Mortal Kombat 1 releases in just a few months and we’ve now got a good idea of how it looks and plays as well as what to expect when the release date rolls around. It’s a canonical reboot of sorts as well as a direct sequel that wipes the slate clean without sacrificing the good ideas that have made the franchise popular for decades.
We’re bringing you everything you need to know about Mortal Kombat 1 from the release date, the roster, the platforms you can play it on, the story, and more. Straight off the bat, you can play the upcoming NetherRealm title on PS5, Xbox Series X, PC, and even Nintendo Switch. It’s likely to go down as one of the best fighting games of the year, and that’s particularly impressive given the fierce competition of 2023 so far.
What’s exciting is how Mortal Kombat 1 will play on some of the best fight sticks as we’re now getting some top performers on all the major platforms. Now that a new console generation is here the latest in the long-running violent fighter should look and play the best it ever has.
Mortal Kombat 1: Cut to the chase
What is it? A reboot of the long-running Mortal Kombat fighting game seriesWhen can I play it? September 19, 2023 What can I play it on? Xbox Series X, PS5, PC, Nintendo SwitchMortal Kombat 1 release date and platforms
(Image credit: Warner Bros. Games)
Mortal Kombat 1 release on September 19th, 2023. This places it in some stiff competition, as it’ll be launching in the same year as Street Fighter 6. Those that pre-order either the Premium Edition or Kollectors Edition of the game will be able to play the game early, starting September 14th, 2023.
In terms of platforms, Mortal Kombat 1 will launch on PC, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and Nintendo Switch.
Mortal Kombat 1 trailers
Mortal Kombat 1 Summer Games Fest trailer
The extended Mortal Kombat 1 reveal as showcased at the recent Summer Games Fest has now cemented how the upcoming fighter will play. As well as giving us a proper look at the new art style and younger characters, most importantly the combat itself has seen a serious facelift. Things are significantly faster than with its predecessor which is greatly appreciated. We also saw the Kameo fighters in action, acting as assists for things like combo breakers, combo extenders, and team super moves.
Mortal Kombat 1 looks a little more conventional in terms of a competitive fighter. From the looks of things, the regular super meter is making a return, which was last seen in Mortal Kombat X and brought into the series with the 2011 reboot. This system allows for enhanced special attacks, with a combo breaker, and then an X-ray move. Both X-rays and screen-filling special moves were present in the demo which leads us to believe that one will replace the other when Kameo fighters are active, but there isn’t enough to go off in that regard yet.
What we do know is that Kameo fighters have their own bespoke character select menu, the kombatants wearing old-school attire from the original trilogy. For example, Kano, Sonya, and Jax were present as assists and rocking the clothing from their original debuts over 30 years ago. It’s exciting to see this return, but it leaves us skeptical as to who is being left off the main roster and relegated to a secondary position. More Kameo fighters we spotted in the reveal include Stryker, his first appearance since the reboot, and Goro, making a return since his playable turn in Mortal Kombat X.
The focus on aerial combat in Mortal Kombat 1 is a real surprise. Early into the four-minute Summer Games Fest demo, we could see both Scorpion and Sub-Zero start a kombo on the ground before taking to the air and carrying on the assault before crashing back down again to continue. There’s never really been the angle of air juggling in the series before, save for the likes of Scorpion’s air throw in the 2011 reboot. This new verticality combined with the significantly improved pacing, makes for a fighting game that’s sure to thrive in the competitive scene.
Mortal Kombat 1 cinematic announcement trailer
The cinematic announcement trailer for Mortal Kombat 1 debuted on May 18 which gives us our first proper look at the game. As expected, the title follows on from the events of Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath from 2020, which saw Fire God Liu Kang defeat Shang Tsung and Kronika to reset the convoluted timeline and bring free will to the remade EarthRealm (and presumably OutWorld, too).
It’s a smart choice if you ask us as it gives the series a chance to go back to its roots without the hard reset that was needed when Mortal Kombat rebooted back in 2011. The first trailer has shown off what some of the biggest names in the franchise will look like including Liu Kang himself, as well as Kung Lao, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Kitana, Mileena, and Shang Tsung. Clear inspiration has been taken from the Mortal Kombat movie from 2021 with a more grounded style and flair, especially in regards to Shang Tsung who bares a striking resemblance to actor Chin Han from the film.
It’s difficult to comment on Mortal Kombat 1’s art style as this is a cinematic trailer but if it is anything to go by then the game will be truly gorgeous. There’s a real focus on environmental lighting and we’re personally thrilled with the new look of some of the series favorites here. The gore looks to be a lot less cartoonish than what we saw with Mortal Kombat 11 in 2019, striking a balance between the grit and bloodshed of Mortal Kombat X with the brighter colors and vibrancy of Mortal Kombat (2011).
Mortal Kombat 1 gameplay
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)
Now that the Summer Games Fest demo has been unleashed we know that Mortal Kombat 1 is a significantly faster game than the previous entries in the series with an emphasis on aerial combos and assists in the form of Kameo fighters. Things are a little more straightforward here as NetherRealm appears to be catering to the hardcore fighting game community with systems that you would find in other popular titles. This means a return of the super meter of old, but also a focus on team-up attacks, and more aggressive play.
Ever since the original announcement trailer, Mortal Kombat 1 looked to be much more fluid than the likes of Mortal Kombat 11, embodying the speed of what we saw with Mortal Kombat X back in 2015. The first two entries of NetherRealm’s trilogy used X-Ray moves which were replaced by Fatal Blows in the most recent game from 2019. It’s unlikely that NetherRealm will break from this tradition as these moves play a pivotal role in changing the tide of matches in both casual and competitive play even in 2023. Now, it appears that X-ray moves are back alongside the new team-up supers which have been demonstrated.
Also likely to make some kind of comeback in Mortal Kombat 1 is the variation system as seen in Mortal Kombat X and then iterated upon in Mortal Kombat 11. This was a way to choose from a specific loadout of abilities (usually new special moves) and certain pre-set combos that would give you advantages and disadvantages when playing. It’s something that was praised by the community and allowed players a way to develop their own play style around the tournament-legal (or custom-created) moves list.
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)
Naturally, fatalities have been confirmed to be returning which should act in the way they always have historically, which are cutscenes triggered with a button string to end a match. We’re also likely to see Brutalities make a comeback as they have been a part of the last two games in the Mortal Kombat series as well, which take a little more skill and are situational for a flashier way to end fights. It would be great to see stage fatalities make a return after being absent from Mortal Kombat 11 until they were added to new stages in the Aftermath expansion in 2020.
What we really want to see is the character animations become more fluid as that’s the main aspect where NetherRealm’s fighting game series lags behind the likes of Street Fighter and Tekken. Mortal Kombat 1 has the potential to be running on Unreal Engine 5 which could really push what the current generation of consoles and PC are able to do with the material but this remains to be stated by the developer.
We’re likely to get the traditional towers mode, and possibly even a variation of the Living Towers / Towers of Time from Mortal Kombat 11. This would give an incentive for players to return to the game for single-player content which could be used to unlock gear or items for their customed character, as NetherRealm first utilized with Injustice 2, but that has yet to be confirmed.
Mortal Kombat 1 roster
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)
The announcement trailer gave us a proper first look at some of the Kombatants we can expect to play as in Mortal Kombat 1. The following fighters are now confirmed to appear in Mortal Kombat 1:
Liu KangScorpionSub-ZeroKitanaMileenaShang TsungKung LaoRaidenJohnny CageKenshi
It’s hard to gauge who will make a return in Mortal Kombat 1, but personally, we would love to see Ermac, Rain, Smoke, Jade, Erron Black, Cassie Cage, Jax, Jacqui Briggs, Kenshi, Takeda, and Noob Saibot reappear. That’s to say nothing of the slots for dedicated new characters that made a debut in Mortal Kombat 11 like Kollector, Geras, and Cetrion, it’s almost certain that we’ll see some new faces as well as old ones.
One exciting thing about NetherRealm’s Mortal Kombat games is the guest characters, which the series has had great success with in the past. Mortal Kombat (2011) included Kratos from God of War as well as Freddy Krueger from the Nightmare on Elm Street series. Mortal Kombat X doubled down on the horror theme by having a Xenomorph from Alien, Jason Vorhees from the Friday the 13th movies, Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, as the Predator from the franchise of the same name.
Mortal Kombat 11 had a completely different tone and opted for superheroes and 80’s action stars so saw Batman’s The Joker, The T-800 from Terminator, Image Comic’s Spawn, and Robocop. The door is wide open at this point as there’s no real way of knowing exactly who will show up in Mortal Kombat 1, but it’s likely to be a big name in pop culture. It would be great to see Ash from the Evil Dead series given the recent release and success of Evil Dead Rise, and Homelander from The Boys would make a truly terrifying opponent in a one-on-one encounter, but that’s pure wishful thinking on our part.
Mortal Kombat 1 story and setting
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)
The cinematic reveal trailer has confirmed that Mortal Kombat 1 will take place directly after Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath with Fire God Liu Kang defeating Shang Tsung for dominance over Kronika’s sands of time. With the original series villain seemingly defeated, the newly appointed god and protector of EarthRealm has recreated the likes of EarthRealm and given all free rein for peace and war. However, the trailer ends with Shang Tsung returning through a portal, much like how the original story for Mortal Kombat 11 ends, showing that things clearly aren’t as clean-cut as he originally envisioned.
Few settings are fully explored in the roughly two minutes of content available, however, it looks as though the Shirai Ryu fire gardens were rebuilt as we briefly see both Scorpion and Sub-Zero in a place that resembles them. We don’t yet know if these are entirely new interpretations of the characters or some sporting new designs which retain memories of the rebooted trilogy so that will remain to be seen in the coming months.
As expected, there’s going to be a full cinematic story mode which NetherRealm has garnered acclaim for including since Mortal Kombat (2011). It’s likely that this will last around 6-8 hours if the previous games are anything to go by and we’ll get our answers soon. For our money, we don’t think that things are wrapped up with the Elder Gods yet, as Kronika, Cetrion, Shinnok, and Shao Kahn are only the tip of the iceberg. We still don’t know who the big bad of this game is going to be yet, even with mere months to go, but, hopefully, it’s someone worthy of the mantle.
Mortal Kombat 1 editions
(Image credit: Warner Bros. Games)
There are three main editions of Mortal Kombat 1. These can all be pre-ordered via the game’s website, and include the Standard Edition ($69.99), Premium Edition ($109.99), and Kollector’s Edition ($249.99). You can check out more info on these below:
The Mortal Kombat 1 Standard Edition will give you the following bonuses for pre-ordering:
Shang Tsung playable characterAccess to Pre-Order beta (Xbox and PS5 only)
The Premium Edition version of Mortal Kombat 1 will give you the following bonuses, as well as the base game:
Shang Tsung playable characterAccess to the Pre-Order Beta (Xbox and PS5 only)6 new playable characters5 new Kameo characters1 week early access to DLC charactersJean-Claude Van Damme skin for Johnny Cage1250 Dragon Krystals
Here’s what’s included in the Mortal Kombat 1 Kollector’s Edition:
Shang Tsung playable characterAccess to the Pre-Order Beta (Xbox and PS5 only)6 new playable characters5 new Kameo characters1 week early access to DLC charactersJean-Claude Van Damme skin for Johnny Cage2700 Dragon KrystalsLiu Kang sculptureCOARSE art prints inspired by Mortal Kombat 1Exclusive steel caseExclusive limited edition Liu Kong in-game color variant inspired by sculptureMortal Kombat 1 news
Mortal Kombat 1 Summer Games Fest in-depth reveal
Summer Games Fest has given us the next big look at how Mortal Kombat 1 plays as well as explaining exactly what the deal is with the new Kameo fighters. The reveal has highlighted the significantly faster combat, more technical play, gorgeous lighting, and animations, as well as what we can expect from the story mode.
Mortal Kombat 1 cinematic trailer and release date revealed
The cinematic gameplay reveal of Mortal Kombat 1 was released on May 18 with a release date of September 19 – four months later. It’s been four years since the last mainline entry in the series, Mortal Kombat 11 in 2019, as NetherRealm has skipped Injustice 3 in favor of its flagship franchise; a tradition that had carried since the alternating releases the two fighting game series would have every two years.
Mortal Kombat 12 confirmed in development in Warner Brothers investor call
Mortal Kombat 12 has been announced in a surprisingly left-of-field fashion: at a Warner Brothers investor call. The title is expected to release sometime in 2023, but, as of yet, no trailer or preview has been released. This is odd, considering it is one of the biggest [upcoming games] of the genre. However, we anticipate that NetherRealm will have something more tangible for us, soon.