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Mortal Kombat: How Kumite Became the Iconic Fighting Game We Know Today

Jessie Thomas
Mortal Kombat: How Kumite Became the Iconic Fighting Game We Know Today

When Mortal Kombat was first released in 1992, it quickly became one of the most popular fighting games of all time. What many people may not know is that the game was almost called something completely different: Kumite. This article explores the history of Kumite and how it evolved into the beloved classic we know today as Mortal Kombat. 

Before Mortal Kombat was released, its developers had considered a number of names for the game. One of the early contenders was ‘Kumite’, a reference to the martial arts tournament of the same name. Kumite is popular in Japan and features two fighters who battle against each other in a ring. The developers considered the name because Mortal Kombat has a similar format, with two characters fighting in a ring. 

However, the developers ultimately decided not to go with the name Kumite, as they felt that it was too obscure and would not be recognized by a mainstream audience. Instead, they chose the name Mortal Kombat, which they believed would have more appeal to Western players. The new name was a combination of the words ‘mortal’ and ‘combat,’ which perfectly encapsulated the game’s focus on intense one-on-one battles. 

In addition to the name change, the developers also made a number of other changes to the game. They increased the number of characters, added more moves and fatalities, and improved the graphics. These changes helped make Mortal Kombat even more popular than it already was, and it quickly became one of the best-selling games of all time. 

Had the developers stuck with their original plan and named the game Kumite, it’s likely that the game wouldn’t have been as successful as it was. Fortunately, they realized that the name would not be recognizable to a wider audience and decided to change it to Mortal Kombat. This decision helped make the game the iconic fighting game we know today and set it on the path to becoming a worldwide phenomenon.

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