Mortal Kombat 11, the latest game in the famed Mortal Kombat franchise, releases in less than two months. To celebrate the highly anticipated installment’s arrival, we’ve compiled a comprehensive breakdown of what we know and hope to see. Read on to learn more. 

What We Know 

While much about the details of the game is still under wraps, we know the story is a continuation of the Aftermath DLC from Mortal Kombat 11. In Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath, Liu Kang defeated Shang Tsung and acquired the hourglass’s power, allowing him to rewrite the entire timeline. In the trailer for Mortal Kombat 1, Kang says the realm is “a blank canvas he has painted in with warmth and peace. In this era, the choice is yours whether to live in quiet serenity or bloody strife.” Just how much Lui Kang (now the god of fire and thunder) has developed is still unknown, but character backstories, alliances and appearances have altered.

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Speaking of changed appearances, Johnny Cage gets a pretty rad glow-up with a character skin that basically turns him into action movie legend Jean-Claude Van Damme. Yes, it is finally happening. JCVD is officially a part of the Mortal Kombat Universe. This is exciting because Van Damme has long been accredited as the inspiration for Johnny Cage.

A Mortal Kombat character wearing sunglasses stands next to a shirtless man in a fighting pose.

Relationships Have Changed 

There are many iconic characters that we expect to see in every Mortal Kombat game, but with Liu Kang’s rewrite, we see many of the relationships have changed.

Sub-Zero has become Grand Master of the Lin Kuei but, with no external threats for generations, feels his warriors are wasting their potential. He decides it is time for the Lin Kuei to become one of Earthrealm’s great nations. This disappointed his brother Scorpion, who was hoping to uphold the traditional Lin Kuei values. He fears he must battle his brother to preserve the traditions of the clan’s legacy.

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Mileena, the older twin by seconds, is the rightful heir to Outworld’s throne, but many question her impulsive nature. They believe her more level-headed sister Kitana would be a better ruler. Kitana ignores these naysayers as she has sworn to protect her sister and help her become the best Empress possible. They are both hiding the terrible secret that Mileena is infected with the lethal Tarkat disease. If her secret is discovered, she will be forced to fight for her throne and possibly her life. 

Two women face off while wearing face masks and holding tridents in Mortal Kombat.

We get to see more from characters we haven’t seen in a while, including Rain and Kenshi Takahashi. Rain is a sorcerer able to harness the power of water into a potent weapon and hopes to learn the realms’ darkest and most powerful sorcery. The Takahashi family was decimated in battle and joined the Bakuto (predecessor to Yakuza) for protection. Five hundred years later, Kenshi Takahashi detests the Yakuza lifestyle his ancient family has cursed him with and looks to free the Takahashi clan of the Yakuza’s grasp. I am excited and curious to see these new relationships play out, how they weave together and how they influence the Mortal Kombat Universe.

The Kameo characters of Mortal Kombat standing side-by-side with two dragons intertwined in the background.

Kameos 

Kameos are probably the most unique addition to the gameplay. This is a special roster of fighting partners who assist you during matches. So far, some tag-teamers include Sonya Blade, Goro, Kurtis Stryker and a handful of others. Each character brings their own Special Moves, Throws and defensive Breakers to the fight. I am mainly looking forward to this mechanic because I want to see some brotherly battling with Scorpion and Sub-Zero or sisterly smackdowns with Kitana and Mileena. 

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What We Want 

Cooperation 

It seems unlikely, but I have been waiting a long time to see another RPG-style aspect similar to that in Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, released on PlayStation 2 in 2005. This one even allowed you and your friend to play through an RPG campaign as Liu Kang and Kung Lao. I love a good cooperative moment (or “Ko-op” because it’s Mortal Kombat). If you have a PS2, you can buy Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks for a decent price from most used game dealers. It is a unique and highly-rated addition to the Mortal Kombat Universe that I personally recommend. So far, though, the newest addition might be the classic 2D fighting side-scroller we all know and love.

Two male video game characters battle foes in the mountains on a dark night.

New Character Details 

Bi-Han was among the few original characters from the first Mortal Kombat game. He was the original Sub-Zero until death and is resurrected as Noob Saibot in later games. Fun fact: Noob Saibot are the last names of creators Ed Boon and John Tobias spelled backward. Throughout the decades, he has made some appearances, but they are few and far between, and not much is known about his history. Apparently, the Sub-Zero in Mortal Kombat 1 is Bi-Han, so hopefully, we will get a more fleshed-out version of his story.

Video game character Bi-Han stands against a dark bluish gray background while wearing a face mask.

New character designs, skins and new outfit options are something I cannot help but look forward to. Yes, I am one of those players; please refrain from eye-rolling. Hopefully, skins, extra characters and other DLC don’t do too much of a Fatality on my bank account. It is always fun to see which crazy random characters they will put in the game. The different character fighting style options in the past couple of games add even more replay value, so I hope to see those again.

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Animalities 

So far, they have brought back the Friendship and Babality Finishers, so I would like to see the return of Animalities. Do you remember those? If you are newer to the franchise, Mortal Kombat 3 introduced special finishing moves that would turn the fighters into different animals. There are so many of them, and it would be fun to see many of them with these slick new graphics.

A video game character stands next to a green dragon on a black background.

For me, the Mortal Kombat franchise has always meant interesting stories, memorable characters and the goriest fighting ever to exist. This newcomer has big shoes to fill, but it seems more than capable so far. For the most part, if they keep doing what they have been doing, I’ll be happy. 

Mortal Kombat 1 is set to release on September 19, 2023, but you can pre-order now. As usual, there are different versions with various rewards like character skins and extra Kameo fighters. 

The Mortal Kombat 30 logo over screengrabs from the franchise over the years.

Happy 30th Anniversary, Mortal Kombat

Get ready to feel old. Mortal Kombat is celebrating its 30th birthday. 

Check out this special message and video from Netherrealm Studios and Warner Bro. Games, thanking fans and commemorating Mortal Kombat‘s 30th Anniversary. You can also take a neat trip down memory lane and relive the stories of iconic MK characters over the years.

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What would you like to see in Mortal Kombat 1? What are you most looking forward to? What is your favorite Mortal Kombat game of all time, and why? Let’s talk about it in the comments below!

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