When 24: Live Another Day star Kiefer Sutherland told IGN he'd completed work on a mystery Mortal Kombat game [original story] -- Mortal Kombat Online turned to the MKOmmunity to narrow down which character he might be!
2011's reboot Mortal Kombat set the story in motion for a return to the plot of Mortal Kombat 4 - and it was there we looked for prime suspects. Our User Poll narrowed in on characters who didn't have a prominent voice-actor in the most recent game, and might find their way into an all new, shuffled cast.
It should be noted: We don't know what the unspecified game is, or any of the characters who will appear in it! This was merely an educated guess based on the likelihood of a sequel -- supported in part by the already over-active rumor mill.
#1 Shinnok (47%)
With an overwhelming 47.4% of the vote: It seems there's very little doubt as to who most fans think the Hollywood star will be! Once famed for his quiet menace and sinister performances; Sutherland certainly has the skills to personify evil as the fallen Elder God: Shinnok!
Providing a cliff hanger to the retold Mortal Kombat 3 plot; Shinnok was presented as the sequential big bad for the next, time altered instalment - right where you would expect him to be. The anticipated significance of the villain probably steered some votes in this direction, reflecting impressions that Sutherland is a big time get for the new game's voice cast. Shinnok had several lines in Mortal Kombat, but they certainly weren't memorable enough to make recasting out of the question.
A little bit of wishful thinking may have penetrated voting, as well.
Shinnok lived in infamy for a time as one of the least respected boss characters in the franchise. While Mortal Kombat 4 quickly informed us of the Netherrealm ruler's might -- it failed to adequately demonstrate it in story or play. This left Shinnok an impotent villain whose move-set revolved around borrowed attacks, and story concluded with Looney Toons prop swapping and confusion. 2006's Armageddon made efforts to install credibility, but there's still work to be done, and there's no doubting Kiefer Sutherland would be an asset to the task!
#2 "Other" (13%)
With so little information to go on, it's no surprise the nebulous "other" option would receive a noteworthy chunk of votes.
Looking for roles with suitable gravitas and performance spotlight: many on the forums suggested the game Announcer or Narrator as an alternative option. Mortal Kombat has always been well known for its announcers and this would certainly showcase Sutherland's distinctive voice. In most cases, however, this role can be attributed to one of the playable cast. Shang Tsung, Shao Kahn & Quan Chi are among the best known in-game announcers.
Some looked to Sutherland's contemporary references as a street level tough guy to contemplate other characters. Kobra was an unexpected suggestion, while Sutherland guest characters Jack Bauer (24) and Big Boss (Metal Gear Solid) took a more literal route. Nobody could rule out a sequel to the 2008 Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe either.
#3 A New Character (10%)
In 2011; Mortal Kombat introduced the fewest playable, new characters of any sequel -- just one! Its story mode also went to great lengths to finish many fan-favourite heroes with fatalities! As the series moves forward, there's every chance the roster of characters will be expanded once again!
By and large, it's standard for most major fighting games to attempt to introduce at least 1-4 characters in a new installment. New creations have been hit and miss for about the last decade, but with Kiefer Sutherland giving voice to the character, a new fan-favourite may be right around the corner!
#4 Reiko (8%)
Introduced in Mortal Kombat 4; Reiko was a General of Shinnok's armies who led the forces of darkness against the heroes of Earthrealm -- and the Elder Gods themselves!
Despite the scope of his backstory; Reiko has never been entirely fleshed out as a character of significance. An ending sequence on home consoles made him the subject of years of rampant speculation -- leading many to believe he was the then thought-dead Shao Kahn. All but relegated to jokes and fan-fiction ever since: Kiefer Sutherland could be the man to make Reiko a militant force to be reckoned with! Having played military men in everything from A Few Good Men to the Metal Gear Solid V series, he certainly has experience in this arena!
#5 Fujin (6%)
At the centre of Mortal Kombat 4's plot is Shinnok's war against the Heavens, and the mass murder of the Elder Gods! Joining Raiden in the fight against the threat is one of his few surviving ethereal contemporaries: the god of wind - Fujin!
With Raiden never quite passing the torch, Fujin has struggled to be more than a second tier player. With Kiefer Sutherland in the role, the god of wind could finally break out as the voice of humanity and the protector of Earthrealm he is destined to be! The potential for drama with an airy rasp is there for the actor, but clearly not everyone thinks this character is up to his level.
#6 Kenshi (6%)
The sword saint Kenshi first appeared in 2002's Deadly Alliance, becoming one of the most enduring characters introduced since the departure of series co-creator: John Tobias. Cut from the same martial arts fiction cloth as many of the other classic characters, Kenshi struck a natural chord through his simple plot, and feud with Shang Tsung. Such is the success of the character that he was incorporated into the 2011 reboot as downloadable content - the only character from his era.
Despite the recent inclusion; Kenshi -- like other 2011 DLC characters -- did not feature a recorded voice actor. As a likely choice for any prospective sequel, he's bound to require the full character treatment for his glorious return. Sutherland has played the kinds of cool and confident characters that fit the bill -- and if Kenshi hooks up with the Special Forces like he did in the previous series, we're right back in the 24 wheelhouse! Being #6 may reflect this choice as a real dark horse.
#7 Jarek (5%)
Introduced as one of the last surviving members of the notorious Black Dragon Clan; Jarek is another Mortal Kombat 4 character, and another street level tough that taps Kiefer Sutherland's recent work as a no nonsense action icon.
Although more likely to be the kind of character TV's Jack Bauer would be tasked to defeat -- Jarek did briefly join the forces of light in their battle with Shinnok. Reprising the role in a modern sequel could be the chance to beef this overlooked character up, but it's clear his status as the poor man's Kano has few believing in the casting of a talent as prominent as Sutherland. Plausible, but not necessarily convincing.
#8 Shujinko (3%)
Shujinko was created as a story-driven protagonist for 2004's Deception, which effectively kept him busy while the plot of Shinnok's war on the Heavens was unfolding. As a matured warrior who started his quest in youth, Shujinko has ties to a vast array of the major characters. Unfortunately, his life's work was built on a lie, making him the fool of Deception's entire story mode.
Shujinko is arguably a criminally underrated character, crying out for a second chance in the MK pantheon as the curmudgeonly master who withdrew from the world. While Sutherland has the seasoning and stature to take a turn as a martial arts master, the timing is probably off. It's not out of the question, but clearly the fans feel it's much less likely.
#9 Tremor (2%)
Reaching much deeper into the longshot category we have Tremor. Until Mortal Kombat's release on PSVita [in 2012], Tremor had never technically appeared in a fighting game context. He was originally conceived for the Mortal Kombat 3 era, but didn't make an official appearance until 2000 third-person shooter: Mortal Kombat: Special Forces. There, he was finally incorporated as a muscle-bound palette swap with a penchant for pounding the Earth. This provided cut & paste inspiration for his Vita Challenge Tower appearance!
The Lin Kuei powerhouse turned Black Dragon mercenary has gained considerable cult following in recent years. If fans had their wishes, he would probably be a lock for any upcoming 2011 sequel. That said, Special Forces -- and its motley crew of villains -- are notoriously disliked by enduring NetherRealm Director Ed Boon. Sutherland could probably do it, but even we have to doubt the legitimate chances of this one.
#10 Argus (0.6%)
Scraping the barrel with less than 1% is a character who was introduced as a memory in Armageddon (2006). Argus was the protectoral god of Edenia, who supposedly died before Shinnok's uprising at the hands of his own corrupted demi-god son: Daegon. As fans well know, death is rarely a permanent predicament for even the most mortal of characters -- let alone a god! In the same game, there were also suggestions that Argus may have survived out of sight.
If a Mortal Kombat (2011) sequel revolves around a Shinnok/MK4 plot, then it would be appropriate for the endangered gods to be given an identity. Argus is not only a more recent, recognizable god, but also a perfect pick given Edenia's central role in Shinnok'z rise from the Netherealm! The fans obviously don't expect a Sutherland style voice to come from the Edenian god, but you never can be sure!
Did we miss an obvious choice? What type of game did Mr. Sutherland work on, any way? Register to vote in the updated User Poll and share your thoughts on the forum! Delver deeper into plots related to this post in our review of Trama Editorial's Mortal Kombat 4 #1.