Mortal Kombat 1 release date, gameplay, and trailers

Everything we knew about the MK1 release date, Jean-Claude Van Damme's skin, new Kameos, the completely new story with big changes, and much more.

Nitara is a vampire-like creature with big bat wings and has blood dribbling down her face. She just couldn't wait until the Mortal Kombat 1 release date.

When was the Mortal Kombat 1 release date? Mortal Kombat 1 is the latest installment in NetherRealm’s series and was teased almost infinitely on various channels. Finally, though, the announcement landed and no sooner had it been revealed that we scoured the corners of the internet to bring you all of the latest trailers, news, and gameplay.

The fighting game is a reboot of sorts that sees new mechanics, such as the Kameo system, and a story that features familiar characters. And that’s before we get into the fact that Jean-Claude Van Damme is involved in Mortal Kombat 1. If you want to know what we thought of it, here is our Mortal Kombat 1 review, or if you want to see how it progressed from announcement to release, read on.

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Mortal Kombat 1 release date

The Mortal Kombat 1 release date was Tuesday, September 19, 2023, on PC via Steam and the Epic Games store, as well as on Xbox Series, PlayStation 5, and Switch consoles. This release date was given at the end of the announcement trailer.

For those who preordered the Premium or Kollector’s Edition, the game was available several days earlier on Thursday, September 14, 2023. The new Mortal Kombat game was initially revealed in a February earnings call, which led to multiple rumors and speculation, but it’s finally become official. The announcement came on May 18, 2023, much to our delight.

Mortal Kombat 1 release date: Liu Kang is standing in a penthouse suite smouldering. Scorpion bows while others stand in awe.

Mortal Kombat 1 story

Mortal Kombat 1 follows from the Fire God Liu Kang ending of Mortal Kombat 11 Aftermath, where he not only becomes an all-powerful god in place of Raiden but gains control over time itself with the help of Kronika’s crown. In the game’s final moments, he banishes Shang Tsung to the sands of time and restarts the entire timeline for all realms. We then see Fire God Liu Kang visit young Kung Lao, his chosen warrior.

This timeline reset seems more permanent than the flashback Raiden sends to his past self at the end of Mortal Kombat Armageddon. With no god powers, Raiden is shown in the trailer as a mortal. Therefore, it’s unlikely that the roster will feature some characters born due to the timeline change. In the trailer, we see the return of Shang Tsung, though this one seems to be the sorcerer from the new timeline rather than it being the previous one, managing to avoid his sandy fate. Recent footage of the story mode indicates that the new Shang Tsung is being manipulated from the shadows.

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Who is returning to Mortal Kombat 1?

The returning Mortal Kombat 1 characters were the entirety of the 22-strong main roster, though there were also some unlockable fighters and DLC characters mixed in. Mortal Kombat 1 Kameo characters so far seem based on the previous timeline’s appearances, of which there are 16 in total, but some require you to unlock them first.

While most characters were part of the many gameplay trailers shown since the initial reveal, two were known beforehand. Johnny Cage was revealed because he’s getting the Jean Claude Van Damme costume variant and the preorder bonus character Shang Tsung.

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So what about the actual characters? Well, one thing we considered was if Fire God Liu Kang’s timeline changes affected significant events leading up to the original Mortal Kombat game. The only other people who seem aware of Liu Kang’s inheritance of the Keeper of Time mantle are Geras, who now serves him, and a mysterious sorcerer who we see in the story mode’s introduction sowing the seeds of conflict. Fire God Liu Kang seems to have his hands full with EarthRealm’s defense. However, most intriguingly, there are hints that other universes exist; for example, one fighter dialogue exchange hints at a reality where Kano controls everything.

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While the Lin Kuei and Shirai Ryu, Sub-Zero and Scorpion’s clans, are usually at odds with each other, it seems that Scorpion is human. This suggests that not only did he never perish during a Lin Kuei attack but that this Sub-Zero is, in fact, Bi-Han rather than his brother Kuai Liang. As it turned out, Kuai Liang is the new Scorpion, with Hanzo seemingly written out of the story for now. This is a huge departure from the original timeline as it not only means that Scorpion is still alive, but the NetherRealm sorcerer Quan Chi never revived him as his minion. In turn, Bi-Han never became Noob Saibot after being murdered by the specter Scorpion during the first Mortal Kombat tournament.

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Kitana, meanwhile, seems to think the world of her sister Mileena in this universe. However, Mileena looks like a regular Edenian rather than a genetic experiment in this timeline, but she is afflicted with a disease called ‘Tarkat.’ This turns Outworlders into Tarkatans like Baraka, eventually crumbling their minds and turning them into monsters. Rarely seen characters such as Tanya and Li Mei are now connected to the Outworld royal family. However, Li Mei is now an outcast after the murder of the former ruler, Jared.

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While their father has now passed on, Mileena and Kitana’s mother, Sindel, still lives. In this timeline, she is not the resurrected and corrupted corpse wife of Shao Kahn but rather the benevolent ruler of Outworld. Shao Khan, meanwhile, isn’t even a Khan here, as he’s now General Shao – the queen’s champion.

Johnny Cage is another enigma in that, unlike every other universe, his film career is so successful he managed to tick off Kenshi by buying his sword to display in his beachside penthouse apartment.

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Some characters we’ve not seen much of in recent years return with all-new backstories. Reptile is now an outcast who joins Earthrealm because his people shunned him for his transformation powers. Ashrah is a former demon from the Netherrealm who casts aside the evil in her soul. At the same time, Havik is now a megalomaniac Chaosrealmer seeking to conquer other realms to spare his own. Mortal Kombat 1 Havik is the only character on the roster who needs to be unlocked separately by completing the main Story mode.

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Much like Mortal Kombat 11 had MMA fighter Ronda Rousey cast as Sonja Blade, Mortal Kombat 1 has Megan Fox as the returning Nitara, who we’ve not seen since Armageddon. Her design, with a more warrior-like appearance, has changed drastically since the PlayStation 2 era.

Mortal Kombat 1 trailers

In May 2023, NetherRealm began teasing Mortal Kombat 1 via videos showing a clock ticking down. We speculated that this might mean a complete reset of the Mortal Kombat timeline, and we couldn’t have been closer to the truth.

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Another clock followed this first video, a slightly similar one, except it ends with the clock shattering, furthering the speculation that the timeline would begin again.

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After what felt like an eternity of waiting, on May 18, 2023, NetherRealm finally put the official announcement trailer out into the world. The franchise has been around for 30 years, and resetting the clock for Mortal Kombat 1 feels like a commemorative event. Beware, this one gets pretty gory.

Mortal Kombat 1 modes

In addition to the standard story mode, Mortal Kombat 1 offers a new take on the Krypt mode in previous games that’s much more interactive and less reliant on grinding thousands of matches against AI to earn enough koins. Invasion Mode has players choose a character and Kameo partner as they storm through board game-like maps, of which we’ve so far officially seen Johnny Cage’s penthouse suite, fighting enemies and unlocking new goodies along the way.

Enemies have modifiers to spice up fights, such as Flying Demons appearing in the match to spit fire below them. We don’t know for sure precisely what you can earn in Invasion Mode, but if the Krypt modes in previous games are anything to go by, you’ll likely spot some Easter Eggs, new costumes, and even behind-the-scenes footage.

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Mortal Kombat 1 preorders and special editions

NetherRealm has also confirmed, via its website, that the game will cost $69.99 at launch. A Premium Edition, with multiple bonus skins, including one that gives Johnny Cage a Jean-Claude Van Damme skin, will also be available for $109.99. Finally, the Kollector’s Edition will be $249.99 and includes a 16.5-inch Liu Kang figurine, exclusive art prints, and an in-game character skin. We get an extra playable character in the form of Shang Tsung for the eager among us who will be preordering the game.

And that’s the story of everything that happened prior to the Mortal Kombat 1 release date. If you want the latest on newer games that aren’t out yet, why not check out our recommendations for other upcoming PC games? If you have the game, you should definitely check out our guides to unlocking Havik in MK1 and getting the Mortal Kombat 1 Kameo characters, as well as all the codes for the Mortal Kombat 1 Fatalities and Mortal Kombat 1 Brutalities to decimate your beaten rivals.