It’s a head-to-head blood match between a dear friend and me. The setting is Shinnok’s Bone Temple. I just dealt a fatal blow, hurling a Wii nunchuck into his skull. I’m high on adrenaline and he’s pissed, but I want to show him it’s all friendly competition here. So instead of performing a gory and classic fatality, probably tearing some bones out of him or wearing his skin as a mask, I decide the last five minutes of this duel should end with my signature friendship finishing move: Running off screen and coming back with two iced coffees, cheers-ing my opponent while we take a long sip together.
Believe it or not, I’m not a Mortal Kombat combatant and this not a real Mortal Kombat 11 fight. But that would absolutely be my friendship finishing move if I were so lucky.
Friendship finishing moves were introduced way back in Mortal Kombat 2 in response to public outrage about the game’s violence. In them, characters pulled goofy pranks or just had a generally good time with each other, a stark contrast to the spine-pulling, heart-eating violence in the normal “fatality” finishers, which obviously remain a defining feature of the series. Johnny Cage signed a head shot. Shang Tsung made a rainbow arc with his hands. The friendship moves stuck around for MK3, but have been nowhere to be found since.
But Aftermath, the major DLC expansion coming to Mortal Kombat 11 that includes a lot more story, new skins, and three new characters, is also bringing back the aforementioned friendship finishers. And the folks with Mortal Kombat did their friendship finish on us (get it?), and gave us an exclusive first look at Spawn’s friendship move. This finisher sees the beloved, graphic novel anti-hero chilling on a hammock, reading (what else?) a romance novel rightfully named Hellish Desires, of which Spawn himself seems to be the protagonist. How meta, how relaxed, and how friendly.
Listen, we are all in for a more amicable and relaxing end to a fight. The world’s bad enough, and seeing even the most violent characters—Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Raiden—celebrate friendship gives all of us some hope. It’s refreshing. We’re sappy.
Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath launches this Tuesday, May 26, as a $ 40 extension to the base game. (There’s also a $ 60 bundle that comes with the base game and all the wonderful bonus characters released so far, along with Aftermath.) Besides friendship fatalities, Aftermath adds Sheeva, Fujin, and of course, RoboCop (we were right when we called it a year ago) to the roster, alongside killer guest characters like Terminator (we called that one, too) and Joker (eh, we did not call that one). But it’s the Mortal Kombat 11 friendship finishing moves that remind us that we can forgive and forget, even if someone tears our heart out and eats it right in front of us.
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