Will they, or won't they? It's been a question asked by Mortal Kombat fans for many years now, escalating discussions well beyond the old arcade fantasy fights -- and although Street Fighter 6 Director Takayuki Nakayama isn't making any promises -- he has expressed his interest in the possible benefits of incorporating a crossover kombatant into his own game. It presents new hope for fans angling for a showdown, but it isn't the first time an idea like it has been proposed to the developer. Read on for the whole gory tale:

In an interview with VG247, Nakayama expressed positivity towards the phenomenon of wild fan requests inspired by the recent announcement of Street Fighter 6's Year 2 downloadable content. Among the additions will be two characters from the rival Fatal Fury and King of Fighters franchises: Terry Bogard and Mai Shiranui. For Nakayama, the request for a Mortal Kombat guest presents a larger philosophical gain:

I don't see it as a negative! In fact, like you just mentioned... What about Sub-Zero? Well, there may well be Street Fighter 6 players who aren't as familiar with the Mortal Kombat IP. So if the goal is to get more people interested in fighting games in general, and a crossover like that gets people talking about which characters should cross over...

I mean, obviously I can't make any promises. But the fact that we're having this conversation just means that more and more people are getting interested. There is a chance for the fighting game community to reach a whole new audience - so we see it as a positive thing, and we encourage that kind of discussion and comments.

This isn't the first time a prospective crossover between Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter has been seriously discussed. In fact, it isn't even the first time a guest character has been floated. Previous Street Fighter director Yoshinori Ono revealed that Capcom rejected a proposal for an inclusion in Mortal Kombat 11. Every aspect of the scenario calls to recollections of the past, which may have informed Nakayama's perspective.

In the nineteen-nineties MK and SF battled for dominion over arcades and consoles in various regions around the world, but much less so in Japan. Never the less, drawing inspirations from popular martial arts movies and tropes of the genre, their international fighting tournament casts drew natural comparison upon the debut of Mortal Kombat - a year after Street Fighter II revolutionized the genre.

In the mid-nineties the battle continued on magazine covers, and went to the big screen, with MK scoring a moral victory in the adaptation from game sprites to live-action. Capcom's Street Fighter series got ahead of the game in slumping years however, pioneering inter-company crossovers with the hugely successful Capcom vs SNK and Capcom vs Marvel series. The latter was just announced to receive a long awaited collection for modern consoles later this year, while the former is the savory basis for the return of Terry and Mai to Street Fighter's hallowed grounds.

After a lackluster also-ran crossover with the DC Universe coincided with the end of parent developer Midway Games; Mortal Kombat found its own gimmick by incorporating God of War's Kratos and horror icon Freddy Krueger into a 2011 Mortal Kombat reboot. The decision to include guest characters changed the game forevermore, tapping in to a growing pop culture trend of profitably mining existing properties for unexpected crossovers. A trend that has reached other prominent series, such as Tekken, and become a pillar of every subsequent NetherRealm Studios game, most recently MK1's superhero-stuffed Kombat Pack.

Street Fighter 6 marks the first time the Japanese series will include inter-company guests into a mainline entry. 2012's Street Fighter x Tekken included unrelated additions, such as main characters from Sony's Infamous and Doko Demo Issyo, while previous installments, like the Street Fighter Alpha series, have created connections with other Capcom franchises, most notably Final Fight.

A return to SNK fighters is a soft entry point for Street Fighter to finally dabble in muddying its waters. Year 1 DLC character Akuma previously met with another SNK character, Geese Howard, and Negan from The Walking Dead, in Tekken 7. Which in turn could finally see channels open between SF and Mortal Kombat as well. An encounter MKvsDC producer Hector Sanchez described as an inevitability in 2010, and drew support from Capcom's VP of Strategic Planning and Business Development, that same year.

[Related Article: SNK Artist Draws Mortal Kombat X's Takeda]

With its much quicker and loose embracing of the crossover guest fighter fad, Tekken seemed the more likely franchise to exchange a Mortal Kombat character. Like his contemporary, Tekken Director Katsuhiro Harada expressed interest in Sub-Zero in 2021, also including Raiden in his prospective wishlist.

Which characters would you most like to see make the leap from Mortal Kombat to Street Fighter - or vice versa? What do you think about the guest character phenomenon reaching Street Fighter? Share your thoughts in the comments below and contemplate more from MK's future in the Future Mortal Kombat category. Or just stay right here & now with Mortal Kombat 1.