Ed Boon, head of NetherRealm Studios, went on record proclaiming that Mortal Kombat X will feature more new characters than any previous MK game to date. Technically, Mortal Kombat 3 and Ultimate MK3 introduced 12 new characters to the series, beating out the 11 introduced in Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance, but given the fact that MK3 and UMK3 are when the character roster first started to expand, most consider Deadly Alliance to be the largest introduction of new characters.
If we assume Ed Boon is being literal, that would indicate that Mortal Kombat X will feature at least 13 new characters. The most recent version of the character select screen (which is likely to change) features 24 total character slots. Of those 24, the eight middle slots are filled with the currently announced roster. The new characters are on the bottom while the returning characters are featured on the top row. If this trend continues, that would mean Mortal Kombat X will feature 12 new characters at the start, plus at least a few more coming via downloadable content in the future.
The new characters are hard to pin down, although there have been rumors and some convincing evidence that Rorschach from Watchmen will be a guest character, and we know that Jason Voorhees of Friday the 13th fame was going to be in Mortal Kombat 9 until he was replaced with Freddy Krueger. We also know there will be no DC Comics characters in the game, primarily due to the fact that Warner Bros. doesn’t want them brutally murdered MK-style.
We can get a better idea of who to expect when we turn our gaze toward the returning characters. We already have Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Raiden and Kano on the roster. If we continue to assume there will be 24 starting characters with 12 of them returning, that leaves another eight characters to go, so let’s take a closer look at who’s still missing and how important they are to the series and the potential storyline of Mortal Kombat X.
This is pretty much a given, simply because Liu Kang is not only one of the poster characters for the Mortal Kombat series, he’s also a playable character in every single mainline MK title with the exception of Deadly Alliance (in which he still had a cameo). The only way Liu Kang isn’t making an appearance in Mortal Kombat X is if he’s replaced by someone with a similar moveset. We’ve already seen Cassie Cage sharing attacks from her parents, Sonya and Johnny. It wouldn’t be terrible to see a child from Kitana and Liu Kang, but we still feel the champion of Mortal Kombat will return in Mortal Kombat X.
Major Jackson Briggs (Jax)
Jax has been featured in every MK title aside from the first game and the console versions of Deception (he was only in the PSP port, Unchained). He is also very integral to the storyline in Mortal Kombat X. We know Kano is in the game, and Jax and Kano have a long history in the MK series. With Cassie Cage possibly taking over for Sonya Blade, it seems likely that Jax will be included to maintain the storyline of the two characters. Someone has to catch that pesky criminal and tell Cassie stories about the old days with Sonya. We also know Jax is not shy when it comes to the cybernetic implants, which could easily keep him in the fight 25 years after MK9 (when the MKX story takes place).
The Outworld is clearly present in Mortal Kombat X, and while it could be Kotal Kahn leading the forces of Outworld, it seems likely he’s not alone in this endeavor. Shang Tsung is essentially immortal. He uses the souls of fallen victims to maintain his youth. However, this is Mortal Kombat X and we expect a few changes.
It’s been quite some time since we last saw old Shang Tsung, so we’re guessing the original design of Shang from the first MK will be his main form in Mortal Kombat X. He’ll still likely have a young alternate skin, but we’re banking on the old Shang to be the default this time around. It would even be cool to see him slowly change into young Shang as he uses specific soul-absorbing attacks during battle.
Reptile, Noob Saibot or Human Smoke
We already have two ninjas on the current roster. If we assume there will be 12 returning characters, there are only so many ninjas included in that number. We’re anticipating three returning ninjas if there are also going to be Cyberninjas, and four returning if the Cyberninjas are not making an appearance. Reptile is number one on the list due to the fact that he’s been featured in all but three MK titles, and he goes hand-in-hand with Shang Tsung.
Noob Saibot is number two simply because Smoke can be included as a human or Cyberninja. While NetherRealm could throw us a curveball and make Noob a Cyberninja, that would be considered a new character. It seems more likely that Noob will be included in human form, with Smoke as a Cyberninja. Essentially, if Human Smoke is in, Noob could be out, but if Noob is in, we’ll probably see Robot Smoke instead.
Out of all the characters missing from MK9, Fujin was probably one of the most highly demanded. He hasn’t been featured in many Mortal Kombat titles, but as the Wind God, he can easily appear alongside Raiden no matter when the story takes place. We haven’t seen Fujin since MK Armageddon (aside from a cameo in Kratos’ ending from MK9), and with his popularity and the time skip, it seems likely we’ll finally see him make another appearance. Judging by the new bad guys, the Earthrealm warriors may need his help.
Bo’ Rai Cho
Bo’ Rai Cho is very much hit or miss. He’s extremely liked by a large portion of the MK fan base, but there are many others who strongly dislike the character. His inclusion is primarily due to the story. He’s virtually immortal as he’s trained combatants for centuries, including Liu Kang and Kung Lao. While we expect a new version of Kung Lao (see below), it seems fitting that Bo’ Rai Cho would be included to train the new warrior and due to his drunken style of fighting.
Obviously there are quite a few fan-favorites missing from this list. There’s no Kitana or Mileena, Sheeva is MIA, Kung Lao and Baraka are nowhere to be found and there isn’t a single Cyberninja unless Robot Smoke is included. We feel that many of these characters will be replaced by new ones. Keep in mind, Mortal Kombat X will feature more new characters than any MK game before it, and DLC characters are almost certain. You have to keep some of the fan-favorites for DLC, which is where we expect to find Kitana, Mileena or the Cyberninjas.
There are already two versions of Kung Lao in the MK storyline, and now would be a fitting time to introduce a third, presumably trained by Bo’ Rai Cho. Meanwhile, you can easily create new Outworld inhabitants to replace Sheeva and Baraka, or even give Goro another shot at the action. No matter how you look at it, if half the roster is going to be new characters, that means a lot of existing characters aren’t going to make it.