With 18 fighting games, three non-fighting games, two films, and comics to boot, Mortal Kombat is so much more than just a violent video game - if you were to call it iconic you'd be hard-pressed to find someone to debate the other end of the spectrum.
After MK 11 was released earlier this year, the famous franchise has returned to the forefront of our minds. However, as impressive as the array of installments over the years have been, we can't help but wonder what kind of potential has been missed.
From axed characters to discarded cheat codes, forgotten stages, and failed collaborations, let's have a look at some of the things cut for the MK world that could have changed it all (for better or for worse).
20 MK 1 - A lack of Jax
Despite being one of the more consistent characters across the MK franchise, making appearances in at least half of the games thus far, in reality, Jax was actually supposed to feature in the original game as well. He would have initially debuted under the Kurtis Stryker, however, first appeared in the second installment under Jax instead.
19 MK 1 - A new name for LIU KANG
Back when Mortal Kombat was in its early design phase, the game's creators had come up with a Japanese warrior by the name of Minamoto Yoshitsune. However, the developers were constantly struggling with the name, eventually deciding to go for the easier, shorter option - Liu Kang.
18 MK 1 - Johnny Cage's backflip
Back in the original Mortal Kombat, when the graphics were patchy and when we were heading into the 90s with a head full of steam, Johnny Cage was supposed to have a unique back move - a backflip, to be specific. Keep in mind that this was only the early days, and obviously the characters continued to develop thereafter.
17 MK 1 - Shang Tsung's Laugh
Just as Johnny Cage was supposed to have a backflip move, Shang Tsung was supposed to have a unique animation - after winning a battle, he would place his hands stoically on his hips and bellow out a few laughs in triumph. While it was cut from the original MK, something similar was introduced in the MK 2 roll call.
16 MK 3 - the Graveyard stage
When Mortal Kombat 3 was selling out on the SNES in the 90s, most gamers weren't aware that the version originally actually was meant to have a Graveyard stage as well. Unfortunately, it was axed when it was released to the public, so gamers had to wait until later versions to test their skills on other stages.
15 MK 3 - condiment nicknames?
As far as badass names go, Sektor, Cyrax, and Sindel are right up there. While these names were always intended to be present in the characters' life bars, there were plans to give them nicknames when they won a battle. The names in question? None other than Ketchup, Mustard, and Muchacha.
14 MK 3 - 'FIGHT'
It wouldn't be a Mortal Kombat game without the classic "FIGHT" text popping up on the screen to initiate battle. Well, interestingly enough, in the earlier installments of the franchise, the FIGHT prompt was actually supposed to have a different design, one which intended to match the typical font used throughout the other scenes.
13 MK 3 - No names were to be spoken
Back in the third version of our beloved Mortal Kombat, it was initially proposed that none of the characters would have had their names are spoken upon selection on the character menu. While this isn't a major difference, it certainly added to the overall feeling of the game, and most are glad that they kept it in.
12 MK3 - Cyrax or Robocop?
In Mortal Kombat 3, before Cyrax was Cyrax, he was actually almost named Robocop. It's probably better that they stayed away from it, especially considering that the overlap with the 1987 film of the same name could have caused a bit of a stir. Regardless of the name, he's a pretty impressive character.
11 MK 3 - No blood was to be shed
That's right, folks. In MK 3, it was almost decided that none of the characters would shed any blood. That's the equivalent of taking a steering wheel out of a car - you can't just remove a fundamental piece of equipment from the mainframe. MK is notorious for its brutality, so the decision to keep it seems to have been a good one.
10 MK 4 - bye-bye KITANA
After showing off her talents in the first few MK installments, Kitana was axed before Mortal Kombat 4 hit the shelves. Had the steel fan-welding warrior remained on the roster it could have provided a lot more enjoyment for fans who commonly selected her. Instead, they opted for a new character, Tanya.
9 MK gold - the leaked character that never made it
While the one and only Belokk never actually made it onto the MK Gold roster, he did come very close. His development even got to the stage where a voice file was created. However, due to a combination of time constraints and a similar fighting style to another character, Shinnok, our Belokk never made the big time.
8 MK Trilogy (N64) - unlockable Kombat Cheats
Everyone knows about the unlockable Kombat Cheats menu in the MK Trilogy on Nintendo 64, right? Well, apparently that menu was supposed to feature an additional option that never came to fruition - essentially a one-hit KO. This could have been an absolute gamechanger.
7 MK Unchained - Kintaro
In MK Unchained, there was supposed to be another character by the name of Kintaro, who was basically an unfinished Goro model, except he was dressed in his alternate costume and sported a purple cloth around his waist. It's always nice to test out new characters, but we never got to try this one.
6 MK (2011) - Endurance mode
When the 2011 version of Mortal Kobmat was released to the wider community, they'd decided to scrap a certain mode that could have made a world of difference - Endurance mode. For whatever reason, the creators thought that leaving it out was a better idea, and we can't argue with them.
5 MK (2011) - Brutalities
Just like Endurance mode was initially part of the 2011 Mortal Kombat plan, so were brutalities. Again, however, for whatever the reason, the top dogs decided that it wasn't the best plan of attack at the time. We all love a few brutal hits, but we're sure that they had their reasoning for the decision.
4 MK X - bye-bye KUNG JUN
After making his debut in Mortal Kombat X, Kung Jun was nowhere to be seen in the recent MK 11. As the younger cousin of Kung Lao, Jun was a high-quality fighter who was certainly appreciated during his short tenure on the roster. Sadly, we'll never know for sure why he ended up getting axed.
3 MK X - Michael Myers
Believe it or not, the infamous Micheal Myers from the Halloween films was supposed to make an appearance as a playable character in Mortal Kombat X. For anyone who has seen the Halloween films, it's safe to assume that had Myers been included on the roster, that there would have been plenty of move combos.
2 MK 11 - bye-bye FUJIN
When Mortal Kombat 11 hit the shelves in earlier this years, one of the biggest roster surprises was the omission of the God of Wind, Fujin. Despite being a regular character in the prior installments, he was looked over in MK 11 in favour of others, which has certainly created a bit of a stir.
1 MK 11 - bye-bye Mileena
Just as we had to say goodbye to one of our favorites, Fujin, we also had to witness the disappearance of another - Mileena. After making her first showing way back in MK 2, she was overlooked in the latest release. The silver lining here is that we can still play as her sister, Kitana, who has a similar set of attributes.