Another arcade classic is being rebooted in the console sector and the anticipation for it seems to be running higher than ever. That would be the new Mortal Kombat by Warner Bros. Interactive. Everybody knows that Mortal Kombat got it’s start in arcades and it was a strong arcade title until MK4 came along and we haven’t seen it gracing our sector since. Now Warner Bros. used to be involved with arcades back in the 90’s too, with their acquisition of Atari Games which for a time was known as Time Warner Interactive. They seem to be taking the arcade roots seriously enough to have produced a Mortal Kombat Arcade cabinet, to be given away as the grand prize for an MK tournament being held in the UK from March 14th to April 11th by GAME and Gamestation. As you can see from the image above, it’s not coin-operated and the panel looks like one of those pre-fabricated MAME controllers that lacks the traditional MK button layout but the general idea is there. Read more about that @ Joystiq.
So in lieu of this, let’s discuss a special Arcade Edition of Mortal Kombat. Yes it is true that there are many locations which wouldn’t touch a red label arcade title as this certainly would be. But at the same time those that would would benefit from the hype that is being generated by this release. I believe that arcade fighters can be a hot item right now, someone just needs to push it and not undermine it via consoles. Fighter fans can be picky about the kind of balancing and features found in each version and I think that an arcade edition would serve operators best if it had some superior features that wouldn’t be released as DLC in the future (always a hanging sword for us arcade ops). We’ve already got an example of this with the Super Street Fighter IV kits coming around soon and I think that they will be big, at least until Capcom kneecaps them with console DLC. Street Fighter IV has pretty much revived the fighter genre out there – I have experienced this from feedback I have got from Street Fighter fans in recent weeks. Some of those people have fond memories of Mortal Kombat in arcades as well. I know it’s anecdotal but I seriously believe that it’s worth looking into as the enthusiasm I have seen from fighter fans far surpasses anything I’ve seen for light-gun or racing games. Warner Bros. seems keen enough on the idea by producing this cabinet as a prize, I’m sure if one of you arcade manufacturers out there approached them about producing a special arcade edition (with some changed features, extra characters and levels that are exclusive to arcades, a screen that features as little lag as possible, etc) then it would be worth the investment. In fact, let’s do a poll to see what our readers think about this:
EDIT: As RJay points out in the comments, the realism found in this one could pose a problem in regards to violence so that would probably be something addressed in the Arcade Edition with adjustable settings. I’m not saying scrub it squeaky clean, there have been plenty of games that feature not just violence but also gore in arcades but the realism found in the newest MK may prove troublesome for certain locations.