Mortal Kombat X has just been released, much to the delight of many new and long-term fans alike. It seems like the developers put some love into the game, and, as IGN’s Vince Ingentito said “Mortal Kombat X is the best Mortal Kombat, period. It’s deeper, mechanically richer, and more fully featured than any of the nine games before it, hands down.” For many people, that’s fantastic news to hear.
As is growing more common in games, Mortal Kombat X features several unlockables. To be more specific, it seems as though they’re following the model of “make a grind-fest, then offer a pay-to-unlock option” in which you can drop an extra $20 to unlock everything from the Krypt.
Or, if you want, you can pay $30 for “early access” to four new characters, and a handful of skin packs. While playing as the Predator and Jason sounds pretty cool, either their phrasing is very poor, or $30 seems a bit much for early access. And even if it’s not just early access, $30? Just thinking about the extra content that $30 would have bought in Borderlands 1 or 2 makes baby Mordecai cry.
What seems to be drawing more of a response, however, are the fatality unlocks. Fatalities have long been a favorite of many players of the game, and to do them requires not only the ability to win the match, but the extra skill to do a dramatic kill-move to add “insult to injury” if you will. Apparently it was decided that the fatalities in this game should be difficult to perform (which is fine, it should require some skill to do special moves), but that players could purchase “Easy Fatalities” (yes, that’s exactly what the paid DLC is called). Now, players have the “opportunity” to spend $1.00 to unlock five easy fatalities, or get the bulk discount of spending $5.00 to unlock 30. What a bargain!
While it’s important that companies make money, this seems a little excessive. These are (mostly, if not entirely) things you can earn within the game, or things that will unlock after time. They just made them harder to get so that people would buy them, but if you don’t have the time (or skill) to unlock the items, then you probably won’t get much use out of them if you pay for them. And if players do have the time to earn them, but don’t enjoy “the grind,” then, essentially, it amounts to a developer making the game “less fun” in order to manipulate players to spend extra money on base content.
While we should credit NetherRealms for putting a noteworthy amount of effort into creating a quality game, it can be hard to fully recognize that in light of their business model. And it’s possible it wasn’t even their choice, but they were forced into it by the publisher, Warner Brothers Games. Perhaps I’m being a bit harsh, but it seems we ought to give more credit to developers who focus on providing actual content in their paid DLC, rather than those who charge to have shackles removed.