I bet the cool factor is the biggest factor.
Very few franchises manage to last more than a few console generations. Even those that do, often take long breaks (such as Capcom’s Street Fighter, for instance, or SNK’s Samurai Shodown). That’s what makes Mortal Kombat so incredible, as the series has continued on ever since releasing in 1992 with multiple and uninterrupted releases. The latest, Mortal Kombat 11, is one of the most successful fighting titles ever, and the franchise is at heights never before seen. So, how do they decide who comes back and who doesn’t for each entry? Well, it’s several factors, including the cool.
In an interview with The Daily Star, Ed Boon was asked about how they determined which fighter will return now that the franchise has gone on for such an extended period. He jokes about goading Mileena fans on Twitter (if you don’t know, Boon is an infamous troll on the platform), and says it comes down to what you expect. They look at the overall story and lore, in an attempt to stay consistent with the many timelines, the move sets, and of course, just what’s danged cool.
“Actually, I’ve never seriously said that I don’t want to see Mileena come back to Mortal Kombat. Most of the time I am just teasing the fanatics who demand she be added 100 times a day.
“I love to have fun with that. Mortal Kombat has about 80 characters in its roster now. So, we tend to look back and occasionally revive a character who hasn’t been seen in a long time, like we did with Fujin in Aftermath.
“We do take into account the story because some characters existed in different parts of the timeline so we need to stay somewhat consistent with the narrative that we are telling.
“But move sets and “cool factor” also play a big part in which character we decide to bring back.”
The lastest entry, Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath, is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC and Stadia. NetherRealm is also reportedly working on something else outside the series, which you can read about through here.