The original blood-and-guts fighter is back. Mortal Kombat 11 is set to release on April 23, and fans of the iconic brawler from the ’90s are fully stoked. After the series received a much-needed overhaul in 2011, Mortal Kombat is delivering hit after hit, and this new game looks to be taking the skull-splitting violence of the series to a whole new level. NetherRealm Studios’ last outing, Injustice 2, was a hugely successful title for the PS4 and XBox One, making the anticipation for MK11 very high. We may have a serious contender for best fighting game of 2019 on our hands already. Here’s everything we know so far.
Mortal Kombat 11 is all about time travel.
The main attraction of MK11 is getting to beat the shit out of each other. Mortal Kombat games always centered themselves around the cathartic frivolity of exacting gruesome and unforgivable suffering onto your opponent. But in recent years, series co-creator Ed Boon and NetherRealm Studios focused more and more on the pulpy story element of their games. Mortal Kombat itself is based on dimension-hopping, with the Earth realm constantly facing new and terrifying attacks from other hellish realms. This new game looks to be placing a big emphasis on, of all things, time travel.
MK11 picks up right after the events of Mortal Kombat 9. (The previous game, MKX, was fast-forwarded many years in the future.) Kronika, the icy antagonist of this new story, isn’t so happy about past events and wants to bring stability to the realms by starting everything over. So, by leveling the playing field and ironing out all of history, we’ll see characters from all eras of Mortal Kombat returning to the fray. MK11 will let you play as classic (or Klassic) versions of your favorite fighters, updated iterations, evil ones, bad ones, forgotten ones—just about every take on the brawlers you can remember. And yes, that means even the shirtless, sunglasses-clad, douchebag era of Johnny Cage.
The list of confirmed fighters is long.
While the entire cast of playable characters isn’t unveiled yet—and keep in mind, NetherRealm has been known to include a pretty bulky DLC cast, too—many fan-favorites are confirmed.
Inverse strung together a comprehensive list of playable characters either announced by NetherRealm or confirmed via miscellaneous livestreams and Twitter posts so far. Here’s who they’ve got:
- Cassie Cage
- Erron Black
- Jacqui Briggs
- Johnny Cage
- Kotal Kahn
- Shao Kahn
- Sonya Blade
Inverse notes that a few characters appear in trailers and footage, but are not confirmed as playable just yet. Here are the three they found:
- Kung Lao
- Liu Kang
The game also features a brand new character named Geras. Subservient to Kronika, he possesses the ability to manipulate and bend the sands of time. This means freezing time and teleportation, as well as attacking using literal grains of sand.
Another highlight is Sonya Blade. The first woman of the series, Sonya’s been kicking ass for literally decades. This time around, she’s being portrayed by none other than Ronda Rousey. Though Rousey didn’t actually provide any motion capture for the game, Sonya Blade will feature the MMA-turned-movie-star’s voice and likeness.
MK11 is introducing the ‘Fatal Blow.’
Mortal Kombat is beloved for its brutal, high-impact, fighting game mechanics, and MK11 is touting a version of the game that’s every bit as crunchy and rip-roaring as the most iconic titles in the franchise. And after its disappointing experiments in platforming in the 2000s with games like Mortal Kombat Mythologies and Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, it looks like NetherRealm won’t be straying too far from its core gameplay again anytime soon.
The big attraction in MK11 seems to be character customization, like in Injustice 2. NetherRealm says the “Custom Character Variations” will let you have “unprecedented control to customize the fighters and make them your own.” Cosmetic choices appear to be available for all fighters, and the characters have three gear slots, so that definitely means there will be some degree of weapon changing, or perhaps even move-specific customization.
Also central to the game mechanics is the new “Fatal Blow” feature, that terrifying zoom-in, X-ray thing you’ve seen in the gameplay trailers. MK11 will allow you to turn the tide on opponents by leveling these harsh blows once your health meter drops to 30 percent. That’s going to upset some younger brothers.
Fatalities? Of course.
It wouldn’t be Mortal Kombat without them. In MK11, they look to be every bit as hysterical and petrifying as ever. And, since the graphics keep getting better, these fatalities will probably be haunting your nightmares even more than in the past.
You can start snapping necks soon.
Mortal Kombat 11 will be released on PS4, XBox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC on April 23. Those who pre-ordered the game got an early-access beta version thru March 31, but the rest of us will have to wait a few more weeks to give it a go. Toasty!