked fighting styles and strategies for each one. Online multiplayer will also play a large role in the game, although here too details are sparse. The press release says Mortal Kombat X “launches players into a persistent online contest where every fight matters in a global battle for supremacy.”

As for a single-player campaign mode, apparently players will “step into an original story showcasing some of the game’s most prolific characters including Scorpion and Sub-Zero, while introducing new challengers that represent the forces of good and evil and tie the tale together.” More information about the game is expected at the Electronic Entertainment Expo next week.

Because the game is also coming out for the last-generation consoles PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, there’s a limit to how good it will look on the current-gen systems PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. If it were made exclusively for the newest consoles, the developers could spend more time pushing the full capabilities of those powerful systems. Instead, the game is being made with older hardware in mind, which will limit how good it will look on more powerful hardware.

However, it’s easy to see why Mortal Kombat X will be a “cross-gen” game, since the makers want to have a large pool of potential customers. You can expect almost all big-budget non-exclusive games to be released for old hardware as well as new for the coming year or so. Other high profile cross-gen games include Watch Dogs, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, and Battlefield Hardline.

The series’ last installment was a reboot that came out in 2011, and was simply called Mortal Kombat. It introduced certain aspects that would seem to be returning in the new game, like moves that zoom in and show the recipient’s bones breaking in an X-ray view, and “2.5 dimensional” environments that have depth but are mostly used on a two-dimensional plane. However it shapes up, Mortal Kombat X will likely be a worthwhile game, as the developer’s last attempt at the series was very well received.

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