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Mortal Kombat 11 custom variation scaled back for online ranked play

And not everyone's happy about it.

Mortal Kombat 11 will scale back the custom variation system for online ranked play.

As part of the Game Informer Mortal Kombat 11 cover reveal, developer NetherRealm confirmed each character will have at least two pre-built variations for use at tournaments and in online ranked play.

Mortal Kombat 11's custom variation system lets you select various special moves to create a loadout of sorts, a bit like picking weapons in Call of Duty. Each variation has three slots for you to assign moves to, and lead designer John Edwards told Game Informer the pre-built variations are "well thought-out".

"It's not like we just went, 'Oh, cool, these three things look cool, slap those in.' They are thought out and planned to create the best variety of gameplay within the system that we have."

This has already caused quite the stir among the Mortal Kombat community, which is concerned these pre-built custom variations will miss out some of the characters' better moves.

In the recent beta, base variations for the playable characters missed out some of the characters' best moves, so many opted for a custom variation. This, however, will not be an option for ranked play.

As many have already pointed out, one of the benefits of allowing custom variation in online ranked is it has the potential to make most, if not all of the characters viable, enabling unique styles of play and creating loads more match-ups. But I can see where NetherRealm is coming from on this. Custom variation is no doubt a balancing nightmare, and the developers want to create a level playing field of sorts for serious competitive play after Injustice 2's Gear system, which boosted the stats of the characters, never sat well with online ranked. So, we're left with a custom variation system that seems meant more for relaxed, casual matches - for better and for worse.

According to Game Informer, NetherRealm could change the pre-built variations depending on feedback from the community by swapping different moves in or changing their slot requirements. It'll be interesting to see whether any characters are considered unusable in online ranked because of their pre-built variations when Mortal Kombat 11 comes out.

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Mortal Kombat 11

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Wesley Yin-Poole


Wesley worked at Eurogamer from 2010 to 2023. He liked news, interviews, and more news. He also liked Street Fighter more than anyone could get him to shut up about it.