After a prolonged period of teasers and slow reveals, Mortal Kombat 1 finally debuted a first look at its gameplay and fighting mechanics during the Summer Game Fest 2023 showcase. After premiering a new trailer full of in-game fights, narrative beats, and gruesome fatalities, series creator Ed Boon took the stage to add a little more context and detail to how the game will play.
The key difference to the fighting mechanics of Mortal Kombat 1 is that it won’t be strictly one-on-one. Along with selecting a fighter, players will also choose a ‘Kameo’ fighter that has the ability to assist the primary character by jumping in and performing one of four techniques. This naturally provides some options when extending combos, and it appears that the Kameo partners will assist in fatalities (the series’ gory finishing moves), too.
What’s interesting is that the Kameo fighter roster will be a completely different selection of characters from the primary fighter roster of Mortal Kombat 1, dramatically expanding the cameos from the vast, extended lore of the series, as well as inviting guest characters (some of whom have seemingly and accidentally been revealed). However, Boon explained that certain characters could have two iterations, and exist on both.
In terms of its narrative elements, the reveal highlighted what we’ve expected for a while – that this is a entirely new Mortal Kombat universe fashioned by Liu Kang, who became an all-powerful deity capable of rewriting the fabric of existence at the end of Mortal Kombat 11.
The Mortal Kombat 1 trailer treated us to scenes that depicted young, fresh-faced versions of characters who were previously old or deceased, like Kung Lao and Raiden. Some of them have entirely new relationships with one another (Sub Zero and Scorpion are no longer rivals, but brothers) and some are beginning their troubles all over again (sisters Kitana and Mileena are once again at each other’s throats). We see the character Kenshi before he’s blinded, facing off against Johnny Cage, who is his usual arrogant self.
Kameo fighters include Jax, Sonya, Kano, and Goro, who all sport their classic costumes from Mortal Kombat (1992) and Mortal Kombat 2, as well as alternate versions of Sub Zero and Kung Lao, who also sport classic costumes.
A placeholder character roster screen suggests that there will be 22 playable characters, and 16 Kameo fighters.
It was also revealed that the game has been in development for four years.
Mortal Kombat 1 will release on 19 September 2023 on PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S. There will be an online beta held for those who pre-order the game.
Mortal Kombat 1 – List of Confirmed Playable Characters
- Liu Kang
- Kung Lao
- Johnny Cage
- Shang Tsung (Pre-order Bonus)
Mortal Kombat 1 – List of Confirmed Kameo Characters
- Kung Lao
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