I'm with you, I don't know if it's most disappointing for me but it's definitely up there. I enjoyed the story for the most part, but the combat... To say it was a slog is an understatement. It alternated from boring to frustrating endlessly, and I'm pretty sure I let out an audible 'Oh, fuck this' when I backtracked and had a room of enemies respawn on me. Not that it was difficult to clear the room. I just didn't want to.
I don't think it's a money thing (or completely a money thing, at least). They're getting older. Most people don't stay in the industry -- at least this side of it -- for anywhere near how long they have. Like Frozen Girl said, you have to let it go.
That said if they start up a podcast patreon or something I would donate day one no doubt. I'd feel weird giving money to Red Ventures like that, though.
Cole was an addition from the studio who wanted someone to be 'the new guy' and have everything explained to him (and thus, the audience). He was in the original draft that writer Greg Russo worked from. According to him:
“I inherited a script in 2016, and that had the new protagonist in it,” Russo says. “But it had no tie to the mythology of Mortal Kombat. I thought, if we’re going to do it, I want to make sure we do it right and that this character fits into the mythology in an organic way.”
Extremely. It's rare that I'll pay full-price $60-70 for a game, pretty much exclusively Nintendo games (which are often full-price for years) or the Yakuza series (which I'm just a big fan of and want to support). The idea of playing what everyone else is and keeping up with new releases died with me a long time ago, I'm more than happy saving a couple bucks and picking stuff up months later. Especially now with DLC and 'Complete Editions' being a thing, I'll gladly wait two years to get the full experience on a game.