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Summer Game Fest 2023 was packed. In his characteristic playful manner, Summer Game Fest founder Geoff Keighley couldn’t hide his excitement seeing the live audience at the YouTube theatre in Los Angeles. Keighley mentioned that the purpose of the show was to let gamers discover games that they will add to their Wishlist. Without a doubt, Mortal Kombat 1 will make that list for millions of gamers.

Kung Lao in Mortal Kombat 1

Following the events of Mortal Kombat 11, Mortal Kombat 1 is a fresh start to the series with Liu Kang, the fire god, attempting to create a new peaceful world. The harmony is short-lived and he is soon forced to gather the strongest warriors in Earthrealm to defend the world against shape-shifting Shang Tsung.

Prior to the first trailer, the biggest controversy was whether it would be Mortal Kombat 12 or Mortal Kombat 1. However, after the gameplay reveal at the Summer Game Fest 2023, the Chief Creative Officer at NetherRealm Studios, Ed Boon appeared on stage and offered some explanations for the change of name from MK12 to MK1.

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“I don’t know how many people have seen the ending of Mortal Kombat 11,” Boon said. “Lui Kang graduated into a fire god and he created a brand-new universe. This is why we are calling it Mortal Kombat 1 because this is the beginning of a new timeline.”

You can watch the first-look gameplay on YouTube.

3 things we learned from Mortal Kombat 1 first look

Scorpion in Mortal Kombat 1

Mortal Kombat has come a long way. The team at NetherRealm Studios recently celebrated thirty years of serving pulsating and gory combats. As the September 19, 2023 release date for Mortal Kombat 1 draws nearer, fans of the game are becoming more anxious to learn more about the game.

Although the first trailer for Mortal Kombat 1 has been around for a while, the first gameplay reveal at Summer Game Fest 2023 answered some of the questions that fans of the game have been asking for a while. Below are some of the lessons we learned from Mortal Kombat 1.

1. Leave your previous Mortal Kombat stories behind

Sub-Zero in Mortal Kombat 1

Everything in Mortal Kombat 1 feels fresh. The fatalities and character models have all gotten an upgrade—but it didn’t end there. The story of Mortal Kombat 1 is also different. So, don’t get confused when you discover that Scorpion and Sub-Zero are now brothers.

“A number of these characters you have seen before but they are told in a completely different story,” Boon said. “Sub-Zero and Scorpion are brothers now. All these things that were rivalries before are now allies. So, mixing the whole thing up. We’re kind of rebooting and that’s what the 1 is for.”

Mileena in Mortal Komat 1

Kenshi, a fierce blind swordsman, was seen to have regular sight in parts of the story. Perhaps, the story may eventually get to the point where he loses his regular sight. During the first look, we also discover that Mileena, a hitherto established mutant clone of Kitana, seems to be suffering from an unknown disease. Kitana appears worried that Mileena may be banished if the disease is discovered.

2. Prepare for Kameos

Mortal Kombat 1 will likely have 24 main characters
Mortal Kombat 1 will likely have 24 main characters

Those that watched the first look gameplay were thrilled by how frequently kameos show up on the screen to assist a fighter in delivering deadly combos. At first, we were confused about how that would work. Will any kameo just pop up on the screen or does each player have a set of linked kameos they can summon?

“The thing we got to talk about is these kameos because we saw some pretty amazing stuff there,” Keighley said. “Now, tell us how does that work. You obviously have sort of your main character that you’ll pick and then I know you also have a separate kind of Kameo menu you pick sort of a pair when you start the game?”

According to Boon, there will be two sets of menus. The first will allow the player to choose their pair of characters. The second menu will be the Kameo menu where the player can choose from a different set of characters that will make Kameo appearances.

“When you start the game, you’ll see a roster where you select your character,” Boon explained. “After you do that, there’s a second roster of characters which are completely different fighters that are the Kameo fighters.”

Kameo Characters will have a separate roster
Kameo Characters will have a separate roster

Boon explained it as “fighting with Sub-Zero with some of Jack’s moves”. Kameo characters can be called out with the push of a button. The dedicated button can be combined with a direction button to decide which Kameo shows up. There will be a bar that regulates how often Kameo characters can be called out.

According to Boon, this allows the players to customize their fighting experience. Some of the main characters can also feature as Kameo characters and vice versa. However, the majority of the Kameo characters will not be playable as the main characters.

3. Jean-Claude Van Damme will feature as Johnny Cage

Johnny Cage has always been portrayed as a Hollywood Superstar with an attitude. However, his face is nothing like we have seen in Hollywood. It appears NetherRealm wants to make the character more relatable by replacing the old Johnny Cage with Jean-Claude Van Damme.

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Boon confirmed the alteration in the character’s identity. He went on to explain that NetherRealm has tried unsuccessfully for 4 or 5 times to get Van Damme in the game. Now they do, not only will his face become that of Johnny Cage, but he will also voice the character. Consequently, Mortal Kombat 1 will be Van Damme’s first video game appearance.

Boon mentioned that NetherRealm will be “showing a lot more content, a lot more characters, a lot more Kameo characters” throughout the Summer. So, keep your eyes peeled for more reveals.


Liu Kang in Mortal Kombat 1

First-look gameplay gives gamers the chance to evaluate the smoothness of the gameplay. It also gives critics a substantial amount of data to use as their basis for either giving thumbs up or thumbs down to the game.

Sometimes, developers are forced to announce a pushback if backlash trails the gameplay reveal. One recent example was the pushing back of Suicide Squad after fans harshly criticized the gameplay. In the case of Mortal Kombat 1, the gameplay was smooth and attracted lots of cheers from the live audience at the Summer Game Fest.

Although Mortal Kombat 11 had a significant splash of blood, Mortal Kombat 1 already promises to be more intense in blood. In one scene we saw Raiden rip a player apart and smash the two halves together to cover the entire screen in blood.

Kano Fatality in Mortal Kombat 1

One thing is for sure, diehard fans cannot wait for September 19 to get their hands on Mortal Kombat 1. We will certainly keep you updated as NetherRealm unveils more characters and Kameos.

Are you excited about the new story of Mortal Kombat 1 or do you find it confusing? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below.

Are you comfortable with the always changing Mortal Kombat story?


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