With a long and storied history of humor characters and discarded near-misses, April 1st seemed like an appropriate time to take stock of some of the kombatants who nearly rejoined the franchise in its most recent iteration. Afterall, April officially marks the first anniversary of the game that relaunched the franchise, in 2011!

EDIT (Apr. 2): Did we fool you? Of course not, you're far too brilliant for that! You've gotta admit, we made it easy for you, this year. Thanks to Pedro Cruz for his involvement in our annual fooly fool. Make sure you don't miss our lookback at some of the classic fake characters and April Fools in our latest feature article! See you next year!

In an exclusive reveal for Mortal Kombat Online, NetherRealm Studios have provided design sketches for four characters who nearly made it in, but were omitted in the eleventh hour. They represent all tiers of the new and old -- unused fan-favourites, a long rumored joke character, and a brand new fighter, never before seen. Don't get too discouraged, either.

WB Assistant Community Manager, Elisa Profillo, advises that while there is no official announcement to be made yet, copies of Mortal Kombat and the recent Komplete Edition [released Feb. 28], are both able to support mutually available downloadable content.

Avoiding any confusion, Profillo confirms the mock designs are: Sareena, Tremor, Aqua, and a new character called Wu Lae.

Introduced in the 1997 spin-off, Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero; Sareena began life as a love interest for then-Sub-Zero, Bi-Han, a demonic servant of Quan Chi. After appearing as an exclusive addition to the Gameboy Advance Deadly Alliance port, Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition, she advanced to her most fully realised role, as a playable character in Armageddon. Sareena is one of the characters who appears fighting inconsequentially in the background of The Pit stage, in the most recent game.

Like Sareena, Tremor first appeared in one of MKs early spin-off attempts, the much maligned 2000 third-person shooter, Mortal Kombat: Special Forces. Originally conceived for Mortal Kombat Trilogy, the character is widely rumored to have appeared misprint in some materials, ultimately replaced by Rain. Despite his relative obscurity, the character has remained a popular request within the fanbase. A recent tweet by series co-creator, Ed Boon, reflects the pariah state the character has often held in development, described as [visually] "... too much like Scorpion." Tremor is a physically imposing former Lin Kuei fighter, who defected to the Black Dragon clan.

Another character rumored from the Mortal Kombat Trilogy era is Aqua: a comically duck-billed ninja with an environmentalist revenge plot. Best known from appearances in UK PlayStation magazines, the character has long been presumed to be a prank endorsed by Avalanche Studios, GT Interactive, or others involved in porting PAL versions of the title. While material has been extracted from appropriate versions, the character has rarely been acknowledged beyond vague references and innuendo. It is likely Aqua was replaced by the more appropriate rumor character, Skarlet, who shared similar origins before appearing.

No information has been provided for Wu Lae [pictured top], but the brand new character certainly has a striking design. Somewhat medieval in appearance, the character appears adorned in armored tunic and spikes. With the game set in the past and demand high for returning favourites, it seems reasonable that Wu Lae was simply one of the many designs to have been cut in the twenty year history of the series. Addition: It has come to our attention that Wu Lae actually appeared previously in Armageddon, during Konquest mode sequences in Arktica. A member of the Tengu clan, this means the majority of these characters have a common association through the Lin Kuei.

In the coming months, Mortal Kombat Online hopes to share more retrospective content as we look back on twenty years of blood, sweat, and... more blood. For direct updates, follow @MK_Online and like us on Facebook. Thanks to PsychoFight and Niles Rainey for providing info.