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Mortal Kombat 1 revealed, takes the franchise back in time

NetherRealm announces its next big fighting game, which dives into the past

The next Mortal Kombat game — titled Mortal Kombat 1, an entry that will bring the series into the past — is (officially) coming this year. Warner Bros. Games and longtime series developer NetherRealm Studios announced the next Mortal Kombat game on Thursday with a reveal trailer, confirming that the fighting game will be released on Sept. 19 on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, and Xbox Series X.

The first trailer for Mortal Kombat 1 confirms the return of some familiar faces: Shang Tsung, Liu Kang, Raiden, Scorpion, Kitana, Mileena, and Sub-Zero. But they look quite different from the kombatants that players may know for the past 30 years, as Mortal Kombat 1 is set deep in MK’s history.

NetherRealm and publisher Warner Bros. call MK1 a “a reborn Mortal Kombat Universe that has been created by the Fire God Liu Kang,” with “reimagined versions of iconic characters.” The developer promises a new fighting system, game modes, and the series’ iconic fatalities, some of which can be seen in the debut trailer above. Mortal Kombat 1 will also include a new feature called Kameo Fighters, described as “a unique roster of [...] partners to assist you in battle.”

NetherRealm’s most recent Mortal Kombat game, Mortal Kombat 11, was released in April 2019. The developer added an additional 12 characters to the roster and released an expansion pack, Aftermath, through 2023. In 2023, the studio said it was “focusing on its next project” after supporting Mortal Kombat 11 for more than two years.

Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath ended with longtime villain Shang Tsung defeating Kronika, stealing her time-twisting abilities. But MK hero Liu Kang pulls a time-traveling trick on Tsung, defeating him, taking Kronika’s abilities for himself, with plans to create a New Era of the Mortal Kombat timeline (and bring back his many dead friends). Liu Kang then travels back in time to train the original Kung Lao, preparing him for Mortal Kombat contests to come.

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