While most fans have to wait a few more days before getting their hands on Mortal Kombat X, a few lucky individuals are already playing the hotly anticipated fighter. There are critics, who need the game early to make sure their reviews are ready on release day; there are those lucky players whose local game retailers sold the game early; and then there’s a whole other class of gamers, who didn’t just play Mortal Kombat X, but actually got paid to do so.
More than 70,000 viewers tuned in to NetherRealm Studios’ Twitch feed to watch the eSport League’s first-ever Mortal Kombat X tournament. Dubbed “The Fatal 8,” the competition pitted eight of the top professional fighting game players against one another in a series of best of five, single elimination match-ups, with the end goal of crowning the first Mortal Kombat X champion.
Every contestant was a heavy hitter. Guinness World Record Holder Ryan “Prodigal Son” Hart fought as Kung Jin, but couldn’t battle his way past the first round. Two time Mortal Kombat champ Carl “Perfect Legend” White and EJ “HitBox Tyrant” Williamson did a little better, guiding Kung Lao and Jax respectively to third place finishes. Malik “MIT” Terry and Scorpion nearly took home the biggest piece of the $10,000 prize pool, but ultimately settled for second place.
In the end, however, only one player could come out on top. This time around, that was Dominique “Sonic Fox” McLean, who used Erron Black in his “Outlaw” variation to crush his opponents. Sonic Fox’s win isn’t exactly an upset – he’s the reigning EVO Mortal Kombat 9 and Injustice: Gods Among Us champion – but with such formidable competition, it’s an impressive task all the same.
While the Fatal 8 tournament was mostly a promotional stunt designed to promote Mortal Kombat X’s impending release, it also served as the inaugural event in the brand new Mortal Kombat X eSports league. Starting April 19, Xbox One owners will be able to join the Mortal Kombat X ESL Pro League Tournament, which features weekly competitions with $1,000 payouts. The top sixteen players in the tournament will gather in Los Angeles on July 11, where they’ll battle it out for a prize pool worth over $100,000.
Start practicing as soon as possible. After all, some people already have a head start…
Mortal Kombat X comes out on April 14, 2015 for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions are rumored for on June 2, 2015.