For twenty-five years Raiden has remained one of Mortal Kombat's most identifiable characters. He's featured in movies, television, and a string of crossover guest roles, most recently playable in Injustice 2! He could probably star in his own video game, and apparently - it almost happened!

Series Co-Creator Ed Boon recently revealed a development screenshot of Raiden starring in the action-adventure spin-off that eventually became Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks!

When Shaolin Monks shipped for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox in 2005, it featured a retelling of the events of Mortal Kombat II from the playable co-op perspective of Liu Kang and Kung Lao. An in-game Versus Mode let players control a variety of the game's klassic kombatants, but only Scorpion and Sub-Zero were available as additional characters in the main third-person adventure levels.

Rather than MKII's humble protector who appears in story mode cut scenes; the development screenshot reveals a more ornately designed thunder god, who was the only character featured in an earlier build! A rare glimpse of what might have been!

Initially controversial amongst die hard fans of the series mythology; Shaolin Monks has grown in esteem with a generation of fans who discovered the series in the mid-2000s. Its become a jewel in the series' crown thanks to core mechanics that brilliantly convert klassic kombat into a three-dimensional, story-driven plane. So much so that requests for a hi-def Shaolin Monks remake, sequel, or like-mind spin-off have become a regular fixture for fans!

Although a similar style of play featured in Armageddon via Konquest Mode; the 2005 co-op brawler remains the last time Mortal Kombat exited the fighting game arena for a pure spin-off. The drought belies a once grand plan for the series, which began its spin-off expansions with platform-fighting fusion Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero in 1997, and third-person kombat-shooter Mortal Kombat: Special Forces in 2000.

What would a Raiden spin-off have been like? Would you play a new version of Shaolin Monks? Register to share your thoughts on the 3D Kombat Klassics forum!