Beloved co-op adventure game Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks was originally single player with a different main character, says Ed Boon

Beloved co-op adventure game Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks was originally single player with a different main character, says Ed Boon

Back in 2005, Midway — the folks behind the Mortal Kombat series back then — released a bit of an experimental game that deviated heavily away from the classic fighting game format. Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks was a beat ’em up adventure game that allowed for up to two players to join together in co-op mode, taking control of Liu Kang and Kung Lao as they fight to stop the evil sorcerer Shang Tsung.

As far as the Mortal Kombat spinoff games go, Shaolin Monks is among the highest revered by fans, but apparently the well-loved two-player co-op game could have been quite different than what the masses ended up with. Mortal Kombat series co-creator Ed Boon recently took to Twitter to drop a couple of interesting tidbits about the classic game, including that initially Shaolin Monks was going to be only a single player experience.

Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks originally launched on PlayStation 2 and Xbox on September 16, 2005. The game’s story takes place in an alternate timeline following the events of Mortal Kombat 1 and leading into Mortal Kombat 2, and while the gameplay was very different from what Mortal Kombat fans were used to, Midway incorporated elements from the classic games into the combat such as the use of uppercuts, combos, and even Fatalities.

What spurred Boon to even talk about this now nearly 18-year-old title was a Twitter fan who tweeted at Ed with an old advertisement of the game. Basically, the Twitter user expressed to Boon how they feel Shaolin Monks is one of the greatest video games ever made and how they’d love to see a remaster of the title.

Ed appears to be a fan of the game himself too, saying that he wishes they could have made another game in the series or a remaster. While NetherRealm Studios, the company who now handles the Mortal Kombat franchise, does have a new game in the works right now, unfortunately we have seen no signs or heard no hints that it has anything to do with Shaolin Monks.

Boon continued with the interesting tidbit about the 2005 title. “Fun Fact: It originally was a single player game that featured RAIDEN as the main character,” Boon explained.

Raiden does indeed make an appearance in Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, however, he didn’t end up being a playable character in the game’s adventure mode. Instead, Raiden can be seen as the game’s story unfolds, occasionally providing assistance to Liu Kang and Kung Lao.

It’s always interesting to hear how some of these beloved games started out on the drawing board. We have seen some radically different ideas that were scrapped at the concept stage, such as one that saw Street Fighter 5’s Akuma carrying a baby on his back while he fights.

However, what’s more interesting is that Shaolin Monks could have potentially gone without one of the main features that made it a success. Would Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks have worked so well without co-op and with Raiden at the helm? The world may never know, but it’s fascinating to know that this was once a possibility.


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