Mortal Kombat 1: Characters, gameplay trailers, launch date, everything we know

Mortal Kombat 1 key art
(Image credit: WB Games)

Mortal Kombat is a fighting game franchise originally created by Ed Boon and John Tobias back in 1992, that is still going strong to this day thanks to NetherRealm Studios and Warner Bros. Games. It is a brutal franchise where, unlike most other fighting games where you had to simply beat your opponent into submission, you can choose to murder them in the goriest and most over-the-top manner possible.

The series has lain dormant since the release of Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath in 2020 and now it will rise again with a new entry titled Mortal Kombat 1. This game is a full-on reboot of the Mortal Kombat franchise that will feature an epic cinematic story mode, a roster of fan-favorite characters reimaged for the new era, and new gameplay mechanics to enhance the series' iconic and violent combat system.

Here is everything you need to know about Mortal Kombat 1.

Mortal Kombat 1: What is it?

As confirmed through the 2023 Summer Game Fest trailer, Mortal Kombat 1 will be a traditional 1v1 fighting game like its predecessors. The goal of a Mortal Kombat game is to defeat your opponent using a variety of attacks, special moves, and combo strings. Once your enemy is defeated, the announcer will command you to “FINISH HIM” and from there, you’re given a choice — show your opponent mercy by knocking them out or execute them by using a lethal finishing move called a Fatality.

The specifics of Mortal Kombat 1's premise are vague as of now but we do know that the story is set after the events of Mortal Kombat 11. In that game, one of the series heroes', Liu Kang, ascended to godhood and stopped the villainess Kronika from rewriting the universe in her image. After defeating her, Liu Kang (now known as "Fire God Liu Kang") set out to undo the damage Kronika has done by creating a new Mortal Kombat Universe that is both familiar, yet brand new at the same time. 

Mortal Kombat 1: What will the gameplay be like?

Mortal Kombat 1's gameplay will feature an overhauled fighting system with new gameplay mechanics, finishing moves, game modes, and more. Exact details on Mortal Kombat 1's offline and online game modes will be unveiled at a later date.

One of Mortal Kombat 1's unique gameplay mechanics will be Kameo Fighters. Kameo Fighters are what are known in fighting games as "assist characters" where a player can summon a separate character to briefly aid them in battle. They can help you escape from an enemy's assault or extend your combo attacks, opening new layers of strategy in combat. You can use team-up super moves with a Kameo Fighter or even command them to perform Fatalities.

The roster of Kameo Fighters will be separate from the main roster of playable fighters and will include past versions of returning characters from early Mortal Kombat games. For example, you can play as the new Sub-Zero while pairing him up with a past version of Sub-Zero from the original Mortal Kombat game as a Kameo Fighter.

The series' cinematic Story Mode makes a return and will take players on a grand adventure through the new universe Fire God Liu Kang has created and meet reimagined versions of classic Mortal Kombat characters like Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Kitana, Mileena, and more.

There will also be a second single-player mode called Invasions. This mode has players progress through various boardgame-like maps and defeat combatants in a series of matches with various difficulty modifiers. Completing boards and overcoming certain challenges will unlock cosmetic items for the playable characters.

Mortal Kombat 1: Who will be joining the roster?

The iconic ninjas of Mortal Kombat, Scorpion and Sub-Zero return. (Image credit: Warner Bros. Games)

The overall base roster for Mortal Kombat 1 will include 24 playable characters and 16 Kameo Fighters. Thus far, the list of confirmed playable fighters are:

  • Liu Kang
  • Scorpion
  • Sub-Zero
  • Raiden
  • Kung Lao
  • Kitana
  • Mileena
  • Shang Tsung
  • Johnny Cage
  • Kenshi
  • Smoke
  • Rain
  • Baraka
  • Li-Mei
  • Tanya
  • General Shao
  • Sindel
  • Nitara
  • Reiko

The list of confirmed Kameo Fighters so far include:

  • Kano
  • Sub-Zero
  • Jax Briggs
  • Sonya Blade
  • Goro
  • Kung Lao
  • Stryker
  • Frost
  • Cyrax
  • Sektor
  • Darrius
  • Motaro
  • Shujinko

More fighters will be announced in the coming months leading up to the game's release and post-launch as DLC. The confirmed list of DLC characters so far are:

  • Quan Chi
  • Ermac
  • Takeda
  • Omni-Man
  • Homelander
  • Peacemaker

Mortal Kombat 1: Will there be pre-order bonuses and special editions?

Pre-order to acquire Shang Tsung and access to the closed beta. (Image credit: Warner Bros. Games)

There will be a pre-order bonus that will you grant access to play as Mortal Kombat's iconic villain Shang Tsung and an invitation to the Mortal Kombat 1's closed beta (only available on Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5). In addition to the Standard Edition of Mortal Kombat 1, there will be a Premium Edition and a Kollector's Edition. 

The Premium Edition will contain all the content of the Standard Edition along with granting players early access to the game on Sept. 14, 2023, Kombat Pack, and 1,250 Dragon Krystal (in-game currency). The Kombat Pack is a DLC bundle that will net you early access to six post-launch playable characters, five post-launch Kameo Fighters, and a cosmetic skin for Johnny Cage that will make him look like Jean-Claude Van Damme — the famous martial artist and movie star that inspired Johnny Cage.

The Kollector's Edition will contain the content of both the Standard and Premium Editions and early access to the game on Sept. 14, 2023. The exclusive content for the Kollector's Edition will feature a 16.5-inch Liu Kang sculpture designed by COARSE, a special cosmetic skin for Liu Kang, three exclusive art prints, a steel case, and 1,450 additional Dragon Krystals (for a total sum of 2,700).

Mortal Kombat 1: What will be the retail price?

The Standard Edition of Mortal Kombat 1 will cost $69.99, the Premium Edition will cost $109.99, and the Kollector's Edition will cost $249.99.

Mortal Kombat 1: When is the release date?

Mortal Kombat 1 is scheduled to launch on Sept. 19, 2023, for Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam and the Epic Games Store.

Are you ready to test your might?

Those who defy peace shall face the judgement of Fire God Liu Kang. (Image credit: Warner Bros. Games)

By establishing a new status quo, introducing new combat mechanics, and reimagining fan-favorite characters, Mortal Kombat 1 is looking to be the biggest and most game-changing Mortal Kombat game to date. 

Will the risks taken by this upcoming Xbox title help elevate the Mortal Kombat series to greater heights and become one of the best games on Xbox? Stay tuned to find out as a new era of Mortal Kombat begins on Sept. 19, 2023


Mortal Kombat 1

A new era of NetherRealm Studios' iconic fighting game franchise begins with Mortal Kombat 1. Call upon Kameo Fighters to aid you in battle, experience an epic single-player story mode, and defeat your foes in arduous online and offline tournaments to become the Mortal Kombat Champion.

Pre-order at: Xbox

Alexander Cope

Alexander Cope is a gaming veteran of 30-plus years, primarily covering PC and Xbox games here on Windows Central. Gaming since the 8-bit era, Alexander's expertise revolves around gaming guides and news, with a particular focus on Japanese titles from the likes of Elden Ring to Final Fantasy. Alexander is always on deck to help our readers conquer the industry's most difficult games — when he can pry himself away from Monster Hunter that is!