Character or story driven?
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Character or story driven?
01/13/2019 12:32 PM EST

Honest discussion: is Mortal Kombat a game, franchise that is character or story driven and what should it be? In my opinion it started off as any fighting game, character driven. Slowly it evolved and developed to the point of having adventure aspects to the game and the story becoming a whole separate entity on its own since MK9.

While the chapters are based on characters, which to me is of the main reasons the story did not work and develop well, MKX seemed to push it even further and the game seemed to be revolved around story mode. The roster and arenas were all related to the story and clearly affected the choices of who to keep in or out.

I will say that for a game that actually does not really need a story to sell it, it is very admirable what NRS is trying to do. Unfortunately the story itself and MK's lore has been retconned, messed with, neglected to the point where I wonder who is part of their creative team. The new direction of Kotal Kahn taking over was the best part, with Mileena getting a huge role and this part actually made sense.

The older story of the fallen god Shinnok however suffered mightily in my opinion. The look and story of the revenants and this hollywood version of earth's forces (literally army) vs. evil failed miserably. I wonder with the new story if they are able to come up with something more closer to MK's roots and it will not just be about stopping Armageddon, a 'story' or plot that should've just died with that particular game.

I think MK11 will set the tone for the future: either it will be a clusterfuck with NRS providing little to no explanation how the different timelines or time reversal affects the previously established story of MK9 and maybe even MKX. Or it will give them a chance to just bring back some great characters of the past, retcon their story, have the messing with timelines actually mean something going forward and sticking with Raiden turning evil, Shinnok being dead etc.

For now though, I hope NRS realises they can do whatever they want and do not need to justify any characters they put in the game. Story related or not, dead or not, seemingly 'alive' at the end of MKX or not. To me, it should be a character driven game and variety is thus very important. MKX I think most people can agree had a very safe roster and the story wasn't anywhere near what mainly Boon made it out to be.

To me, as long as it's coherent, steeped in mythology, has a variety of characters from different realms (humans, monsters, animalistic characters, spiritual warriors, gods) I'm good. Even if it's just a tournament held by Kotal Kahn alongside a bigger story of Kronika trying to rectify Raiden's mistake of messing with the timeline before. Simple.

So as much as I love story mode, in the end it is a story being told with nothing more than 1-on-1 fights. So it is about the fights, the characters, arenas and fighting mechanics in the end. I rather have a roster like Deception with a horrible story than a great story with a MKX like roster.


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RE: Character or story driven?
01/13/2019 01:15 PM EST

Despite its attempts to be story driven, it is still heavily character driven.

Evidence of this is the base roster of Mortal Kombat X. Many of the characters in the roster held very little importance to the actual story, such as Kung Lao, Reptile, Kitana, Liu Kang, Jax, Ferra/Torr, and Erron Black. They each held less than a supporting role, and, storywise, would have served better as NPCs.

It has always been my preference with Mortal Kombat that the roster should reflect the story. Fujin, Baraka, Tanya, and Rain thus all should have been part of the base roster, due to their strong relevance and importance to the shaping of events throughout the story. Sadly, this has yet to become the case for MK, but I pray it eventually does.

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RE: Character or story driven?
01/13/2019 01:17 PM EST

The game is absolutely character driven. It's been noted, quite a few times, that the story guys form a rough idea of the story but ultimately are told who will be in the game and who won't.

However, I don't think that means they don't take pride in their story. How could they not? No other fighting game on the planet can boast about the sheer amount of lore and quality of storytelling that NRS delivers with every game. Most don't even care to. It's that effort that draws a lot of us back in every time they release a new MK, begrudgingly or otherwise.

You work with what you got...not what you hope for.

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RE: Character or story driven?
01/13/2019 04:08 PM EST

You guys bring up good points, I think I might have seen it wrong in this regard. It actually makes sense that the strong preference for certain characters and the actual focus on that causes the story to be so inconsistent. Must be tough for those guys working on the story. It's probably the reason why they couldn't really use the story of the comics, as a precursor or actual part of it, since Reiko and Havik among others were not going to be part of the game. Also as you guys say, there were characters in the story like Fujin, Bo Rai Cho, Baraka, Sindel who should've been part of the roster if it had been story driven. Let's hope Kittelsen's involvement rubs off on Boon and we finally can get some shine for the likes of Havik.

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RE: Character or story driven?
01/13/2019 08:07 PM EST

theres a video on youtube talking about how the timeline is all over the place

i said it before i will say it again mk needs a real canon similar to marvels mcu

heres the video btw and no i didnt make it but he makes a very strong argument

There you go, finding a hidden advantage in an unfortunate circumstance; using pain to take you to the next level. Those are the things that turn players into kings.

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