What the Mortal Kombat 11 Aftermath Expansion Means for Kombat Pack 2

Now out for over a year,  11 has been an interesting ride for NetherRealm studios. The game has had its fair share of ups and downs but has also managed to remain relevant thanks to a strong competitive scene, regular updates, and plenty of new DLC fighters for players to go head-to-head with. But now, Mortal Kombat 11 is getting story DLC, and that has interesting implications for Kombat Pack 2.

While no Kombat Pack 2 is confirmed, rumors have circulated about another fighter pass since the first few DLC characters were revealed in the initial Kombat Pack. This has been fueled by various leaks and stumbles, seemingly confirming characters like Ash Williams of Evil Dead. But Mortal Kombat 11’s  story DLC is releasing three characters at once, throwing a wrench in what many fans anticipated.

Aftermath’s announcement came as something as a surprise. Mortal Kombat 11 has been out for some time, and with the DLC focus primarily being on new characters until now, story DLC was largely unexpected. Fujin, Sheeva, and Robocop will all be joining the fray, two of which are longtime Mortal Kombat characters. Robocop leaked as a character some time ago, though his addition is certainly one of the pleasant surprises for Aftermath.

With three characters dropping at the same time, Mortal Kombat 11’s content delivery system may be facing a major change. Previously, the game has released individual characters with a steady build-up of hype, with NetherRealm using the opportunity to ensure that no character gets buried by the others. It isn’t clear which of the three new characters will emerge as the most-used, but the novelty of Robocop does give him an early edge. Regardless, if releasing characters in batches works out well for NetherRealm, it could become the standard going forward.

Up until now, characters have more or less flip-flopped between licensed additions and returning characters, creating a nice balance for fans of the game. Now, however, NetherRealm could change that system, instead releasing batches of characters in a 2-to-1 ratio, alternating between a majority of licensed characters and returning characters each time. Balancing each fighter takes time though, and if this were the method going forward, players may see a greater gap between Kombat Pack 2’s characters, though they would get more content all at once.

There are merits to both the singlemulti-character drop systems. Introducing new characters shakes up the meta for professional play a decent amount, as players learn frame data for moves, build combos, and develop new strategies for characters they may have to face. The benefit of individual characters releasing is that it doesn’t shake things up all that radically, as only one character has to be accounted for. The downside is that it, in theory, happens more often. If Kombat Pack 2 were to release multiple characters at the same time, it will shake things up quite a bit, but it wouldn’t happen as frequently.

There’s also the issue of cost. Up until now, players have been able to buy the characters individually or through the Kombat Pack, which saves some money in the long run. Aftermath has three different pricing options, starting with the base expansion for $39.99, a bundle that includes the DLC and the first Kombat pack for $49.99, and a one that contains all that and the base game for $59.99.

Releasing three characters at once may also just be a one-off occurrence, a way for NetherRealm to sweeten the deal for players that purchase Aftermath. $39.99 is a lot for story DLC, especially in a game where the story mostly serves to usher players between fights. NetherRealm could pivot back to a standard single-character model once Aftermath is out in the wild, which may be the best way for the company to proceed.

That does raise the issue of timing, however. NetherRealm releasing a spendy DLC and a new Kombat Pack, which would likely adopt the same $40 price of the first pack, may upset fans if it does it too soon. For those that purchase everything the game has to offer, the total cost would be about $180 for the base game, both Kombat Packs, and the Aftermath DLC, for those that want the complete experience and didn’t grab anything on sale. That doesn’t include any purchases players might have made in the game’s shop either, which can drive up the bill considerably.

It’s a pretty hefty investment. Those that are still playing Mortal Kombat 11 are mostly members of the dedicated fanbase, though, which may make the price tag a bit more acceptable among the community. Plus, with a relatively slow video game release calendar over the next few months, people may be looking for a few ways to kill some time. A game that’s as replayable as Mortal Kombat 11 is worth the money for those that are looking to master a new skill, which may become a pretty big draw when all is said and done.

For now, players have a lot to look forward to. NetherRealm has said Mortal Kombat 11 will be around for a while, so there’s a good chance that there will be plenty more content in the pipeline for those that want. The possibilities for fighters are pretty much endless at this point, though there seems to be a particular interest in characters from classic action movies. Seeing someone like Die Hard’s John McClane go up against the Terminator would be quite the spectacle, and with characters like Johnny Cage in the game, McClane wouldn’t be a bad fit. That probably won’t happen, but NetherRealm can go any way it chooses.

Aftermath probably won’t stop NetherRealm from releasing a Kombat Pack 2, but it will need to be careful with how it times everything. It’s a delicate procedure, especially in a game with a heavy emphasis on competitive play. Coronavirus has caused issues for tournaments, with conventions like EVO being canceled with online events taking its place, but there’s still a delicate balance when it comes to that scene, which NetherRealm will need to be cautious of changing when large character packs drop at once. Still, the new characters are cool, and should be welcome additions to the game.

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