Should the story have stuck to focusing on tournaments?
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Should the story have stuck to focusing on tournaments?
05/01/2014 02:06 AM EST
Not saying every game, but maybe some time after MK3 or 4, maybe? Maybe not. It seems like the direction MK3 put the series on, especially MK9, makes this pretty unlikely, and I think it's unfortunate because the series started as being centered around a Tournament and I feel like it's one of the reasons the series went downhill (not that I dislike the stories after MKII). I've heard this thrown around time and time, and it makes me wonder if I'm not the only one who thinks MK should've put focus back on a grand tournament (not necessarily /the/ Mortal Kombat tournament) setting instead of 'Mortal Kombat' devolving into some obscure concept of random fighting.

So, what do you think? Do you think this should have been the direction of MK to begin with and not drifting away from a tournament setting? Or do you think it was for the best they went into this direction, forgetting the tournament and focusing more on the brawls of warring realms?

An idea I've had (which I know is probably impractical due to the producers probably wanting to maintain the popular characters) would have been to make each sequel about a new tournament 50 years after the previous game's story. Perhaps all the popular characters could stay, and their backstory for being in the game would explain that they've won the previous MK tournament and are present to defend their title (not aging because of the same reason Great Lao didn't after he won and appeared in the next tournament), or maybe they'd be some offspring or descendant of certain characters since the previous idea would probably make for a confusing story line. I feel like it would be a more appropriate setting and opportunity to introduce new characters to the series.

Yeah, the story behind MKII was interesting, but I'm not sure it was worth sacrificing the flow of how the tournaments originally worked prior to MKII considering the only characters they wanted to keep were Liu Kang, Raiden, Johnny Cage, Sub-Zero and Scorpion, which most of them except Cage could be put into a hypothetical tournament 50 years later either as a descendant or because they're not normal mortals; Sonya and Kano were intentionally eliminated from being in MKII because they were thought to be the least popular characters and it'd make sense that they'd be dead or too old to compete in the next tournament. Perfect excuse to eliminate them and other future characters and give room for newer characters to shine. I feel like the new tournament every 50 years was a great idea, the mythos and mysticism of being rewarded temporary immortality by the Elder Gods to be able to defend your title in the upcoming tournament was amazing, and again, the perfect opportunity to diversify the rosters with new, different characters for each new sequel while maintaining the tournament theme of story. I wish they would have gone in this direction instead with maybe a few games going off in different directions like Onaga coming back and starting war, but then again, I can't see why that can't just be thrown in the games with the tournament-oriented themes anyway. Their stories wouldn't have to solely focus on the tournaments; obviously a lot of the fights could just be scuffles or part of the backstory conflict outside of tournament competitions.

I guess one of the problems with the idea would be how long it would take for another tournament to come, so Mortal Kombat being near the present time wouldn't make much sense, but I don't see why it couldn't just be adjusted into an older time period of Earth. A lot of the characters would still easily fit.
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RE: Should the story have stuck to focusing on tournaments?
05/01/2014 07:04 AM EST
There actually was a tournament in Deadly Alliance.

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RE: Should the story have stuck to focusing on tournaments?
05/01/2014 11:56 AM EST
Technically there were TWO tournaments in MKDA.

Neither one was at all important to the main plot, but still.

Sub-Zero held one to recruit new Lin Kuei members. Frost won, that's how they met.

The Deadly Alliance held one in Li Mei's village promising that if she won, they'd let her people (who they had enslaved and forced to build their palace HQ) go. Instead, when she won, they put her soul in a mummy (but were interrupted by Bo' Rai Cho, so she survived but some of the mummy's personality/loyalty to Onaga had merged with hers.)
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RE: Should the story have stuck to focusing on tournaments?
05/01/2014 02:06 PM EST
I am aware of that, but like the post above said, it wasn't really the central theme of the game, just one person's story line while everyone else was fighting an open battle. I was thinking more of a single tournament that would gather the majority of the characters where most of the story and interactions would occur. Now, perhaps if that same tournament had brought all the characters together..
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RE: Should the story have stuck to focusing on tournaments?
05/01/2014 02:43 PM EST
Thinking about it, it is strange that the tournament formula was dropped so soon after its introduction (to us, the audience) as a framing device.

On the other hand, warring realms and seperate agendas made MKDA's storyline beautifully convoluted and cleverly crafted. Everyone still had their reasons to be there in Outworld. That really needs to be the focus of the storytelling, the feasable motivations of each character to be present. MKD was a bit of a mess in comparison, following Shujinko's journey through decades & realms to catch up with the then-present part of the story just so certain characters like Darrius and Dairou could be a part of it.
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RE: Should the story have stuck to focusing on tournaments?
05/01/2014 10:02 PM EST
I think the games work better when they don't have to try and make things a tournament because, well, look at the live action movie, look at MK9, and look at Legacy Season 2.

Y'know what ONE trait all three have in common?

A complete lack of a bracket that makes sense.

it's like they go out of their way, when making every possible iteration and adaptation, to hire people who don't know what a tournament ACTUALLY IS.

Y'know, like, the fights are supposed to be scheduled ahead of time, not just Shang Tsung always pointing to any random dude in a crowd and going "you and you, fight for my amusement"?

Everyone fights only once per round and in the next round, the winner of one match fights the winner of the next, whittling down the competitors until only one remains?

And because winners fight winners, it can't always be Earth guy vs. Outworld guy, sometimes Liu Kang would have to fight Johnny Cage or something?

Never seen that in ANY depiction of the Mortal Kombat tournament, have you?

Besides, the series is ostensibly about a whole bunch of different people from a whole bunch of different places fighting a war against an army from another dimension. It's a little easier to tell a story about that well if you're not automatically restricted to "but they all have to gather in an arena and pair off and fight one at a time and follow rules." In my opinion, the three best games' stories are Deadly Alliance, Deception, and MK3, in that order. All of which are just ensemble cast pieces about people randomly wandering the countryside in separate groups and stumbling into skirmishes.

That said, I would like to see the tournament be brought back in a story once we've put a few years distance in between the last tournament and the present day. I'd even like to see it NOT be Earth on the defending side.

I've often suggested, if the old timeline hadn't ended at Armageddon, what if Dark Raiden were the aggressor and challenged another realm but the heroes didn't realize they were on the side that started it and fought in it anyway?
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RE: Should the story have stuck to focusing on tournaments?
05/01/2014 10:41 PM EST
>Never seen that in ANY depiction of the Mortal Kombat tournament, have you?
No, but I would like to, and wish it were like that. I was under the impression that's what MK1 was supposed to be.

But, yeah, I see what you're saying. The tournament settings don't really make sense and don't even matter since the hosts break the rules and make it just into skirmishes anyway. To be honest, I was even thinking in the mindset of this 1 vs 1 and advancement brackets when I wrote this. Silly me.

The Dark Raiden idea is pretty neat and would add to the whole "We seriously need to do something about Raiden" mentality some of the characters have been having; meanwhile, while most would probably only follow Raiden reluctantly, I imagine some others would be willing to fight on Raiden's side even knowing the situation, especially after what causalities and devastation Earthrealm has suffered from MK3 and 4. It would be an ironic twist of fate for Earthrealm to take Outworld's place as the universe's aggressor and also maybe create even more of a sense of sympathy for Outworlders who aren't necessarily evil, but just followed their government's orders or wanted to be patriotic when Shao Kahn and Onaga were waging wars.
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RE: Should the story have stuck to focusing on tournaments?
05/01/2014 11:33 PM EST
DrgnLdy Wrote:
No, but I would like to, and wish it were like that. I was under the impression that's what MK1 was supposed to be.


Oh, so would I. More than you can imagine.

In case you haven't seen it before, this thread has my own attempt to write how such a thing should go.
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RE: Should the story have stuck to focusing on tournaments?
05/02/2014 12:09 AM EST
The tournament kinda went like this. Would have been better if the story focused on situations rather than characters.

Still your original idea has the obvious problem that Earthrealm characters would be too old to fight in the next game. I prefer the no tournament stories as well because almost any other fighting game uses that same story. It feels too redundant for me and means the big bad follows the rules in Mortal Kombat.
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RE: Should the story have stuck to focusing on tournaments?
05/02/2014 12:15 AM EST
Chimera Wrote:
Still your original idea has the obvious problem that Earthrealm characters would be too old to fight in the next game.


Not necessarily.

When Raiden and co. agreed to compete in Mortal Kombat II, they agreed to changes in the rules.

1) No more "ten wins in a row" rule, it was all-or-nothing, and 2) If Kahn lost, he'd abandon his claim, ending the competition between Earthrealm and Outworld altogether.

Kahn did indeed lose that tournament. Meaning that in order to have Mortal Kombat again, a NEW kingdom or ruler would have to declare their intentions to conquer and merge realms, and a new tournament would begin (or series of tournaments, depending on whether or not it's decided to reinstate the ten wins rule), and that could be done at any time, they wouldn't have to wait the usual 50 years.
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RE: Should the story have stuck to focusing on tournaments?
05/02/2014 01:46 AM EST
>Still your original idea has the obvious problem that Earthrealm characters would be too old to fight in the next game.

Yeah, but Bi-Han's death was canonised in MKII, so that doesn't matter; Ed Boon wanted to get rid of Kano and Sonya anyway for being unpopular at the time, which was why they were just prisoners and non-selectable. The only problem would be Cage. And the brother of Bi-Han was canonised only in MKII, but I could easily imagine it being re-written that Kuai could be a descendant of Sub-Zero that took his mantle and even have a similar story as Kuai Liang and Scorpion in MKII.

>It feels too redundant for me and means the big bad follows the rules in Mortal Kombat.

What's wrong with that? A tournament and its rules is the only thing that prevents Earthrealm and MK kontestant's annihilation. Besides, the boss battles, I believe, are implied to be the tournament hosts breaking the rules anyway.

>Oh, so would I. More than you can imagine.

I can't wait to see it. :3 I've been wanting to make my own story on such a thing for years, but I'm a terrible writer with only limited ideas.

>1) No more "ten wins in a row" rule, it was all-or-nothing,

I don't think that was true during MKII. It just sounded like some random tournament Tsung and Kahn threw in Outworld and invited the previous heroes from last game to compete in so maybe the same tournament routine every 50 years could still have applied between Outworld and Earthrealm (well, the Comic by Tobias does have Raiden suggest that the Elder Gods would be pissed off if they declined to participate and would look at Earthrealm unfavourably... so I dunno.)
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RE: Should the story have stuck to focusing on tournaments?
05/02/2014 09:37 AM EST
DrgnLdy Wrote:
I don't think that was true during MKII.


No, trust me, it was definitely part of the original canon that MK2 threw out the "ten in a row" rule for "all or nothing". I remember reading that part of the story way back in the 90's, well before any retcons or alternate tellings ever came out. It's hard to confirm because a lot of the old artbooks and strategy guides from that era, which were full of interviews and write-ups by Tobias and such are now hard to find or were never scanned onto the net...but I am 100% certain of it.
If you think about it, it wouldn't make SENSE if they hadn't gotten rid of the ten in a row rule, because since Earth won the previous tournament, that means Kahn would be starting over, even if he won MK2, he'd have to wait 500 years and win 9 more times to conquer Earth. But every ending in MK2 talks as if winning THIS tournament means they'll conquer Earth. So there's the proof, really.
And it's not like the ten in a row rule is something that hadn't been added to the story yet. The first time it's mentioned is in the official MK2 comic.
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RE: Should the story have stuck to focusing on tournaments?
05/02/2014 02:07 PM EST
The tournament set-up was cool for the MK1 storyline. The revised "winner takes all" tournament set-up for MK2 (suggested by Shang Tsung) made the stakes that much higher and still Earthrealm warriors came out victorious. Taking the entire situation to the next level for MK3, was the Outworld invasion of Earthrealm led by Shao Khan and disregarding any kind of tournament. Still Earthrealm prevailed for the time being.

For MK10, the stakes need to be raised again with Shinnok looking to make Shao Khan's invasion seem like a minor skirmish. I don't think a tournament would handle this situation properly. It needs to be a full scale war with many 1 on 1 fights to determine outcomes of events in the story.

I think NRS will nail this aspect in the next game and the story mode will take everyone playing it for quite an exciting ride.
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RE: Should the story have stuck to focusing on tournaments?
05/02/2014 04:10 PM EST
I'm HOPING that the reason NRS turned so many characters into dead slaves for the villains to use is because they've finally realized the scariest way to depict the Devil and the forces of Hell attacking is some fullscale Night of the Living Dead shit, real giant-hordes-of-zombies-overrunning-people-in-the-night type scenes.

It would be nice if they could carry that over to gameplay too, by having Story Mode contain some of the kinds of matches the challenge tower had where it's like many-on-one and that sort of thing.
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RE: Should the story have stuck to focusing on tournaments?
05/02/2014 10:01 PM EST
>And it's not like the ten in a row rule is something that hadn't been added to the story yet. The first time it's mentioned is in the official MK2 comic.

There are concept arts of MK1-in-the-making that note this concept, so it was already being considered if not already part of it. I think Goro's back story of unbalancing the furies of Earthrealm is indication of that.

>I remember reading that part of the story way back in the 90's, well before any retcons or alternate tellings ever came out.

I can't believe I've never heard of that... Wow. That's interesting. Well, I based my previous opinion on the fact that MK3 (or one of the expansions) mentions that the tournament in Outworld was fake and used as a distraction. I'm also not sure why Shang Tsung or Raiden didn't just say that in the comic. And the only endings I remember that implies that the tournament may unbalance the furies of Earth were Tsung's and Raiden's, but Tsung's ending might strangely suggests not winning the tournament did it, but something he did after overthrowing Kahn. But.... Whatever. I'm not too surprised if that's really the case.

>For MK10, the stakes need to be raised again with Shinnok looking to make Shao Khan's invasion seem like a minor skirmish. I don't think a tournament would handle this situation properly.

Of course; neither do I, and I agre it's an interesting story, but I'm suggesting that maybe the story be rebooted/ rewritten or continued after Armageddon to be more tournament orientated and maybe even incorporate these wars into the games that are having a tournament as the central points of settling most of the conflicts.
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RE: Should the story have stuck to focusing on tournaments?
05/03/2014 03:29 PM EST
The story CAN'T continue after Armageddon, EVERYONE IS DEAD!
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RE: Should the story have stuck to focusing on tournaments?
05/03/2014 04:40 PM EST
Xman321 Wrote:
The story CAN'T continue after Armageddon, EVERYONE IS DEAD!


Well yeah, if you keep the MK9 beginning the same.

Kahn doesn't have to be the guy who won, though. MKA itself ended with Taven winning, which would have led to a completely different outcome.
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