The Mortal Kombat game franchise is arguably one of the most popular fighting game series of all time, with its focus on over-the-top gore making it a must-buy for an entire generation of gamers.
Johnny Cage, who is currently one of the most popular characters in the franchise, was most definitely not popular during the early days of the franchise. Apart from being killed off in the film Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Johnny Cage was cut from the roster for many game sequels.
Mortal Kombat co-creator John Tobias took to Twitter and in a series of tweets, provided an explanation as to why Johnny Cage was absent from so many games. Tobias revealed that there was a secret system in place that allowed them to determine which characters were the most popular among players, and Cage simply wasn’t that popular as players didn’t pick him that much in Mortal Kombat 2.
“[Co-creator] Ed [Boone] and I wanted to add as many new characters to the MK2 roster as possible. This meant that we were going to have to leave a couple behind. How to make that choice? We added character select audits so we could see how many times each character was chosen. Ed also added a secret button tap sequence that let us walk up to any coin-op game in any arcade, tap in the button sequence and access the audit menu from the attract mode… The outcry from players missing Kano and Sonya in MK2 fueled their return in MK3. Johnny Cage (despite rumor and nonsense) was cut because he was the least selected character in MK2; as were, believe it or not, Raiden and Baraka…”
Despite all that, Johnny Cage is a fan-favorite right now and fans were elated to know he is not going to be appearing in the upcoming Mortal Kombat movie. The film’s producer Todd Garner has previously hinted the character will have a substantial role in the sequel. We will have to see how Cage will be portrayed in the sequel film.