2016 has been a big year for the Mortal Kombat franchise, with Mortal Kombat X picking up rave reviews and fans soon to be treated to a boatload of new content through the Mortal Kombat XL Special Edition, which will give veterans and new players access to a full DLC run’s worth of bonus features including new skins and new fighters. This includes a crew of guest stars from classic horror films (Jason Vorhees, Leatherface, The Predator and Alien’s Xenomorph) getting a special focus.
Now, the game’s developers at NetherRealm have unveiled a look at the hotly-anticipated Xenomorph gameplay in an extended Twitch preview, sure to get players even more hyped to play as the iconic space monster.
Playing through several rounds of the game to show off new features, the developers zeroed in particularly on the Xenomorph – showing off the creature’s “Greco-Roman” fighting style, brutal tail-strikes, ability to call down “drone” aliens for support, and gruesome body-rending fatalities. The speedy gameplay and opulent graphic-design look as polished as ever, reminding fans and skeptics alike why it wasn’t too surprising to see Mortal Kombat X take the “Best Fighting Game” prize at the 2016 DICE Awards.
The inclusion of guest characters, which began in earnest with the previous installment of the series, has been controversial among some fans for violating the (somewhat complicated) mythos and continuity of the series. But others have enthusiastically embraced the ability to play as some of their favorite characters from outside the series and, given how broadly-defined the parameters of the Mortal Kombat universe are, figures like Xenomorphs and Predators certainly fit into the overall aesthetic with their monstrous character design and ultra-violent tendencies. Previous guest-characters included Freddy Krueger from the Nightmare on Elm Street films and Kratos from the God of War games.
Elsewhere, the franchise continues to re-assert itself after a lengthy run of diminishing returns that ended with the 2011 reboot. While plans for a new Mortal Kombat feature film have once again stalled (though horror specialist James Wan has since come aboard as producer for the still-hypothetical project), Warner Bros. Interactive has created great hype for the series’ push into the eSports and reality television realms with Machinima’s MKX: Chasing the Cup on the CW.
What remains to be seen is whether or not Kombat can hang on to its position as the dominant console fighting game of the current generation when significant challengers finally begin to stake out their territory. While its WiiU and arcade exclusivity will likely keep the upcoming Pokken Tournament (a quasi-crossover that combines Tekken’s gameplay with characters from Pokemon for the first time) from horning in on too much of the console-fighter audience, it’s hotly-anticipated status in the competitive eSports scene could serve to make it the competition-scene “story” of the upcoming spring season. More substantially, Mortal Kombat is now once more faced by its old rival Street Fighter as Capcom’s SFV begins its current-gen console rollout. Also aiming to cut into Kombat’s niche is Microsoft/Rare’s Killer Instinct revival, which is set to add a new alien guest star of its own in the form of Halo’s Arbiter.