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You Don’t Pronounce The X

Did you know this?!

A promotional image for video game 2XKO: two anime characters stand in front of a green and black background.

Yesterday, Riot announced the official name of its fighting game, once known as Project L, as 2XKO. Fans were swift to make fun of how the hell you’re supposed to pronounce it. I was too, but then I learned something shocking.

Here is a transcript of my discovery, edited for clarity:

Riley: How would you say this? “Tex-co?”

Nathan: “Two-KO,” like TKO, but with 2v2 combat. Seems like a lot of people dislike the name, but it makes sense to me! Plus, there’s a long and storied history of random Xs appearing in fighting game titles, almost all of which can be traced back to Guilty Gear. I know that at least some of the folks working on 2XKO are big Guilty Gear fans, so I imagine they’re trying to evoke that legacy. 

Riley: But then what do you do with the X? Is it a silent X?

Nathan: I think it's my background as a weeb, but thanks to shows like Hunter x Hunter, I already know what you do with it: You do not pronounce it. It's there to look cool.

Riley: Wait, do you not pronounce the X in Hunter x Hunter?

Nathan: Nope!

Riley: Lmao really? It’s “Hunter hunter?”

Nathan: You just say “Hunter hunter.” Same with Spy x Family: It’s just “Spy family.”

[Editor’s note: I have never seen Spy x Family or Hunter x Hunter, as will become readily apparent.]

Riley: Isn’t it a…spy versus a family? It’s not a spy family. 

Nathan: Nope! It’s a family of spies. The X is just there to look cool.

Riley: I thought it was, like, “versus.”  What about Hunter x Hunter? Aren’t the hunters, like, against each other?

Nathan: Nah, not really. I mean, some are. It’s a big world full of them.

Riley: I… always say the X. Even in heds I’ve written with the X. I wrote this hed, and when I say it to myself, I say the X.

Nathan: I mean, maybe in that case you do! I’m talking about specific titles here.

Riley: YOU DON’T SAY THE X. That’s wild. I love that I've used this but have no idea what it means. Solve for X, Nathan!

Nathan: This is getting so close to being a post where we just take this chat log.

Riley: It just makes me look like an idiot lmao. Does everyone know this?! Am I the last to know?!

Nathan: See, the thing about content in the year 2024 is, sometimes you've got to be OK with looking like the idiot, because learning things through other people is both entertaining and educational.

So there you have it, reader: me looking like an idiot. You don’t pronounce the X. What is this world coming to?

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