With Mortal Kombat 1, NetherRealm Studios is presenting players with a newly-forged reality – one that Liu Kang has built with warmth and peace in mind – that’s promising us all a story featuring our favorite Mortal Kombat 1 characters like we’ve never seen them before. When you look at who’s in Mortal Kombat 1, and who has been in MK9, MKX, and MK11 prior, there’s only a couple names missing from the roster – and Jax is one of them. With Liu Kang the architect of the new MK1 reality, NetherRealm is presented with the perfect opportunity to just finally give Jax a break; it’s about time Jax keeps his arms, permanently.
If you’re looking at Jax in any bit of recent Mortal Kombat media, you’ll notice that his gimmick is that he has Bionic Arms – fully-metal replacement limbs were needed because, at some point, he’s had his arms ripped off. Or shattered. Or torn to shreds by explosives. We might not always get to see his arms actually removed from his torso, but – other than his debut in 1993’s Mortal Kombat 2 – he’s always ending up with them. It’s his trademark, essentially – similar to Sub-Zero’s ice manipulation, or Scorpion’s iconic “get over here” chained kunai throw.
However, it doesn’t always have to be this way. There’s so much more to Jax than his Bionic Arms; in fact, 2019’s Mortal Kombat 11 does a fantastic job at showing that. Jax is a careful kombatant, cautious at times, but focused in his ferocity and almost-always a voice of reason in and amongst the chaos. In Mortal Kombat 11 specifically, he is a broken man – at first. Someone weighed down by grief and loss, Jax is shown as a character of strength and resilience against all odds throughout.
These are all defining characteristics that Jax has had and can have again in Mortal Kombat 1 – you know, without his arms being completely obliterated and destroyed.
Of course, though, these Bionic Arms aren’t just his gimmick; they’re also weapons that he takes advantage of consistently in kombat. So, wouldn’t removing them gut his potential moveset of any uniqueness – and affect any Mortal Kombat 1 fatalities he might have? You could see it that way, but we have seen Jax take advantage of countless other weapons in the past and it isn’t like he’s weak without them. From tonfa batons and spiked clubs to shotguns and grenade launchers, Jax is far from helpless without the enhancements offered up by Biotic Arms. We’ve even seen him utilize Powered Gauntlets in the past, in those rare occasions where he has had his arms long enough to fight.
So, why wouldn’t we see something like that again, if Jax shows up in Mortal Kombat 1? In fact, logically, we don’t think seeing Jax with Bionic Arms again makes sense. At least not at first.
As you can see in the Mortal Kombat 1 cinematic reveal trailer below, Liu Kang has created a “new reality” – “a blank canvas, that [he] has painted in with warmth and peace”. In his new era, Mortal Kombat’s characters have been offered a choice on “whether to live in quiet serenity, or bloody strife”.
Now, we’re not going to speak for Jax, but don’t you think it makes a lot of sense for him to try and avoid having his arms torn apart? If there’s no reason for him to fight, as Liu Kang has created a reality of peace, would he even be in a situation where that’s even a risk? We can’t say for certain whether Liu Kang and Jax are pals, but they’re often on the same side and we don’t think Liu Kang would reconstruct a reality where someone he’s friendly with wouldn’t have their arms. God-hood might have changed him between Mortal Kombat 11 and Mortal Kombat 1, but he certainly seems like someone who would err on the side of benevolence.
Whether Jax is going to have his arms or not the next time he pops up, it’s important to make it clear that Jax hasn’t actually been confirmed as an MK1 fighter yet. Although, we don’t think you can just throw Johnny Cage into things without Sonya Blade and Jax – if you’re wondering how we know about Johnny Cage, the Mortal Kombat 1 Kombat Pack is going to include a rather interesting skin for him. We think there’s a very good chance we’ll see Jax feature in some capacity. Even if he features as a Kameo Fighter, we still want to see Jax with his arms.
Mortal Kombat 1 has the potential to be one of the best fighting games of all time, if not one of the best games of all time if Ed Boon and friends really nail it, and we certainly can’t wait to find out more about it ahead of the Mortal Kombat 1 release date. But, please NetherRealm, just cut Jax some slack. He’s been through enough.