Mortal Kombat fans have been relentlessly teased these past few weeks with MK12 name-drops in the middle of an investor call, developer jokes online, and brief clips that hinted at a timeline reset (plus a nasty case of leakage). Developer Netherrealm has now ended the speculation and announced the next game in their brutal fighting series: Mortal Kombat 1. And it’s coming September 19th.
As the ending of Mortal Kombat 11 and its Aftermath expansion teased, the latest game ushers in a reborn universe for the long-running series. Fire God Liu Kang seems to have recreated the timeline as he sees fit, taking us to an era before the original game. Hence, the Mortal Kombat 1 name. Liu Kang’s ideal version of the world still includes returning fan favourites, probably because he’s a man that enjoys staying profitable.
Kang also loves brutality, and it’s somehow even harder to watch in a beautiful animated trailer like the one above. The trailer’s first half caught me off-guard with its idyllic farmlands, placing me into a kind of peaceful lull. But this is Mortal Kombat after all, meaning the eyeball-stabbing brain-squashing neck-twisting fatalities were inevitable, and they’ll surely ratchet up the gore in the full game.
Confirmed returning characters include Liu Kang, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Raiden, Kung Lao, Kitana, Mileena, Shang Tsung, and Johnny Cage. Reports say that DC’s Peacemaker and The Boys’ Homelander could join the fray as DLC characters too. Mortal Kombat 1 is also taking a page from other fighting games with a new Kameo Fighter system, letting you call in an assist from a special group of partner fighters – separate from the main roster of playable ones.
Mortal Kombat 1 is releasing on PC and consoles on September 19th, making 2023 a heavyweight year for fighting games.