In early 2023, Warner Bros. Games made mention of a new sequel to Mortal Kombat – Mortal Kombat 12 – in a financial earnings call, almost as an aside. The publisher said the title would launch in 2023, and have ‘ambitious launch projections’.
This first mention of the game came as a surprise, especially given the video game industry’s strange preference for strict secrecy in service of more impactful marketing campaigns. Mortal Kombat co-creator and series creative director Ed Boon joked about it, but didn’t confirm any details.
Now, in a new video from developer NetherRealm Studios celebrating the 30th anniversary of the series, we have our first official tease – and developer acknowledgement – of what is likely Mortal Kombat 12.
The two-minute video sees several members of NetherRealm Studios thanking the Mortal Kombat community for supporting the series to the extent that it has remained successful for three whole decades.
The video concludes with Boon remarking that ‘we’re not quite done yet,’ before transitioning into a short CG scene.
The scene is a close up shot of sand falling in an hourglass. As the camera pans up, time slows down, and the focus draws its attention to a single grain of sand. After focusing on it for a second, the grain of sand explodes.
For those familiar with the surprisingly dense narrative of Mortal Kombat 11, the significance of this imagery should resonate. The primary antagonist of the most recent mainline Mortal Kombat game was Kronika, a being that could manipulate time. This led to several entertaining situations where older versions of the game’s cast of characters were thrown back in time, to meet their original 1992 selves.
By the end of the game’s story, which concluded in the expansion Aftermath, series protagonist Liu Kang managed to seize Kronica’s time-bending powers, and reboot the universe, effectively marking a brand-new beginning for Mortal Kombat lore.
This is naturally a strong jumping-off point for Mortal Kombat 12 to potentially rethink the series as it celebrates 30 years. Assuming that Warner Bros. Games’ comments regarding Mortal Kombat 12 launching in 2023 are true, we should expect to hear more from NetherRealm Studios sooner, rather than later.
Mortal Kombat 11 was a great success, selling 15 million copies worldwide as of 2022, which likely informs the ‘ambitious launch projections’ of Warner Bros. A second live-action Mortal Kombat movie is also in the works.
2023 is looking to be a very significant year for the fighting game genre, with Street Fighter 6 releasing in June 2023, and Tekken 8 on the horizon, but with no confirmed date.