Mortal Kombat sure loves its reboots, and with the upcoming Mortal Kombat 1, NetherRealm is once again rebooting its flagship franchise. A new universe, a new story, and a new twist on familiar characters- Mortal Kombat 1 is promising some very interesting things with its story, while on the gameplay front, everything it has revealed so far about its iterative improvements, its new mechanics, and its roster of characters has looked quite promising, to say the very least. It won’t be long now before the game is out and in our hands, and as we count the days down to its launch, here, we’ll be going over a few key details that you should know about it.
The roster of a fighting game is always one of its most important elements, and that’s especially true for a long-running franchise like Mortal Kombat, where there’s always so many options to pick from. While we don’t know how many total characters Mortal Kombat 1 will have, nearly twenty have been revealed so far. Unsurprisingly, quite a few series staples have been confirmed, including the likes of Liu Kang, Raiden, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Johnny Cage, Kitana, Mileena, Kung Lao, and Reptile. Iconic series villain Shang Tsung is included as well, though there’s a catch here- at launch, Shang Tsung is going to be a pre-order bonus only, while at some point following release, he will also be made available as purchasable DLC.
MORE ROSTER DETAILS
We’ve spoken about roughly half of the characters that have been confirmed about the game so far, but what about the other half? Well, there’s quite a few interesting picks here as well. For starters, other series mainstays like Rain, Smoke, and Baraka are returning, while Tanya, who made her debut in Mortal Kombat 4, are also confirmed. A number of characters who were introduced during the series’ 3D era are also in the roster, including Ashrah, Havik, Li Mei, and Kenshi. Meanwhile, Geras, who was introduced in Mortal Kombat 11, is also coming back.
Over a dozen characters have also been confirmed for Mortal Kombat 1’s Kameo roster, a few of whom are also in the main roster itself, those being Kung Lao, Scorpion, and Sub-Zero. Then there are a number of series mainstays who haven’t yet been confirmed for the main roster, but are going to be Kameo fighters at the very least, like Jax Briggs, Sonya Blade, Sektor, Goro, Cyrax, Frost, and Kano. Meanwhile, others like Darrius, Sareena, and Stryker are also included in the Kameo lineup.
The Mortal Kombat franchise absolutely loves its post-launch DLC guest characters, and Mortal Kombat 1 has already revealed the batch that it’ll be adding at some point following launch- and there’s some eye-catching names in here. The three main stars of what’s dubbed the Kombat Pack will be Homelander from Amazon Prime’s The Boys, Omni-Man from Invincible, and DC’s Peacemaker. In addition to guest characters, the Kombat Pack will also add Quan-Chi, Ermac, and Takeda Takahashi to the main roster, as well as five Kameo fighters in Tremor, Johnny Cage, Ferra, Mavado, and Khameleon.
All three guest characters in the Kombat Pack will feature the likenesses of the actual characters as seen on TV (which means Homelander and Peacemaker will look like Antony Starr and John Cena respectively). In addition, it’s also been confirmed that J.K. Simmons, who voices Omni-Man in Invincible, will be reprising his role for Mortal Kombat 1. Whether that means we can expect to hear Starr and Cena’s voices as well remains to be seen.
SCORPION AND SUB-ZERO
Pretty much every character in Mortal Kombat 1 is going to take on a different role from what we’ve seen of them so far, but what about the age-old rivalry between Scorpion and Sub-Zero? We’ve known for a while now that in this new and rebooted universe, they’re going to be brothers by blood instead of sworn enemies, though it’s likely that they’ll end up locking horns once again. As per the official Mortal Kombat website, in MK1, Sub-Zero is the Grandmaster of the Lin Kuei, and Scorpion is a faithful warrior of the clan, but when the former takes some “unprecedented” steps and disregards Lin Kuei traditions, Scorpion begins wondering if he may someday have to battle his brother for the clan’s control. Where exactly might that conflict arise? Perhaps Sub-Zero will be the one who kickstarts the Cyber Initiative this time, forcing Scorpion into action?
KITANA AND MILEENA
Mortal Kombat’s other big rivalry, between sisters Kitana and Mileena, will also have a major role to play in Mortal Kombat 1. Mileena no longer seems to be a genetic clone of Kitana now. The two were born seconds apart, and Mileena, being the (slightly) older sister, is the rightful heir to the Outworld throne. Kitana is sworn as her protector, though troubles will arise with Mileena having contracted the deadly Tarkat plague. Yeah, the Tarkatan are no longer a species in Mortal Kombat 1, but rather an actual disease (which, incidentally, Baraka also suffers from).
STORY MODE LENGTH
Mortal Kombat has consistently delivered memorable, lengthy story modes across several instalments now, and it looks like Mortal Kombat 1 will be following suit- at least where the length is concerned. Though NetherRealm Studios hasn’t provided an exact number, Ed Boon has confirmed that the game’s story mode will be roughly as long as the story modes in Mortal Kombat X and 11. That would mean we’re looking at a runtime of about 5-7 hours on average (or 15-16 if you’re intent on doing every single thing you can do).
Even between its announcement and now, it seems Mortal Kombat 1 has made improvements to its gameplay based on feedback. Following its online stress test in June, there were some players who pointed out issues with the game’s movement, namely with movement speed and dashes. Since then, NetherRealm has made movement, dashes, and back dashes faster, and confirmed that dash blocks from 2011’s Mortal Kombat are also making a return.
Here’s something else that hasn’t yet been formally unveiled but has managed to filter through the cracks nonetheless. In an age rating by Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority, it was mentioned that Mortal Kombat 1 a minigame in certain modes where players will have to destroy a decapitated head in order to progress. Further details are scant right now, though minigames about breaking skulls aren’t exactly new to the franchise, as fans of 2011’s Mortal Kombat will testify.
A fighting game’s netcode can make or break the experience, but thankfully, it doesn’t look like there will be any unexpected surprises on that front with Mortal Kombat. In today’s day and age you’d expect a major new fighting game to have rollback netcode, and NetherRealm has confirmed that Mortal Kombat 1 will indeed have it, just like Mortal Kombat 11 before it.
Mortal Kombat 1 isn’t going to be a cross-gen game, but though it’s skipping PS4 and Xbox One, it is, surprisingly enough, still coming to the Nintendo Switch, with NetherRealm confirming that the version is being handled by Saber Interactive and Shiver Entertainment (the latter also developed Mortal Kombat 11’s Switch port). How well the game will look and run on the platform remains to be seen, but MK11’s Switch port was decent enough, so perhaps there’s reason to be optimistic.
If you plan on playing Mortal Kombat 1 on PC, you won’t need to meet particularly demanding requirements. On minimum specs, the game will require either an i5-6600 or a Ryzen 3 3100 or a Ryzen 5 2600, along with either a GeForce GTX 980 or a Radeon RX 470 or an Intel Arc A750. Meanwhile, on recommended settings, you’ll need either an i5-8400 or a Ryzen 5 3600X, along with either a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti or a Radeon RX 5700 XT or an Intel Arc A770. On either setting, you’ll also need 8 GB of RAM and roughly 100 GB of free storage space.
Unfortunately, we’ve well and truly entered the era of $70 AAA releases, and Mortal Kombat 1 isn’t going to go against the trend here. On all platforms – PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, and PC – the game’s standard edition will be priced at $69.99.