NetherRealm Studios revealed new details on Mortal Kombat 11 during a live event in Los Angeles Thursday, offering fans a first look at gameplay, a roster of new and returning characters, and changes coming to the series’ well-worn fighting systems.
Here’s a rundown of what NetherRealm and series co-creator Ed Boon announced (and teased) for MK11.
The Mortal Kombat 11 roster
Mortal Kombat 11 will feature both new and returning characters. Some who have existed since the franchise’s beginning, including Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Raiden, and Sonya Blade, will be there again. Fan favorites like Baraka and Skarlet, who skipped the previous Mortal Kombat game, will be back for MK11. Two new characters, Geras and Kronika, will make their debut.
NetherRealm has also confirmed two other returning characters: Kano, who appeared in the first Mortal Kombat, and Kabal, who debuted in Mortal Kombat 3.
Other characters, like series veterans Liu Kang, Kung Lao, and Johnny Cage, have been strongly hinted to return, but have not yet been confirmed by NetherRealm.
Newcomer Geras will fight using “time-control abilities,” according to Boon. He can summon objects made of stone and sand in battle, and can use those powers to teleport himself and trap his enemies. He can also stop and rewind time, holding enemies in place while he punches them with rock-covered fists. You can see Geras fight in his character reveal trailer below.
Geras fights in the service of the game’s other new character, Kronika. She was teased in the first Mortal Kombat 11 trailer back in December. According to Boon, Kronika’s been “running the show since the first Mortal Kombat,” but when Raiden alters the timeline by killing Shinnok in Mortal Kombat X, she’s forced to intervene. NetherRealm Studios hasn’t yet confirmed whether Kronika will be a playable character — but she’s the boss of the game, the first female big-bad in the Mortal Kombat series, so it’s likely.
The initial roster for Mortal Kombat 11 will feature 25 playable characters, according to the character select screen, as well as Shao Kahn, a pre-order bonus character.
Fighters in Mortal Kombat 11 will be highly customizable, building upon what NetherRealm created for Mortal Kombat X and Injustice 2. While previous games featured multiple predetermined fighting variations, MK11 will give players the option of customizing their character in more granular ways. In the case of Scorpion, players can pick which mask, sword, and spear they want to equip, each of which can be augmented by socketed items. Players can choose which special abilities they want to take into battle for further customization. There’s also a “Kosmetic” component, which includes options like character skin, cinematic intros, victory screens, and even fatalities. Players have the option of naming their character customization loadouts.
NetherRealm is switching up the Mortal Kombat fighting formula by rethinking and adjusting some mechanics that date back to 2011’s Mortal Kombat (aka MK9). The meter that used to be shared for moves like the combo-interrupting Breaker, X-ray moves, and enhanced attacks has been split into two. That meter appears in the bottom right and left corners, with the horizontal portion reserved for offensive moves and the vertical portion used for defensive moves.
X-ray moves appear to have transitioned into what NetherRealm is calling Fatal Blows. When a player’s health meter drops below 30 percent, they’ll get access to a Fatal Blow, a nasty-looking combo that they can unleash by pressing two shoulder buttons at once. A Fatal Blow can only be executed once per game (not per round), so players will have to use it strategically. Additionally, if a player uses a Fatal Blow and it doesn’t connect, the move will go on a lengthy cooldown before they can try again.
NetherRealm is also adding Crushing Blows, another grisly move type that looks similar to a bone-breaking X-ray attack. Players will unleash Crushing Blows when they meet certain conditions using attacks — doing the same move three times in a row, countering a high attack, or tricking your opponent into blocking in a certain way could unleash a Crushing Blow. In the case of Geras, one of his moves will become a Crushing Blow if it’s performed at the end of a combo string and his opponent blocks it while crouching. Each character will have five to six moves that can become Crushing Blows, which do “eye-popping” amounts of damage. In addition to doing extra damage, they may also cause opponents to pop up into the air or immediately stand back up.
Mortal Kombat 11 will also introduce the Flawless Block. If a player blocks an attack with perfect timing, Boon said, they’ll have a window to counterattack. That should open up some interesting high-risk, high-reward situations.
The story of Mortal Kombat 11
Mortal Kombat 11’s story campaign is set immediately after the events of 2011’s Mortal Kombat. According to NetherRealm’s official description, “Raiden has upset the balance of history with the death of Shinnok. Tired of Earthrealm’s defiance, Kronika, The Keeper of Time will bring order to the universe through any means necessary.”
Boon said that the story will involve characters from one Mortal Kombat timeline meeting (and occasionally beating the organs out of) younger versions of themselves. He also unveiled the game’s opening cinematic, which features Dark Raiden, Shinnok, and Kronika. You can watch that below.
More details on Mortal Kombat 11 are expected on Jan. 30, during NetherRealm’s next Kombat Kast livestream.
For the time being, if you want to see some fighting game pros duke it out in Mortal Kombat 11, NetherRealm has exhibition matches featuring players SonicFox, Tweedy, Rewind, Grr, Scar, Hayatei, and Honeybee on its YouTube channel.
Mortal Kombat 11 release date and platforms
Mortal Kombat 11 is coming to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One on April 23.