Mortal Kombat 12 was recently confirmed for release sometime in 2023, and it got us thinking about which characters we really want to see make the upcoming game’s roster cut; we’re not talking MK mainstays who are already assured a spot like Sub-Zero, Liu Kang, Johnny Cage or Scorpion, but characters who deserve to be in the game because it’d be interesting to see their narratives further developed, have their movesets and playstyles ameliorated or because it’d be fun to see how NetherRealm Studios might modernize a character’s appearance for the latest installment of the series.
The following is our Mortal Kombat 12 characters wishlist.
Call us palette-swap stans if you must, but we really want to see Tremor in Mortal Kombat 12. Tremor, to put it simply, is a bad-ass, from his geokinetic abilities, which include punching the ground to create earthquakes; to his backstory, which involves Kano breaking him out of prison to become his personal arms dealer and arms enforcer; to his appearance, with his brown ninja garb and hulking stone-encrusted body.
If Tremor were to appear in Mortal Kombat 12, it’d make sense to see him rekindle his rivalry with Jax, who dusted him in Mortal Kombat: Special Forces. Then again, it might also be interesting to see Tremor break away from the Black Dragon mercenary clan to fight on the forces of good. Either way, Tremor is one of the top choices on our Mortal Kombat 12 characters wishlist.
Speaking of Black Dragon members getting more shine in the spotlight –- this next entry might be an unpopular opinion, but hear us out.
We know, taking one look at Kobra screams, “What I actually got from Wish.com” version of Ken from Street Fighter. And while that sort of unoriginality and corniness has relegated Kobra to the frivolous jobber role in the series he currently occupies, there are actually a few ways NRS could revitalize Kobra and make him a more engaging character in Mortal Kombat 12.
First, Kobra’s backstory, which paints his character as a master martial artist who reveled in maiming and straight-up murdering street criminals, could be used as an interesting deconstruction of the Ken Masters character on whom he’s based. What caused such a promising young martial artist to become so barbaric and ruthless with his gift? Is he simply a psychopath or was there something from the past which was the catalyst for his behavior?
Of course, this character examination could also be used to utilize Kobra as an effective foil against some of the other martial artists in the game, Liu Kang being the most obvious. Kobra’s bloodthirstiness and egregious misuse of martial arts talent would likely disgust Liu Kang. Would Kang be able to use defeating Kobra in battle as a didactic moment, swaying Kobra to the side of good? Or would the two simply be destined to kill one another?
Or what about a redesign for Kobra that leaned more into the Johnny Lawrence from Cobra Kai inspiration?
Kobra, though a seemingly uninspired joke character at first glance, could make for some thought-provoking storylines if utilized in a different way. For that reason, he makes our Mortal Kombat 12 characters wishlist.
This one is a longshot, considering Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon said that Drahmin is one of his least favorite characters in the series (alongside Hsu Hao) in an issue of Game Informer magazine, but we think the demon from the 5th plane of the Netherrealm deserves another chance.
Much like most of the entries in our Mortal Kombat 12 characters wishlist, Drahmin has a compelling concept; long ago, Drahmin was a sadistic warlord, who died and was exiled to Netherrealm for his crimes; there, he was tortured for 500 years and grew progressively more and more insane until he reemerged as a tormentor with an iron club for a hand and a painted Oni mask the only thing to inhibit his insanity.
That being said, Drahmin’s moveset leaves something to be desired. For starters, he’s slower than many of the other characters in the game and relies heavily on his special moves, which can make him predictable to players who know what they’re doing. To rectify this, it might be helpful to give Drahmin two different fighting styles – one with his rage suppressing mask still on, which would lend him a more calculated and reserved fighting style, and another with his mask off, which would make his fighting style wild and unpredictable.
In terms of appearance, Drahmin needs a facelift from his current Freddy Krueger in a loincloth look. We’d like to see Drahmin’s design focus more on the Oni mask as a central design theme; samurai armor to accompany the Oni mask would make sense considering Drahmin’s former life as a warlord, or even flowing, colorful robes with colors to match the ones on his mask.
Whether you’re a fan or not of “The Kombat Kids,” they’re important characters lore-wise because of how they switch up the dynamic of the well-established characters to whom they’re related. Though Cassie Cage (daughter of Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade) and Jacqui Briggs (Jax’s daughter) are two of the more well-known Kombat Kids, we haven’t slept on Kung Jin, and think that Netherrealm Studios shouldn’t either when considering the cast of Mortal Kombat 12.
Kung Jin is the nephew of Kung Lao, though unlike Cassie and Jacqui and their parents, Jin features a much different playstyle than his hat-wielding uncle. Jin uses a bow and arrow in battle, and while some players disparage him for being a “Green Arrow placeholder pigeonholed into Mortal Kombat,” a bow-and-arrow-wielder is something that fits in every bit as well in in Mortal Kombat lore as it does in Injustice 2, if not better. Kung Jin’s move kit is fun, his animations are fluid and well-crafted and his arrogant attitude (similar to his uncle’s) is memorable, whether you think it’s warranted or not.
The biggest improvements that can be made to Kung Jin if he were to make the Mortal Kombat 12 roster would be his appearance (his costume in MKX is pretty antiquated and lame), character development in the form of maturation and his egotistical demeanor being balanced with actual feats to justify it. That being said, Kung Jin is a bit of a prick, and that should also be addressed both in the narrative and by more of the other characters in the game if he makes his return in Mortal Kombat 12.
Kung Jin is also the only gay character in the Mortal Kombat series (unless you count Mileena), which not only makes him important for representation but something that could be further explored in the narrative. Kung Jin’s sexuality seems to be a source of inner conflict for him in the storyline, but it was something that wasn’t addressed much besides a brief conversation between Kung Lao and Raiden. Kung Lao mentions that his family treated Kung Jin “shamefully” as a result of his “interests.” Does that family include Liu Kang? And does Kung Jin look up to Kung Lao because Lao is the only family member who supports him despite his sexuality?
While Kung Jin’s sexuality shouldn’t have to be a focal point of his character or his storyline, it shouldn’t be primarily brushed aside either, something Mortal Kombat 12 could remedy.
Speaking of representation, NetherRealm could introduce its first gender-fluid character by bringing back Khameleon in a creative way.
The fact that Khameleon is the only other member of Reptile’s saurian race could be used to highlight this element of the character, as Reddit user jvp180 explains in a post on the Mortal Kombat subreddit.
“I think it would be a cool idea to bring back [Khameleon and Chameleon] as a single character who is able to move between the female and male sex. We don’t know much about Reptile’s race and some animals are able to change their sex in some circumstances,” jvp180 explained.
He added, “Gameplay-wise, players can choose between the male and female forms much like some of the Fire Emblem characters in Super Smash Bros. The female form can cycle through or have a mix of other female ninja characters’ special movies and likewise for the male form with the other male ninjas.
“Story-line wise, Khameleon could be the default form and maybe she had to assume a male form to hide her identity to survive. Or vice versa Chameleon could be the default form but had to assume a female form to continue the dwindling Saurian race (because life, uh, finds a way).”
We agree that this would be a fascinating and fun way to reintroduce Khameleon, a character who hasn’t been playable since 2006’s Mortal Kombat: Armageddon back into the fray.
Havik just might be the most unnerving character on our Mortal Kombat 12 characters wishlist, an impressive feat considering we’re talking about Mortal Kombat here.
Havik, a “cleric of Chaos” hailing from the Chaosrealm, is neither good nor evil. He’s a complete wildcard, meaning he could either ally himself with the protagonists in Mortal Kombat 12, or the villains.
His power set is equally as unpredictable, as Havik experiences joy and pleasure instead of pain when being injured in a fight; attacks such as snapping his neck or breaking his arm actually heal him instead of debilitating him. Some of Havik’s moves in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon include the Torso Spin, where he contorts his upper body around and strikes his enemies with his arms; the Crackling Legs Projectile, where he breaks his own legs in sickening fashion and launches a projectile at his enemies; and the Head Snap, where he breaks his own neck and then snaps it back into place, healing himself.
Because not much is known about Havik except that he wants to sow discord across the realms, it could be interesting to see his backstory or narrative expounded upon in Mortal Kombat 12.
Warning: Spoiler for Mortal Kombat XI ahead.
This could very well be the case too, as Havik is mentioned as being alive by Shang Tsung in the Aftermath story mode expansion.
If Havik is an entity in Mortal Kombat who seeks chaos above all else, then what makes Ashrah interesting is that she’s a demon seeking purification. Armed with the Kriss, a holy artifact sword that cleanses her soul each time she slays a demon, Ashrah is a character with a unique story which could definitely benefit from more time in the spotlight in Mortal Kombat 12.
Ashrah also has a standout, elegant look in the Mortal Kombat series, with her flowing white robes striped with gold linen and her Raiden-like hat. We’d be curious to see how NetherRealm could update her look in Mortal Kombat 12 in a way that coincides with her narrative; would her appearance or clothing change as she slayed more and more demons?
Ashrah’s story also presents a few obvious character interactions off the top of our heads – the most obvious being a rekindled rivalry with Noob Saibot, who is a demon that’s entirely evil and self-serving. She could also come into contact with the redeemed Scorpion, who followed a similar path to her and might offer interesting insight if the two were to team up.
We’d be remiss if we had Tremor on our Mortal Kombat 12 characters wishlist and not Smoke – more specifically, human Smoke.
Smoke is an OG character who first appeared as an unplayable secret character in Mortal Kombat II, a gray palette-swap of Scorpion, Sub-Zero and Reptile whose body perpetually emits puffs of smoke. He reappeared in Mortal Kombat 3 in a cyborg body as one of the Lin Kieu’s top assassins.
Smoke would then make his first appearance in 19 years in 2011’s Mortal Kombat, in human form once again, along with an intriguing twist revealed when you beat the game with him: he was kidnapped as a child by a cult who intended to sacrifice him to a demon. In the act of the sacrifice however, he transformed into an enenra, a demon composed entirely of smoke and vapor, killed his captors and then returned to his mortal form, completely oblivious of what he’d done.
Unfortunately, after such a cool twist, human/enenra Smoke hasn’t been a playable character in a Mortal Kombat game since, something that we hope changes in Mortal Kombat 12 so we can further explore his motivations.
Sareena, who first appeared in 1997’s Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero and first became a playable character in 2003’s Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition, is a former assassin for Quan Chi who broke free of his control thanks to Bi-Han, AKA Noob Saibot.
Her affiliation to both Noob and Quan Chi is a story thread worth expanding upon in Mortal Kombat 12, as is her wardrobe, which was a bit too skimpy and reflective of the times since she last appeared as a playable character.
Interestingly enough, Sareena also appears in the ending for Kabal in MKXI, perhaps hinting that her return could be something planned for the series’ next installment.
What did you think of our Mortal Kombat 12 characters wishlist? Did we leave any characters off the list that you’d really like to see return in MK12?
Featured image credit: Sareena by PrincePali on DeviantArt/Smoke by NetherRealm Studios
Drahmin at: Resep1 on Reddit