No it's not smart, actually. If the Original 7, Kung Lao, Kitana, and Jax aren't playable out of the box at no additional charge, the game will automatically flop, and it would be justification for WB to shut down the Mortal Kombat IP for good.
It's this type of extremism that makes me worry about the MK fanbase, sometimes.
A few characters sitting out doesn't mean the game will flop and WB / NRS will shut down.
There are still 8 klassic characters that are not in MK11 and it was 1 of the Top 5 selling games of last year.
That should tell you that the name "Mortal Kombat" itself is enough to sell like hotcakes.
While I understand that Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Raiden and Liu Kang are the top 4 characters in all of MK, some of the other 10 klassic characters that NRS has put in MK9, MKX and MK11 can be swapped out for other klassics and people would probably be fine with it.
Hell, the reddit and social media is full of people who want Mileena, Reptile and the remaining male ninjas.
I'm pretty sure that if Sonya, Kano or Jax sat out in favor of some of those other characters that I mentioned that people constantly request, it wouldn't be as big of a deal.
Plenty of people in the fanbase have wondered why for 2 games now both Sonya and Johnny are in when Cassie is also in.
Whatever happened to the bullshit about passing the torch to the next generation?
It's especially laughable when people either shit on Sonya because in MKX because of character or in MK11 because of "Rhonda Rousey" or because "sHe'S bRoKeN," yet with all the shitting on Sonya that people do, she's in.