What is a "proper" story mode?

Often times I see in the forums are requests for a “proper” story mode for KI. But that begs the question: what is it though? There are so many different opinions of what this “proper” story mode should be. Should it be similar to MKX or just an expanded S2 story mode for example? So I ask you guys, what is this “proper” story mode to you? I’m rather curious because this question is seriously making my head hurt.

Well a “proper” one probably by most standards is the classic arcade ladder. Personally I think those are outdated and not really worth bringing back.

Now a proper story mode it something that really isn’t possible unless it’s on two discs. At least in my vision.

Unless it’s on two discs? What do you mean? Like an rpg-esque story?

Oh yeah, like a full on legitimate story mode. Like an action adventure, RPG something like that. But as I said it wouldn’t be done sadly. Would cost too much. But I would pay good money for something like that.


Disc 1 contains all the elements of a fighter, training, dojo, online, leader boards all that stuff.

Then Disc 2 is a full on story mode COMPLETELY different from what disc 1 is. That would be something awesome if done right. But it would cost a shiny dime.

It’s a dream though, but a good dream nonetheless.

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I don’t think any fighting game would do something like that not just KI. In fighting games, the main goal is simply just to beat the crap out of your opponent. If they’re willing to go that far, they may as well just make a movie tie-in.

Though I don’t blame you for dreaming.

I’d say an improved version of season 2’s story mode but for the entire cast that covers one cohesive story.

Not 3 separate fragmented story modes, each with a different style that don’t connect with each other.

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I’m sure if there was enough budget (like alot of money not just some more) it might be done.

It could make history. Would give a whole new meaning to story mode in fighters. But I’ll continue to dream that in the meantime.

For some reason when I see your disc 2 idea, I feel it would be better served as a action-adventure spin-off that’s canon to the main universe instead of 2-D fights, Helps with the immersion more.


Oh if fights were ful blown 3D stuff. Oh geez…the epicness would be through the roof.

MK has a Godllike storymode. KI didn’t really have a great One…But I liked KI for the game itself since the story wasn’t a big deal. MK must be the best universe in FGs, well it’s my opinion. I totally love the story and the interactions between characters. If KI had that I would be very hype, But as a traditional fighting game storymode does ok. I kind of liked S1 arcade mode better though

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I think a storymode like MK 9/Injustice is amazing for a fighting game, and I will always appreciate the time and reaources put into it, I spent several our on it in both games aswell, so in a fighting game it does that something extra for single player enthusiast.

Arcade ladders arent really that special to me, although the way it was done in season 2 with some story fragments are ok and the minimum it should at least have. I do like some story in my games, even fighters.

Edit: I do agree with the below mentioned benefit by @Fwufikins of old school arcade ladders that its really your characters victory and story you are experiencing and not some standard good vs evil setpiece. SL seems fortunately seems to indeed take this jnto consideration

I am however really interested In Shadow Lords, one of the fondest fighting game modes still in my memory is Soul Blade (Soul Edge) which gave something new to the story back then with interconnected character stories and a weapon system through the singleplayer mode where you could get different weapons. I really liked it, and would like to see more of it in foghting games, I hope SL delivers.

I’m gonna sound like the odd man out here probably, but I really liked the concept of old school arcade modes.
They were what if situations that gave every character a voice, and opened a window into the world of what happens in their victory; YOUR victory.
I like that because it gives pay off to the time you’ve invested into finding that character’s story. It puts the player on point and rewards them as much as it rewards their character. The character you play is your avatar, and you just plowed through the rest of the cast like a baller. Here’s your reward Champ!
It’s not just “here’s the good guys, help 'em beat up the bad guys!” That’d be fine if the heroes in any story tend to be the least interesting characters. I mean, the villains are trying to do something proactive. Protagonists just react to the evil and try to return everything to status quo.
Luckily KI avoids this for the most part, but if I’m playing Sabrewulf I want to see the character I just trudged through arcade mode with get some kind of reward for single handedly wiping out the rest of the cast.

The thing that really gets me is the cutscenes in most story modes. Oftentimes the events in them don’t make sense compared to the events displayed in gameplay. For example, back in Season 2’s Story Mode, I was playing Aganos and fighting Cinder. I got a perfect victory and stage ultra’d him, turning him to dust. “But no matter how hard Aganos fought, Cinder came out on top and planted a mind control device on the weakened golem.” BOVINE EXCREMENT, I SAY! I just killed you! You died! TO DEATH! It’s like when you get the snot beat out of you in a cutscene, in a game where you just turned an entire army into giblets (I love you Wolfenstein:TNO, but…), or having to rely on the power of friendship to beat an enemy even though your friends have been worthless damsels in every fight thus far (looking at you, Hyrule Warriors).

Fighting game characters are an awesome unique opportunity in game design, because the fighting game is an expression of character in its purest form. They can convey their story through their design, their animations, their stages (most of the time :sob: ). Each of them has a story with their own motivation and back story that can be of nearly equal importance, rather than just “he good, they bad”.

By taking Story Mode/Arcade Ladders away from a simple, linear story and turning it into a collection of “what if” scenarios, fighting games can tell stories in much more interesting and personal ways than other mediums (including other genres of video games!).

This is part of why I like the way Shadow Lords is being built up to sound. The plot is dynamic, and events change based on the players actions. Every bit if flavor text, every new mission, even the difficulty level of the end boss are all effected by what you have your character do. If you keep up the good work and keep kicking demon/mimic ■■■ into next week, the arrival of Gargos will be postponed and he’ll be much more fair when he arrives. If you mess up and your characters die, or you forfeit missions or skip a day, he’ll come in harder, faster, and stronger than before as a direct consequence of your actions.
Big difference between Shadow Lords and conventional story telling?There’s stakes. In games like Skyrim or Dragon Age, the giant world ending cataclysm can wait until you’re done faffing about in the mine. With more linear plots, you can usually rest assured that the good guys win. Shadow Lords, however takes the route of games like Xcom or FTL where your actions have consequences and time is precious. It’s entirely possible that you’ll be unprepared to fight Gargos, and you let down the entire human race with your failure. You could lose continents and have regions go dark, making things much more difficult because you slipped up. And better yet, all the missions are character based, and effect the outcome of their stories directly based on your input.

It’s not a sight seeing tour of characters and locations while they have family drama and lose fights in cutscenes that any decent player had every right to win. Whether or not Gargos takes over the Earth or gets sent home with a broken…nose?.. is entirely on your shoulders.

Standard linear storytelling is boring and IMO doesn’t mesh well with fighting games. Classic arcade towers presented a host of “What If…” scenarios that give a reward befitting what happens if the character you choose as your avatar kicks as much ■■■ as you do, which is a much greater reward than watching a series of events unfold around you with little to no direct input. Shadow Lords jumps off of the strengths of fighting game story telling by giving each character unique questlines and pay-offs, as well as providing a sense of urgency since how you proceed effects the difficulty of your final battle as well as when it happens. Player driven story telling is the best kind of story telling, and having the character we play experience the same level of reward we do for winning seems only fitting. The same applies to punishment for losing.


Well, to me, having no sight, it’s something that those with and without sight can enjoy to the same level. Something that doesn’t rely on images and currently unreadable text (i.e. doesn’t interface with Narrator) to tell the story. I don’t mind if it’s MKX level or not, just something better quality than S2 was. Shadow Lords currently won’t fill this gap either, as the lore text and item usage will be hampered by a need to constantly get sighted assistance… Which is a shame considering how much hard work the de
vs have put in.

You’re not the odd one out here, I agree with you. I like a good old school arcade mode in an fg, simply as it works with nostalgia and isn’t outdated. Sure MK’s arcade mode feels outdated, but that’s partially because it’s designed to with the inclusion of the test your might minigame. KI’s arcade mode would be a straight up ladder so it’d feel more current especially considering s1’s story mode was pretty much that anyway, regardless of the fact that the story text isn’t readable if you don’t have any sight.

I can certainly understand your reasoning.

Mortal Kombat VS DC Universe.
Mortal Kombat.
Mortal Kombat X.
Street Fighter V.
Dead or Alive 5.

I think these are the fighting games with what I would call “proper” Story Modes, though some of them are better than the others. I personally prefer MK/X and SFV.

However, KI’s Season 2 Story Mode was pretty good for a fighting game on a budget. I liked the story inbetween the fights. I just wish ALL the characters got the same treatment and not just the S2 characters. :confused:

Mk story mode is good but once I finish it I never play it again. I just want a classic ladder for all characters, each with their own ending.


Pretty much almost everything you said is main reason why I like Shadow Lords so much. How the story will progress and hard it will be is all up to you. It makes it feel more like that I’m the one who has save the world and not just a character who is automatically labeled as the hero. Plus the journey constantly changes so it’s always a new experience every time you replay it. So when I finally beat Gargos, I am the one who earns the victory.

To me, this is why I probably prefer something like Shadow Lords over story modes like MK/X or SFV. In those games it’s always the exact same fights with the exact same outcome every time (but hey it’s super cinematic so it’s all good huh). So by the time you complete it you’re not likely going to touch it again unless you want to do it on harder difficulties (which really doesn’t mean much).

Plus in Shadow Lords, the character you choose as the captain (except guests) will be that specific character’s story you go through till the end like an arcade mode in contrast to certain characters being put in the back burner just for the sake of keeping the plot going.

A proper story is both an arcade ladder for each character and something like sfv and mkx on top of that. One and not the other in imbalanced, and if Shadow Lords lacks narrative and individual cut scenes and dialogue it is garbage tbh

@jdelau2 You might not like it if it doesnt have cutscenes, and thats your right, but saying it is garbage is insulting to the people who poor blood, sweat and tears in the making of the mode, especially if you havent played it yet.

Also, older fighting games dont have cutscenes, I guess those are garbage then too, and then we have games like Minecraft, Inside, etc that are modern classics and not a cutscene to be seen.

Basically just because it doesnt have cutscenes doesnt mean its garbage, you might be disappointed and thats fine, but think before you talk (type).