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How Mortal Kombat's Kano Is Canon In Batman: Arkham

ScreenRant logo ScreenRant 11/30/2022 Glenn Bunn
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Given Mortal Kombat and DC's crossovers over the years, it may be unsurprising to learn that Kano is canon to the Batman: Arkham series. Rocksteady's main Batman: Arkham trilogy received high praise, and had several spin-offs over the years. The main spin-off title most fans will recognize is WB Games Montréal's severely underrated Batman: Arkham Origins - which saw the Arkhamverse's Batman's initial confrontation with long-term nemesis The Joker - however, the series spawned a few portable titles too, with 2.5D side-scroller Batman: Arkham Origins - Blackgate on PS Vita (later ported to PC, PS3 and Xbox 360), and fighting title Batman: Arkham City Lockdown on mobile devices.

In the Mortal Kombat series, Kano is a member of the Black Dragon Gang, a group of international arms dealers who the Special Forces have been trying to take down for decades, but in Batman: Arkham City Lockdown (which featured a story set between Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City), he seems to be tied to Deathstroke's thugs instead. If players start the Gotham Steel Mill's EMP Challenge, a challenge in which all opponents carry short-range EMP devices that remove the option for Batman to use any gadgets and must defeat them purely in hand-to-hand combat, they take on three different thugs before fighting against Kano as a secret boss in place of Deathstroke, who is usually the boss for that location. Throughout the battle, Kano can be seen wielding his trademark Butterfly Knives, but he is a somewhat easy boss and can be defeated quite quickly by the Dark Knight.

Related: Batman: Arkham City's Best Side Mission Is The Ultimate Troll

Batman: Arkham City Lockdown Was The First Of NetherRealm Studios' DC Projects

Kano's appearance is due to Batman: Arkham City Lockdown's developer, NetherRealm Studios, having recently taken the reins of the Mortal Kombat franchise following Midway Games' bankruptcy in 2009, and Warner Bros' acquisition of the series. Batman: Arkham City Lockdown was released in 2011, the same year as NetherRealm Studios' first game, Mortal Kombat (the ninth installment in the series), and its remake of the series' previous entries as the Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Mortal Kombat and the DC Universe had crossed over prior to Batman: Arkham City Lockdown in Midway Games' final entry in the Mortal Kombat series, a non-Arkhamverse title called Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe. Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe featured a story mode that could be played from either the perspective of Mortal Kombat's characters or their DC rivals, and was generally well-received for its use of the DC license but did get some criticism from fans for toning down Mortal Kombat's iconic and violent finishing moves.

NetherRealm Studios later revisited the Arkhamverse in 2013 with its mobile version of Batman: Arkham Origins, which featured similar gameplay to Batman: Arkham City Lockdown. Unlike Batman: Arkham City Lockdown, NetherRealm's Batman: Arkham Origins largely followed the premise of its main console and PC counterpart, in which an inexperienced Batman has a bounty put on his head and must fend off several assassins on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, due to this, NetherRealm didn't seem to feature any Mortal Kombat cameos in the mobile Origins. That same year, however, NetherRealm released the first in its standalone Injustice series, which saw a rift in the DC Universe in which Superman becomes a tyrant following a traumatic event, and several members of the Justice League either opt to side with or oppose him, with legendary Batman: Arkham voice actor Kevin Conroy returning as Batman.

Although the Batman: Arkham and Mortal Kombat crossovers haven't continued over the years - with the version of The Joker in Mortal Kombat 11 being separate from Rocksteady's series - Kano's appearance in Batman: Arkham City Lockdown wasn't the only Mortal Kombat cameo in the Arkhamverse. Eagle-eyed fans were able to spot Kitana in the main version of Batman: Arkham City as one of The Penguin's unnamed prisoners in the Iceberg Lounge. With Rocksteady currently returning to the Arkhamverse with Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League, it's yet to be seen whether more of Mortal Kombat's fighters make an appearance alongside DC's antiheroes.

More: Mortal Kombat Creator Highlights Impressive 90s Injustice Cover Art

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