iconic villain Shang Tsung appears from a portal.
When it comes to fighting games, 2023 is a big year and among the most-anticipated ones is Mortal Kombat 1.
The latest title looks to re-ignite the long-running franchise with “reimagined characters like they’ve never been seen before” as well as new mechanics and gameplay systems that change up what players think they know about the series.
The trailer gave fans the first look at the new game, revealing changes to iconic characters.
It also gave a glimpse of the over-the-top fights that fans are familiar with, including fatalities which appear to be even more brutal than usual.
A release date was revealed so with that said, we look at Mortal Kombat 1 and what to potentially expect.
After weeks of teasers, the Mortal Kombat 1 trailer was released on May 18, 2023.
It begins with a shot of Thunder God Raiden and Kung Lao, with the latter seen wearing a version of his signature hat without its famous weaponised rim.
It cuts to a crowd watching a horse-drawn carriage. Inside the carriage are Kitana and Mileena.
The trailer cuts again to what appears to be Scorpion and Sub-Zero, who are surprisingly not battling one another.
But as an eclipsed moon appears, Sub-Zero and Scorpion seemingly unite.
When Fire God Liu Kang descends from the sky to greet Raiden and Kung Lao, iconic villain Shang Tsung appears from a portal.
The trailer quickly intensifies and showcases the fights and fatalities that the Mortal Kombat franchise is known for.
It ends with Liu Kang telling Tsung:
“You have chosen to defy peace then you have chosen war with a God!”
He then unleashes a particularly brutal fatality on the villain.
The end of Mortal Kombat 11 and its Aftermath expansion saw its reality get a reset courtesy of a powerful Fire God Liu Kang and the Hourglass mechanism left behind by Kronika.
Referred to as the New Era, this timeline is protected by Kang and features familiar faces in reimagined roles.
This is highlighted in the trailer where Kitana and Mileena are seen at peace with one another.
But some things never change as classic foes such as Shang Tsung are still up to no good even after they have been given a fresh chance to live a peaceful life.
The New Era could also allow Sub-Zero to finally fix the one problem that has plagued him in both timelines.
One of the franchise’s most iconic characters, Sub-Zero is the leader of the Lin Kuei ninjas and Mortal Kombat 1 could explore his connection to Frost.
Frost was his student in both timelines but her arrogance and ambition led her to become an enemy.
Her role in the previous game was particularly shocking as she became one of Kronika’s underlings and was one of the most evil characters, forcibly turning other ninjas into robot henchmen.
Frost has essentially been the opposite of Sub-Zero in terms of morality, which is ironic because he was her mentor at one time.
Although Sub-Zero has clashed with Frost in past timelines, he seems to show more disappointment than hatred towards her.
Since the timeline reset, the New Era could be Sub-Zero’s chance to do what he failed to do in previous timelines and ensure that Frost does not turn against the Lin Kuei.
If so, that could have significant repercussions for future games.
If Frost does not become a villain in Mortal Kombat 1, then she could be one of the franchise’s past antagonists to have an entirely new storyline.
There is the possibility that a new version of Frost could be akin to Jacqui or Kung Jin from the last timeline, being a younger fighter who follows in the vein of their respective mentor.
By keeping Sub-Zero as a mentor rather than an enemy, Frost’s entire destiny would change compared to past incarnations.
Sub-Zero and Frost could potentially offer one of the series’ biggest changes. Although Frost is not yet one of Mortal Kombat 1‘s confirmed fighters, the fact that she has appeared in both previous timelines provides reason to expect her to return at some point.
In addition, Mileena’s presence in the trailer shows that not being in the first game doesn’t automatically disqualify later characters from appearing.
The long-running franchise is known for its extensive roster of characters and the upcoming game is no different.
The trailer revealed reimagined versions of Liu Kang, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Raiden, Kung Lao, Kitana and Mileena.
Although he did not appear in the trailer, Johnny Cage will also be in the game. Johnny Cage will even have a Jean-Claude Van Damme premium skin in the pack as well.
Shang Tsung will be available as a pre-order bonus.
As the game approaches its release date and post-launch, new playable characters will be added.
But it seems that the roster of playable characters and Kameo characters for the first DLC Kombat Pack were leaked online.
According to a product listing on Amazon Italy – which has since been removed – there are six playable characters and five Kameo characters in Kombat Pack 1.
The six playable characters are said to be Quan Chi, Omni Man, Ermac, Peacemaker, Takeda, and Homelander.
Packaged with them are apparently five Kameo characters, who are Tremor, Johnny Cage, Khameleon, Mavado and Ferra.
Of the playable characters, the two most interesting ones are Peacemaker and Homelander.
Peacemaker is from DC Comics and has been portrayed by John Cena in The Suicide Squad and the Peacemaker spin-off show.
Meanwhile, Homelander is one of the main characters in the Amazon Prime Video series The Boys.
While the first trailer did not show off any actual gameplay, Mortal Kombat 1 is said to be a reimagining of the series’ iconic characters.
But the familiar fast-paced, brutal combat is not going anywhere and there are a lot of new gameplay features that will be unveiled.
The new main mechanic detailed so far is the Kameo system, which will provide assistance to the player during fights.
These characters will be separate from the main roster and chosen before each fight.
However, the nature of how these partners assist in matches is currently unknown.
Mortal Kombat 1 will also feature a Story Mode, which the developers promise “a brand-new cinematic narrative featuring unexpected twists on classic rivalries and original backstories for the wide-ranging cast of legendary fighters”.
Release Date & Platforms
At the end of the trailer, it was revealed that Mortal Kombat would be launched on September 19, 2023, barring any delays.
When it does come out, it will be available for PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PC and Nintendo Switch.
It is likely to receive some visual downgrades to accommodate the Switch’s older hardware.
But it is worth noting that the game will not be available on PS4 or Xbox One.
There is also an opportunity for some fans to play the game earlier than the official release date.
Players who preorder the game on either PS5 or Xbox Series X/S will be able to access a limited beta test in August 2023.
Those who preorder either the Premium Edition or Kollector’s Edition will also be able to access the full game on September 14, 2023.
Although Street Fighter 6 and Tekken 8 are set to release soon, Mortal Kombat 1 stands out with its reimagining of popular characters.
This makes the storyline an intriguing one even before details have been revealed.
And fans will not have to wait long for it.