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Mortal Kombat 1: release date, trailers, gameplay, and more

Are you ready to test your might? After a small leak and a couple of teases on Twitter, Mortal Kombat 1 has been confirmed to be the next entry in the best-selling fighting game series of all time. Developer NetherRealm typically alternates between franchises, so many people expected their next project to be a new Injustice since Mortal Kombat 11 was their last release in 2019. That is evidently not the plan, but this also isn’t the Mortal Kombat 12 that would logically follow. The series already saw something of a reboot with Mortal Kombat 9, so what’s going on with Mortal Kombat 1? Choose your fighter and memorize your fatality button inputs, because we’re breaking down all the gory details of Mortal Kombat 1.

Release date

An ominous red portal opens up in a field in the Mortal Kombat 1 trailer.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Mortal Kombat 1 will be ready for kombat on September 19, 2023. However, there will also be an early access period for those who purchase either the Premium or Kollector’s Edition of the game. This early access will begin on September 14 at 10 a.m. PT.


This fighter is ditching last-gen consoles and will launch on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PC, and, most surprisingly, Nintendo Switch.


Mortal Kombat 1 - Official Announce Trailer | PS5 Games

The announcement trailer for Mortal Kombat 1 sets up the scenario for the game following the story events of Mortal Kombat 11’s Aftermath DLC. If you haven’t been following the admittedly complex and somewhat convoluted lore, the gist is that Fire God Liu Kang beat both Shang Tsung and Kronika at the end of the DLC and reset the entire timeline back to the beginning. So, while technically a sequel to 11, Mortal Kombat 1 is also a soft reboot of the lore, making it far easier for newcomers to come in without having to worry about all the timeline/time travel elements introduced in 9, 10, and 11.

Mortal Kombat 1’s trailer opens with Liu Kang explaining his decision to create a “blank canvas” where people are free to choose whether to live in peace or in combat. As he continues, we see many of the iconic characters from the past in their original forms, including Raiden without any godly powers since those were passed to Liu Kang in Mortal Kombat 11. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Mortal Kombat game without showing Scorpion and Subzero about to face off. However, before any potential fights break out, an eclipse captures everyone’s attention. A portal opens and Shang Tsun appears and a montage of him absolutely brutalizing the cast ensues with the exception of Liu Kang who takes him down with what must be a future Fatality.

Mortal Kombat 1 - Official Banished Trailer

The Banished trailer from EVO 2023 showed a bit more of the actual story of Mortal Kombat 1, plus some new characters. We focus first on the returning Reptile, followed by Ashrah, and Havik. Aside from some quick shots of the characters walking together through the forest, and Lieu Kang saying he needs to prepare them all for war, little about the actual plot was given.

Mortal Kombat 1 | Official Rulers of Outworld Trailer

The Gamescom trailer reveals what many probably expected – Outworlders are the cause of conflict yet again in this universe. General Shao in particular was highlighted as a potential main threat as he opposes Liu Kang’s rule. One new tidbit is that this time, when the Mortal Kombat tournament is being held, Raiden will be chosen as Earth realm’s champion.


Shang Tsung stealing someone's soul in Mortal Kombat 1.
WB Games

No gameplay was shown for Mortal Kombat 1, but it will obviously be a fighting game at its core. You can expect a range of attacks, throws, special moves, Brutalities, and iconic Fatalities through specific directional and button combinations.

One major change NetherRealm has confirmed is what they’re calling the Kameo Fighter system. From the description, these sound like assist fighters in other fighting games, where you select a secondary character that you can call on to assist you during a match, but not directly control or swap between.

Mortal Kombat has always been known for a huge suite of additional modes, such as the Tower of Time from Mortal Kombat 11 where you can take on challenges with various rules and conditions to earn additional rewards or Koins to unlock them. None of these modes have been confirmed yet, but there hasn’t been an entry without some kind of alternate way to play.


Scorpion in Mortal Kombat 1.
Warner Bros. Games

The current confirmed roster for Mortal Kombat 1 includes:

  • Liu Kang
  • Scorpion
  • Sub-Zero
  • Kitana
  • Mileena
  • Kung Lao
  • Raiden
  • Johnny Cage
  • Havik
  • Ashrah
  • Reptile
  • Geras
  • Li Mei
  • Baraka
  • Tanya
  • Rain
  • Smoke
  • Kenshi
  • Jax
  • Kano
  • Sindel
  • General Shao
  • Nitara (played by Megan Fox)
  • Shang Tsung (preorder exclusive)
  • Homelander
  • Omni-man
  • Peacemaker
  • Quan Chi (DLC)
  • Ermac (DLC)
  • Takeda (DLC)

We expect more fighters to be revealed over the months leading up to the launch and already know that at least six new characters are planned for the first DLC pack, three we still don’t know of yet.


Sub-Zero in Mortal Kombat 1.
WB Games

If you’re ready to fight, you can preorder Mortal Kombat 1 right now. The game has three editions to pick from, including the Standard, Premium, and Kollector’s edition. Here’s what each one gives you:

Standard: ($70)

  • Mortal Kombat 1 game
  • Shang Tsung
  • Beta access

Premium: ($110)

  • Everything from the Standard edition
  • Kombat Pack (Jean-Claude Van Damme skin for Johnny Cage, early access to six DLC characters, and five Kameo fighters)
  • 1,250 Dragon Krystals

Kollector’s Edition ($250)

  • Everything from the Premium edition
  • 16.5″ Liu Kang sculpture
  • Liu Kang character skin
  • Three art prints
  • Steelbook case
  • Total of 2,700 Dragon Krystals

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