I was thinking about MK Armageddon and realized there was a lot of thought put into their designs and how much of it was inspired by the other kombatants. For example, if you really want to stretch it, Rain always had the Purple Rain thing going on, but then you have Taven who possibly takes influence from the Prince song Gold and Daegon with his possible inspirations being either Little Red Corvette or Raspberry Beret.
Also, Daegon can be easily as the "Evil-Taven", he actually has the gnarly scar on his right eye which is parallel to Kano. Both of them are bare chested leaders of their respective groups with notable eye injuries and sport their groups colors. In addition, Daegon can be seen as an ancient evil, while Kano is more of a modern day villain. This is a really fun coincidence that they share these similarities since the Red Dragon preceded the Black Dragon.
Similarly, if I really want to pull some strings, Taven's clothes really put me in the mind of a 'Liu Kang' palette swap that became it's own character. Kind of like how Havik and Reiko were Noob Saibot pallete swaps that took on their own identity. Hornbuckle coincidentally is the palette swap of Liu Kang and fought Blaze. It's a really big stretch, but the idea is there.
Then we have Shujinko, whom ironically becomes just like Shang Tsung over the course of the game. Damashi gives him the copy ability of the one person he dreamed of defeating and Shujinko would even sport an outfit that was somewhat similar to Shang Tsung upon becoming an older adult during his time in Chaosrealm. This would even be referenced in Cassie Cage's MKX ending where she brutally beats him to a pulp because of the similarities between the two (it's also rather interesting that Shujinko is always seen as this naive fool in both timelines, while Shang Tsung will always be seen as the crafty sorcerer).
Another interesting design choice is Hotaru. While, many people have complimented his cool beetle design, I've yet to see anyone address the trademark white hair and eyes that he shares with all of the other male gods (up to the point of Deception). It's very interesting that Damashi talks about Shao Kahn being in a role similar to Raiden in the Outworld level, while in the next realm we are introduced to Hotaru, the white-haired-white-eyed leader of the Seidan Guard and is likely the most powerful authority figure which is very similar to what Shao Kahn could have been like prior to assassinating Onaga.
Again, this is all just me overthinking the design motifs of the characters because I took a few art and creative writing classes a few years back. Whether these similarities or influences are intentional, accidental or non-existent, I do love the energy put into the 3D Era and think a lot of cool ideas were brought into MK during that time.