Enter the World of Mortal Kombat X

Mortal Kombat X has just launched for Playstation, Xbox and Windows platforms.  So far, reviews are quite mixed and only getting worse.  One of the biggest concerns over Mortal Kombat X is the downloadable content (DLC) that is available on the first day of release, no grace period on this one.  One piece of DLC in particular, that seemingly only effects the console versions, is causing a bit of uproar that just might squelch the outcry over the brutal graphicness of Mortal Kombat X.

Mortal Kombat X Scorpion
Credit: Warner Brothers Interactive

Early Days of Fighting Games

Since the advent of Street Fighter II in arcades in 1991, fighting games have been progressively making the special moves harder and harder.  Adding more and more button combinations required to perform a special move is a component that companies used to get more quarters from gamers.  As fighting games progressed, so did the special moves.  Mortal Kombat (arcade, 1992) took things one step farther by adding fatalities to the mix of special moves.  Fatalities are a special move that the winner of the match gets to perform on their prone opponent in a very specific amount of time.  If the correct button presses are entered (some complex while others are stupidly simple) then the death blow is delivered.  Fatalities ranged from beheading your opponent to ripping their arms off or setting them on fire among many other options (depending on the character you won with).

Digitized Graphics and Quarter Circle Moves

Mortal Kombat was a success with digitized graphics that featured real people performing the moves.  Animation was low in comparison to what Street Fighter II was offering gamers but Mortal Kombat had fatalities and Capcom was not able to offer anything like it.  As fighting games evolved so did the move sets.  We went from a quarter circle (down, down-forward, forward) and a punch button to perform a fireball to half circle plus punch to do something similar, but slightly more powerful.  Fatalities in Mortal Kombat have always been complicated, not only are button combinations required but also distance from your opponent is a factor, that is why they are so satisfying when you discover them.

Enter Downloadable Content

Downloadable content (DLC) is familiar to anyone that has played much mobile gaming.  DLC is still quite new to consoles and computer gamers, though it is making strides on these platforms.  The recently released Mortal Kombat X is a prime example.  For $59.99, or so, gamers can get what they think is the complete game.  They are wrong though.  Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment have something else in mind for gamers and their wallets.

Things Get Interesting with DLC

What if you could, oh I don’t know say, purchase your way through those complicated but oh so cool to see fatality moves?  What about adding additional characters?  Would you buy “interesting” characters such as Jason Vorhees or Blue Steel Sub-Zero variant?  Warner Bros Interactive hopes you will because Mortal Kombat X has some “interesting” DLC for fans to watch out for.

Mortal Kombat Kano
Credit: Warner Brothers Interactive

DLC So Far

Five Easy Fatalities for $0.99

Thirty Easy Fatalities for $4.99
Kombat Pack (Jason Vorhees, Predator, Tanya and Tremor plus skins for five characters) $29.99
Goro $4.99
Blue Steel Sub-Zero $1.99
All Krypt items unlocked $19.99

DLC Only Gets Worse

If you purchase Mortal Kombat X then purchase a pack of 30 Easy Fatalities and all of the character/unlock DLC then you will spend $121.94 before you know it.  That is quite a bit.  The question is, is it too much for fans?  For the casual gamer it probably is too much just asking them to purchase the game right now, let alone any of the DLC that is available.

The biggest problem that this DLC is bringing forward is that Easy Fatality option.  It is a consumable and something that will surely be a money maker for Warner Brothers Interactive.  That and the single character DLC offerings, if they are broken out of the Kombat Pack I could see Jason Vorhees being a big seller for this game.  The implications this brings is huge, and extremely dangerous for gaming.

Where DLC is Headed

Since the special moves are so complicated will we eventually see downloadable content that makes them “easy” to pull off too?  Will we begin to see the rise of a fighting game model that gives fans that purchase the game for $60 a couple of characters with the rest being downloadable content at an additional cost?  This is a slippery slope and one that Warner Brothers Interactive is not exactly the best company to forge ahead in it.

Other in game items and options that could turn DLC in the future include health- why replenish it for gamers at the start of every match?  Why not handle this like it is handled in the mobile world where gamers would have to wait a certain amount of time to be able to try again, or pony up “x” amount of dollars to buy additional turns now.  Will we see a Mortal Kombat game where blocking is DLC?  Or even the ability to perform a fatality?  Want to “Finish Him?  Pay $0.99 and we will allow you to perform a Fatality.  Special order at $1.49 and you will get the Fatality and we will perform it for you.”  

Mortal Kombat X Goro
Credit: Warner Brothers Interactive

What the Future Might Hold

DLC is getting out of hand folks, this could be the second gaming crash if too many companies depend on costly DLC for core game components and gamers don’t support it.