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Mortal Kombat is a long-standing and iconic fighting game series created by Ed Boon and John Tobias. The first Mortal Kombat game was originally released in 1992 and has since evolved into a popular franchise with numerous sequels, spin-offs, movies, and comics. To this date, 24 games in the series have been released. As the release of the latest and most expansive installment in the series Mortal Kombat 1 approaches, let’s see what we can expect from it.

[Warning: Spoilers from Mortal Kombat gaming franchise are below!]

You can play Mortal Kombat 1 without previous knowledge

The current ongoing narrative began with the 2011 game Mortal Kombat, also known as Mortal Kombat 9. In it, Raiden realizes that in order to save Earth, he must change the timeline. So everything that happened before this game was no longer “canon.”

In Mortal Kombat 9, Liu Kang and many other defenders of the Earthrealm die and become undead revenants ruling the Netherrealm. They are the villains of Mortal Kombat X and 11. Everything else that happened in this game become the main plot point of the Mortal Kombat series.

Resulting from Raiden becoming an increasingly evil and dark version of himself, he loses his humanity. Now he doesn’t hesitate to kill some people/creatures. For this reason, Kronika (the Titan in the Universe) decided to rewrite time. In the new timeline, there would be no Raiden or Earthrealm protectors to stop her.

Fire God Liu Kang in Mortal Kombat 11
Fire God Liu Kang in ‘Mortal Kombat 11’ (NetherRealm Studios/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)

But because of the timeline manipulation, she accidentally brought back versions of the characters from Mortal Kombat 9 to the current timeline. In the end, there was a big fight and everyone died, and the whole universe was wiped out. Except for Liu Kang, who merged with Raiden and became Lord Liu Kang – the God of Fire and Thunder.

Liu Kang killed Kronika and created a new timeline under his leadership with the counsel of Raiden and his beloved Kitana. Mortal Kombat 11 is a well-written story by Dominic Cianciolo and Shawn Kittelsen. It was a suspenseful and emotional adventure telling the story of how good will always win against evil.

Mortal Kombat 1 tells a completely new story with new plot twists

Liu Kang created a new timeline in which no one knows their future. There will be no person pulling the strings, and each person will have free will. Characters can choose to either live in quiet serenity or in bloody strife. Everything has changed, new origin stories, new worlds, new places, new masters, everything is new.

In previous games, Liu Kang has always been the champion chosen by Raiden to defend the Earthrealm. This time, it’s someone new – Kung Lao. Liu Kang chose his longtime best friend, whom he considered a brother, as his champion.

This game will serve as an origin story for each character. Raiden is not the God of Thunder, but an ordinary man. However, he will join Liu Kang, learning to be the great fighter.

Smoke, Sub-Zero & Scorpion in Mortal Kombat 1
Smoke, Sub-Zero & Scorpion in ‘Mortal Kombat 1’ (NetherRealm Studios/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)

The Lin Kuei clan is one of the most interesting elements of this game. It will include Sub-Zero, Scorpion, and Smoke. Sub-Zero will be Bi-Han, but Scorpion will be his brother Kuai Liang, not the iconic Hanzo Hasashi. This is one of the biggest changes in the storyline. All three are brothers. Although Smoke is not their brother by blood, they still consider him one of them.

Another change in the story is the origin of Mileena and Baraka. In previous games, Mileena was created using Kitana blood and Tarkatan physiology by Shang Tsung. In Mortal Kombat 1, both Baraka and Mileena are sick. They are victims of the Tarkat plague, which is an incurable, contagious disease. It turns its victims into monsters with physical deformities.

With the disappearance of the old threat comes a new one. This time Shang Tsung returns to fight Liu Kang. Since this is a new story, I doubt we will see similar scenes from previous games in it. There may not be a tournament to decide whether Emperor Shao Kahn will invade Earth or not.

A big part of the MK 1 story will be Geras. In the previous universe, he was Kronika’s henchman. However, now he’s Liu Kang’s follower and friend who guards time.

New gameplay introduces new permanent mechanics

One new mechanic in Mortal Kombat 1 is Kameo. Kameo warriors will serve as an aid during combat to inflict more damage on the enemy, show various Fatal Blows, and even present us with various Finishers. Therefore, it is possible to fight as Kenshi together with Kano against Johnny Cage and Sub-Zero.

Of course, Mortal Kombat 1 will see the return of the iconic brutal Finishers, items to interact with, various poses, and unique move sets. This time we will have more room to adjust the way we fight and find our own style. With brand-new animations and a brand-new version of the engine (Unreal Engine 4), there will be plenty to do.

Johnny Cage in Mortal Kombat 1
Johnny Cage in ‘Mortal Kombat 1’ (NetherRealm Studios/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)

Apparently, there is also a possibility that the game will be more approachable to new players. It may also forgive mistakes during fights, which in previous games were the reason for losing a fight as soon as it started. In addition, to the surprise of many, the rooster of playable characters will be different from the “Kameo” characters.

Cyrax, Frost, Goro, Jax Briggs, Kano, Sektor, Sonya Blade, and Stryker will be only available as “Kameos”. We won’t be able to use them in combat, which seems really strange considering that Sonya, Kano, and Jax were the main characters in previous Mortal Kombat stories. Also joining Mortal Kombat 1 as playable characters in DLC are Ermac, Homelander, Omni-Man, Peacemaker, Quan Chi, and Takeda.

Nitara joins the roster of playable characters for the first time since the first days of Mortal Kombat. For many long-time fans, it’s big news. Additionally, Jean-Claude Van Damme himself, who was the original inspiration for Johnny Cage, will appear in the game. He will appear in a form of a skin for Johnny and with his own original voice lines. 

What’s next for the Mortal Kombat game series

Mortal Kombat 1 is undoubtedly a game that must live up to its potential. Being a reboot of the entire series, whose only common element is Liu Kang, it has to show many interesting things. Among them must be a very intriguing and epic story.

But gameplay and online features are also an essential part of the Mortal Kombat games. By expanding them in a much larger and more modern way, they can be even more fun.

I believe that in future projects, creators such as the legendary Ed Boon will decide to give fans a lot of novelty and present them with new possibilities. One of the additions I would like to see in the Mortal Kombat games is an improved system for choosing the ending of the story.

For example, we always have 2 different endings in games like Mortal Kombat or Injustice. But now we could have 6 or even 7 of them. Giving players different choices during gameplay would not only keep them with these games for hours but also allow them to create their own stories in a more unique way.

Mortal Kombat 1 is undeniably one of the most interesting gaming titles of 2023. It will release on September 19, 2023 only on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. Are you hyped for it? Do you like the Mortal Kombat franchise? Let us know on Twitter and our own Discord channel.

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Wiktor Reinfuss

Big fan of all sorts of pop culture stuff. I also enjoy ambitious cinema. Games, music and graphics are all within my interests. I have a great fondness for the Arrowverse series, especially The Flash.

Wiktor Reinfuss has 117 posts and counting. See all posts by Wiktor Reinfuss