As criticized as it is, 1997’s Mortal Kombat 4 brought us some characters much loved by fans of the franchise. It was there that we were able to control Quan Chi, Shinnok and Fujin for the first time, for example, in addition to the justly detested Jarek.
At the time, another memorable character was introduced as well: Reiko. For some, even, this was one of the best fighters in the game, with good and stylish punches. No wonder, players from different places zeroed the tower controlling Reiko and saw something a little confusing when they finished the journey.
In the PlayStation and PC versions, Reiko’s ending was quite cryptic. After passing through a portal, the fighter arrived at Shao Kahn’s throne room and donned the mask of the Emperor of Outworld. Immediately, some fans assumed that Reiko, therefore, was either Shao Kahn himself or some sort of successor to the villain.
Back in Reiko’s biography, however, players were told that he was just a general of Shinnok who fought in the battle against the Ancestral Gods. Reiko was believed to have died, but the former general has returned to face Earth’s forces. As a member of the Brotherhood of Shadows, he probably decided to fight in Shinnok’s name, simply.
The Shao Kahn we know would obviously never fight for anyone but himself. In addition, he has a very specific history that goes far from what we see in Reiko’s biography, such as having destroyed Edenia and forcibly adopted Kitana (or, in other words, kidnapped).
You can already imagine that, in the 1990s, information didn’t circulate as quickly as it does today. A discussion was therefore created around the true meaning of Reiko’s ending on the first PlayStation and on computers. For years, some fans actually believed that Reiko was Shao Kahn.
Amazingly, the Mortal Kombat team itself had to speak out on the case. Ed Boon went so far as to say that Reiko and Kahn were not the same person, but John Tobias — who is often credited with co-creating Mortal Kombat alongside Boon — said that his original idea was, yes, to treat Reiko as a reincarnation of Shao Kahn who would become Kahn again.
So, Reiko’s ending doesn’t seem to have been so gratuitous after all. As much as 2004’s Mortal Kombat: Deception does establish Reiko and Shao Kahn as different people (via a joke in which Reiko says she simply likes to wear Kahn’s helmet), John Tobias was willing to go for it. another way.
In short: Reiko is Shao Kahn? Not. But, in the mind of one of the creators of Mortal Kombat, he would be.