NetherRealm Studios showed off the first gameplay from Mortal Kombat 1 on Thursday at Summer Game Fest, revealing more of its roster, teases of a story, and our first look at a new feature called Kameo Fighters.
In an interview with host Geoff Keighley, Mortal Kombat co-creator and NetherRealm chief creative officer Ed Boon also dropped a few new details about MK1, showing that staple features like combo breakers and X-ray moves will return, and offering an idea of how many playable characters will appear in the Mortal Kombat 11 sequel.
Here’s what else we learned from Mortal Kombat 1’s gameplay reveal.
Mortal Kombat 1’s roster size
The character select screen shown at Summer Game Fest indicates that Mortal Kombat 1 will feature a base roster of 24 fighters. That’s on par with Mortal Kombat 11, which launched with 25 fighters (including pre-order bonus Shang Tsung and unlockable character Frost). So far, we’ve seen Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Kitana, Mileena, Liu Kang, Johnny Cage, and Kenshi playable as part of the roster.
Mortal Kombat 1 will have a separate roster of Kameo Fighters, characters that can assist the main roster in battle. The Kameo character select screen shown at Summer Game Fest indicates that Mortal Kombat 1 will feature at least 16 fighters. Old-school versions of Sonya, Kano, Jax, Sub-Zero, Stryker, Goro, and Kung Lao have been shown on the Kameo roster.
Kameo Fighters can be called in with the press of a button, Boon says, and in gameplay we see them serving as both combo extenders and combo breakers. It appears they’ll also be part of MK1’s version of Fatal Blows, those gory, bone-crushing attacks from MK11.
Finally, it appears that Kameo Fighters will have a variety of costumes. In the gameplay trailer, we see Sonya sporting both her classic Mortal Kombat leotard and her sportier getup from Mortal Kombat 3.
Classic Mortal Kombat stages return
Gameplay footage shows versions of the Living Forest, first seen in Mortal Kombat 2, and the Wu Shi Academy stage from Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance.
Stages will also apparently have day and night variations. NetherRealm showed Johnny Cage’s Hollywood home in both daytime and nighttime form, and the option to select time of day at Fengjian Teahouse, where Kenshi and Sub-Zero throw down, is shown in the menu below — right under Kano’s snot rocket.
New origin stories
Given Mortal Kombat 1’s setting in the past, it shouldn’t be too surprising that MK canon is going to change. But two characters, Mileena and Kenshi, appear to go through some big changes in Mortal Kombat 1. A teaser for the game’s story mode indicates that Mileena, heretofore established as a mutant clone of Kitana, may suffer a different fate: The gameplay trailer hints that Mileena is suffering from some disease that (presumably) Kitana worries that, if discovered, will see her banished from their kingdom.
Kenshi, famously a blind swordsman, also appears to have regular vision during portions of the story, so we may see him blinded during the course of events of MK1. Perhaps it has something to do with Kurtis Stryker, and his flashlight/stun gun that appears capable of blinding a god!
The MK cast has some new moves
First of all, let’s just point out how considerate Kameo fighter Kano is being here, holding his partner’s head down and out of danger when he fires his eye beam.
Second, Sub-Zero loves ripping spines out of people so much that he’s perfected making a skull and spine out of ice to use as a mace against his opponents. This guy absolutely adores human spines! And ice!
Finally, in another nice (gruesome) touch, one of Johnny Cage’s Fatalities sees him doing his signature split as he smashes his opponent’s face on an off-brand Hollywood Walk of Fame star — with the Kenshi name plate! That’s attention to detail.
Mortal Kombat 1 is coming to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, and Xbox Series X on Sept. 19.