Mortal Kombat 1 Announcement Trailer Breakdown

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Mortal Kombat 1 Announcement Trailer Breakdown

The next generation of Mortal Kombat is coming. And it's taking us back to the beginning. 

Welcome To The New Era

Both endings of Mortal Kombat 11's story DLC, Aftermath, had the triumphant Kombatant resetting all of time and history and creating a New Era. While we had our suspicions about the canonical winner of the final climatic battle, we had no confirmation; Until now. 

Narrated by Fire God Liu Kang, confirming he was victorious over Shang Tsung, the Mortal Kombat 1 announcement trailer features no gameplay but does show glimpses of which characters will appear in Mortal Kombat 1. We can see a mortal version of Raiden, Kung Lao (Though it is unconfirmed whether this is the Great Kung Lao or the descendant Kung Lao), Scorpion, Sub-Zero (Unknown whether it's Bi Han or Kuai Liang), Kitana, Mileena (Who has regularly trended on Twitter with fans voicing their desire for her to be in the next Mortal Kombat), and Shang Tsung. 

The trailer is light on story details, but there's enough to get some speculation going. For starters, Shang Tsung's appearance is a surprising one. Fire God Liu Kang's Aftermath ending seemed to imply Liu Kang wouldn't allow Shang Tsung's evil to affect any more timelines, yet here he is. 

It looks like Shang Tsung is the villain once again.
Image Source: NetherRealm Studios

Then again, this is called Mortal Kombat 1, and I suppose you can't have a Mortal Kombat 1 without Shang Tsung. The tail end of the trailer shows Shang Tsung murdering pretty much everyone before meeting his own demise yet again at the hands of Liu Kang. It would appear Shang Tsung will play a major role in Mortal Kombat 1's story as a villain once again. 

Something else that stood out in the trailer is how simplistic everyone's outfits are. Scorpion and Sub-Zero's costumes are more or less palette swaps. Is this is just an intentional design choice paying homage to the original Mortal Kombat 1, or is it because Mortal Kombat 1 takes place significantly earlier in the timeline than previous Mortal Kombat games, which take place in the modern era. 

If it is the latter, then that all but confirms the Kung Lao is the Great Kung Lao (Which means after decades of hearing about his exploits, we will finally be able to play as the Great Kung Lao). However, there are some other details that would make this confusing. 

Kitana is Edenian, and Mileena is a clone of Kitana, so as Edenians, they can live for a very long time. Sub-Zero and Scorpion are mortals, however, and cannot. Unless Sub-Zero and Scorpion are just generational mantles passed on throughout the history of the Lin Kuei and Shirai Ryu, their being here doesn't make sense if Mortal Kombat 1 takes place much earlier in the timeline. There's also the fact that unless her backstory is getting a retcon, Mileena's existence only happens due to Shao Khan and Shang Tsung, so what happened to Outworld's iconic emperor? There's also the fact that the scene with Kitana and Mileena seems to take place in Edenia, not Outworld. Did Outworld never conquer Edenia, or did Kitana triumph over Shao Khan and restore Edenia? And if so, who rules Outworld now?

The official Mortal Kombat 1 website gives us some additional juicy bits of information about the upcoming next-generation Mortal Kombat game, including a new game mechanic: Kameo Fighters. 

Mortal Kombat 1 will introduce a new Kameo Fighter system
Image Source: NetherRealm Studios

Kameo Fighters will be a unique roster of Kombatants separate from the main roster, who will assist you in fights. The mechanic is hardly new, with games like Marvel versus Capcom and, most recently, Dragonball FighterZ having similar systems. 

What is most concerning about the Kameo Fighter system for many fans is that if these characters are separate from the main roster, that might mean those characters are unplayable in Mortal Kombat 1. Seeing your favorite character as a Kameo Fighter will be bittersweet. 

While not shown in the trailer, the official Mortal Kombat 1 website confirms that Johnny Cage will be in the game and will also have a Jean-Claude Van Damme skin. After several decades, the man originally meant to have been Johnny Cage will finally be in Mortal Kombat. But again, if Mortal Kombat 1 takes place in ancient times, how on earth is the modern-day movie star Johnny Cage showing up?

New Era Old Formula?

Mortal Kombat 1 is taking us into the New Era, but how much will change?
Image Source: NetherRealm Studios

One of the biggest criticisms that fans have of the NetherRealm era of Mortal Kombat is the general lack of variety in the character rosters. To be more specific, NetherRealm's habit of more or less ignoring the 3D-era fighters outside of Frost. While franchise staples will always (Understandably) take up a significant portion of the roster, there are dozens of well-known characters in the Mortal Kombat universe that NetherRealm barely touches. 

Mortal Kombat X was NetherRealm's most original take on Mortal Kombat, introducing a new generation of protagonists and new characters. But in Mortal Kombat 11, many of those characters are absent or irrelevant to the story, and the game brings Liu Kang and Shang Tsung back to the forefront to carry the story to its conclusion. Only to then reset the timeline entirely with Liu Kang and Shang Tsung once again as major players. 

It's true that this is only the initial announcement trailer, and I'm sure NetherRealm has much more to show us. I only hope they don't make the same mistake that Bethesda did with Fallout 3, which was playing it too safe. You've already done that plenty in your last trilogy of Mortal Kombat games. Hopefully, the New Era will bring us something new. And based on some of the pre-order incoming, new is definitely coming. 

Moral Kombat 1 Release Date & Pre-Order Details

Earlier this year, we received unintended confirmation that Mortal Kombat “12” was coming out in 2023 thanks to an earnings call slip by Warner Bros. CEO David Zaslav. Now, we have the official release date.

Pre-orders for Mortal Kombat 1 go live tomorrow at 10AM PST.
Image Source: NetherRealm Studios

Mortal Kombat 1 will release on September 19. Pre-orders will go live tomorrow at 10AM PT. Fans who pre-order the game on PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S will gain access to the pre-order character Shang Tsung and early beta access in August. 

The Standard Edition will cost $69.99 (SRP) and be available on Steam, Epic Games Store, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S. The Premium Edition of Mortal Kombat 1 will be $109.99 and features a heap of bonuses. People who purchase the Premium Edition will receive the Kombat Pack Jean-Claude Van Damme skin for Johnny Cage, 1,250 of Mortal Kombat 1's in-game currency, Dragon Krystals, and early access to the game starting September 14. Prem Edition owners will also gain early access to six new characters and five new Kameo Fighters.  

If you consider yourself an avid Mortal Kombat fan, you can purchase the Kollector Edition for $249.99. Along with all the Premium Edition content, you will receive an exclusive in-game Liu Kang skin, a 16.5-inch Liu Kang sculpture by COARSE, three exclusive art prints, and a steel case. You will also receive an additional 1,450 Dragon Krystals, for a total of 2,700. 

In less than 12 hours, the announcement trailer for Mortal Kombat 1 has already shot past more than 2 million views. With the latest Street Fighter and Tekken titles also around the corner, things are looking up for fighting game fans.

Stay tuned for more information on Mortal Kombat 1 here at ESTNN.


Mortal Kombat 1 Announcement Trailer Breakdown
Xavier Geitz
When not busy writing about Esports, the latest and greatest digital gaming deals, and reviewing video game, you can find Xavier wandering Morrowind's Telvanni Coast, tirelessly petitioning for a Timesplitters 2 remake, or trying to understand the Concept of Love.