Mortal Kombat, in recent years, has shown some interesting taste in guest stars. But Mortal Kombat X has most assuredly had a theme, this go-round, and that’s classic ’70s and ’80s horror. The game, which already has Jason Voorhees and the Predator as playable characters, is adding Leatherface and the Xenomorph from Aliens. But after years of fans clamoring for this, why is it only happening now?
The short answer is an odd mix of technology, legal wrangling, and studio politics. Fans have dreamed of a game where the great icons of horror square off for decades; being able to settle once and for all who’d win in a fight is really the climax of any nerd argument. But back in the ’80s, it was a messy and complicated issue, thanks to who owned the rights to what. Freddy vs. Jason, for example, nearly happened in 1987… but neither Paramount nor New Line wanted to give up creative control of the movie, so it floundered for more than a decade. Similar rights issues torpedoed movies like Michael Myers vs. Hellraiser, and a video game stuffing multiple studios’ characters into one game was a legal nightmare, not least in figuring out who got paid what for which monster.
DLC has changed all that. It certainly helps that Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is publishing the game; movie studios are more willing to negotiate with other movie studios. But it also helps that instead of having to fork over a piece of every $60 game sale, they just have to decide who gets paid what out of the cost of DLC.
That said, they’re starting to run low on classic horror slashers. But we wouldn’t mind a cult slasher character pack: Leprechaun, Pumpkinhead, and the Puppet Master could use some love.