One of the highlights from The Game Awards last month was without a doubt the debut trailer for Mortal Kombat 11. Fans have been eagerly awaiting the next entry in the bloody franchise by NetherRealm Studios. If the trailer before was an appetizer, then this official reveal event is the entree. Let’s dig in.
The Game Awards trailer revealed that Mortal Kombat mainstays Scorpion and Raiden would return. Today we were treated to a few more. From the character select screen shown, we see fan favorites Sub-Zero and Sonya Blade (played by WWE star Ronda Rousey). Plus there’s the bladed Tarkatan warrior Baraka who looks meaner than ever.
There was also the stunning return of Skarlet. She was originally a red female ninja palette swap from Kitana and Mileena. Her last appearance in Mortal Kombat 9 teased the idea of her ability to manipulate blood. In Mortal Kombat 11, however, Skarlet isn’t holding back! Her moves appear to largely involve taking her opponent’s blood and solidifying it into a variety of weapons. It’s messy. It’s gross. And it’s also badass.
Finally, we got a new character named Geras. All we know is that he’s “a powerful and loyal servant of Kronika” from the below video’s description. Kronika is widely believed to be the final boss. She’s also a master of time of which Geras seems to share in common with.
Geras’ fighting style reveals him to be a heavy hitter with grabs and bone-crunching blows. He also manipulates sand to his will making him a literal wielder of the sands of time. It’s a neat concept, especially when you see Geras rewind time to return to a previous position.
What’s Mortal Kombat without the… well, combat! With Ed Boon giving play-by-play, we got a heap of information on fight mechanics in MK11. Fighting is as visceral as ever but looks more fluid than any previous game in the series.
There are separate bars to manage for both offensive and defensive abilities. Now you don’t have to worry about having a quick wakeup available if you just used an enhanced attack. Certain moves will get the cinematic camera treatment, such as Baraka chomping at Scorpion’s arm. Background interactions return, although they seem to be downplayed for the better. And for the hardcore fighting game fans, a flawless block is available to break an opponent’s momentum.
What was most interesting, however, were the Fatal Blows. These powerful abilities appear to replace X-Ray attacks. They’re also more seamless in battle and are relegated to being a comeback mechanic. Fatal Blows can only be performed when on the last 30% of your health which heightens match tension.
Then, of course, there are fatalities. Ed Boon and the rest of NetherRealm Studios haven’t run the well dry on these iconic acts of violence. Whether its Baraka ripping off your face to eat your brain or Skarlet impaling you with your own blood, there will be plenty of creative ways to “finish him.”
Taking a page from Injustice 2, Mortal Kombat 11 will feature ways to customize characters. This includes skins, but also elements of those skins such as Scorpion’s mask, katanas, and spear. There are even augment slots for further customization. You will also be able to unlock and pick between different intros, victory poses, fatalities, and more.
This is a clear step up from NetherRealm’s previous title. It’s also a great way for players to feel more invested in their characters. I especially appreciate the ability to stand out when playing online. Hopefully, NetherRealm learned a lot from how having different moves and abilities affected Injustice 2 online to improve upon the experience.
NetherRealm has been a leader in fighting game story modes, and they look to continue that tradition here. Mortal Kombat 11 picks up after the events of MKX. We’re treated to a glimpse of what’s to come with Raiden torturing and beheading Shinnok. Despite being decapitated, Shinnok is still alive and gets paid a visit by the mysterious Kronika. How will Shinnok be a part of her plan? What is her motivation against Raiden?
There are plenty of questions, but one thing for certain is that we are in for a treat. The story mode in MK9 set a very high bar. MKX upped the production value after that. With this being in a new timeline in the Mortal Kombat universe and time travel on the cards, anything is possible. Who knows? Perhaps we’ll see Liu Kang’s descendant The Great Kung Lao make his debut. He was the original champion after all.
Mortal Kombat 11 is slated for release on April 23 on Nintendo Switch. A beta will be available on March 28, but only on PS4 and Xbox One. There will also be a collector’s (Kollector’s?) edition which includes a sweet replica of Scorpion’s mask. There will most certainly be character reveals leading up to this highly anticipated release. So far we’ve been teased with the likes of Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Kano, and Kabal. We can’t wait to see what’s next.