Mortal Kombat 1 Interview: Ed Boon Answers All of Our Questions After Summer Game Fest
Mortal Kombat 1
Boon discussed Fatalities, leaving PS4 and Xbox One behind, if we’ll ever see Injustice again, and more.
By Adam Bankhurst, Ryan McCaffrey
Updated: Jun 16, 2023 7:05 pm
Posted: Jun 16, 2023 7:00 pm
Following Summer Game Fest, we were able to sit down with Mortal Kombat 1 director and NetherRealm studio head Ed Boon to discuss the exciting gameplay reveal of the latest entry in the legendary Mortal Kombat franchise.
During the interview, we touched on a ton of topics, including how it felt to keep Mortal Kombat 1 secret for so long, why NetherRealm chose to leave PS4 and Xbox One behind, whether we’ll ever see Injustice again, how the team keeps Fatalities from going too far, and so much more.
Mortal Kombat 1 is set to be released on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Switch, and PC on September 19, 2023, and it serves as the start of a new Mortal Kombat Universe that was created by the Fire God Liu Kang. It also features assist characters named Kameos that will allow you to call in different Mortal Kombat characters to help you in battle.
You can learn much more about Mortal Kombat 1 below, and be sure to check out our first hands-on impressions of the game and seven awesome details you need to know from the Mortal Kombat 1 gameplay trailer.
IGN: Mortal Kombat 1 was the biggest thing on IGN the week of Summer Game Fest. The announcement trailer was huge, but you did have your announcement spoiled a little bit by your parent company’s CEO on an earnings call. I know you don’t want to talk out of school about the guy signing the checks necessarily, but what was your and the team’s reaction when that happened? Because obviously that was not something that you were expecting.
Ed Boon: Well, he called it Mortal Kombat 12, so he kind of really didn’t spoil it. And so the game is Mortal Kombat 1, and we just announced it and we’re happy about that.
Now, that reveal trailer from a few weeks ago also did huge numbers. What was the mood of the team like that day? I’m sure you were expecting it to do well, but how was the vibe on the team when this announcement trailer, which was such a good cinematic trailer, set up the game so well?
EB: It was a huge exhale moment for us as we’ve never held onto a game in terms of talking about it for so long. But at the same time, the response was so big, it was bigger than our Mortal Kombat 11 trailer, and I thought we were never going to top that. I think to some extent players haven’t seen a new Mortal Kombat announcement for so long, so It was just building up for so many years and it just culminated with that video. So we’re really excited about it.
So there were a bunch of variables involved that eventually made us realize, “Okay, let’s do another Mortal Kombat game and hopefully we’ll get back to the Injustice games.”
And I want to ask you about the short window and waiting so long to announce the game. The last major AAA game example I can think of that had such a short window between announcing it and releasing it was Fallout 4, and that was a long time ago at this point. So what was the thought process with that? Is it just that the game sells itself at this point? It is pretty unusual for a big blockbuster game like this to be announced and then it’s out only three or four months later.
EB: Well, if you recall, we announced Mortal Kombat 11 at The Game Awards 2018 and that was in December, and then the game came out in like May. So it’s not that unusual for us. It might be a little bit shorter, but there’s so much more information that we are going to be communicating to everybody as far as game modes, additional characters, and all that this time around.
I also wanted to ask you about how NetherRealm has alternated between Mortal Kombat and Injustice for a good little while there. And so I don’t think anybody would’ve been surprised if you had announced Injustice 3. So, was Injustice considered or what was the reasoning behind going right back into Mortal Kombat?
EB: There was a number of factors, some of which I can talk about, some of which I probably shouldn’t.
EB: But we did go to a new graphics engine, Unreal. We really wanted to be careful with COVID and all that stuff and everybody staying safe. So there were a bunch of variables involved that eventually made us realize, “Okay, let’s do another Mortal Kombat game and hopefully we’ll get back to the Injustice games.”
So, the door is not closed for Injustice moving forward?
EB: Not at all.
All right. Good to know. Now you mentioned the new engine, Unreal. So is it Unreal Engine 5 or are you all building off of Unreal 4 for this?
EB: We were using Unreal 3 before and a very modified Unreal 3, but Unreal 4 certainly has opened the doors to a lot of new features that we’re really trying to exploit, but we’re continuing to evaluate that.
You’ve also left Xbox One and PlayStation 4 behind here. This is a new gen game only. How has that opened up things for your artists, your animators, and even potentially maybe gameplay design? I’m not sure if even the technology can open up things there too.
EB: A big part is this latest generation of consoles have the super fast access. And I’ve always felt like that was the most underappreciated new feature of the consoles. It’s just accessing memory so quickly.
Yeah, the VME drives.
EB: Exactly. And that’s really going to let us make hyper realistic backgrounds and characters that we can actually load in a reasonable amount of time and get to the fight real quickly. That was a big part. It’s really helped us in terms of how much fidelity we can have in our environments and characters.
So, I’ve got to ask you. Probably more than any other game, I love watching Mortal Kombat. It is just delightful to watch. And obviously the Fatalities are a big part of that. Are there any Fatalities that don’t make the cut at NetherRealm? We’ve seen so many crazy things in the past and we’ve seen several more here today. What doesn’t make the cut?
EB: There are plenty that don’t make the cut. It’s funny. Everybody kind of asks, how do you guys come up with the Fatalities? Anybody is welcome to submit Fatality ideas, but there’s a committee that sorts through them. When they come up with one they like, they’ll have an artist make a storyboard of it and then they’ll send it to me. And unfortunately there are some that make me go, “Nope, we’re not going there,” and then I send it back.
It’s too much?
EB: Oh yeah.
Even for Mortal Kombat?
EB: Absolutely. And so I kind of feel like I’m the big party pooper, right? Because they go, “Come on! We’ve done worse than that!” Then I go, “no, we haven’t. ” There’s always a little back and forth.
So you have the final say?
EB: Oh yeah.
There is an unwritten tone that kind of governs everything. And one way to demonstrate that is ensuring the majority of people’s reactions to the Fatalities is laughter.
Okay. That makes sense. Because one thing again that I love about Mortal Kombat is how it’s tone has evolved over the years and that it’s at this point now where it’s so over the top. And I mean it is violently disgusting. And I don’t mean that as a criticism, but it’s sort of cheeky and funny enough where it doesn’t seem like senators and congress people are knocking at your door anymore. How do you guys find that balance?
EB: There is an unwritten tone that kind of governs everything. And one way to demonstrate that is the majority of people’s reactions to the Fatalities is laughter.
EB: It’s not like they saw a horror movie or something and went, “Oh my God!” And they’re scared. They just start laughing. And so when we get that reaction, we know, okay, we’re still in the zone of what Mortal Kombat’s intention is.
Now, there’s a pretty strong case to be made that Mortal Kombat as a brand is absolutely bigger than it ever was. I mean, the numbers on IGN anecdotally bear that out, which I think is a massive testament to you and the team who’ve been at this for so long. But when you look back, were there any low points in the long history of this franchise where you thought, “maybe this thing is starting to run out of steam?” Have you ever hit those low points with this?
EB: Yeah, there were a couple of games that I wasn’t involved with that had their challenges, but we were going through transitions with Midway games and whatnot. But then we got our footing again, especially with Mortal Kombat 9. Mortal Kombat 9, 10, and 11 all sold better than any other previous ones.
EB: Which is really scary. And so for me, I’m nervous just because there’s such this buildup.
So there is a studio full of brilliant people at NetherRealm who’ve been playing for years, and there are even some who were born after the first Mortal Kombat came out.
The bar keeps getting raised.
EB: Yeah. It keeps getting raised. And so I really got to keep telling myself, “We can still sell a ton of games, but we don’t have to break every record every single time.”
I mean, is it the point where the corporate overlords are going to be unhappy if it doesn’t sell an eight figure amount of copies?
EB: I don’t think so. I think a lot of that is just kind of self-inflicted pressure. I certainly put that on myself as well. But we always love to see the fact that our last three games have been the biggest sellers of their time. It’s a nice feather in our cap.
On that note, you’ve been with this for so long, so where do you still find the personal creative inspiration to keep going on this? I mean, I genuinely can’t think of another prominent game developer that’s been with one franchise exclusively. Okay. You’ve done Injustice as well, but you’ve been working on Mortal Kombat games for your entire career, for 30 years. How do you keep finding new creativity to tap into?
EB: Well, when I originally started, I did a few pinball machines and then I did a few arcade games and then started doing the Mortal Kombat games. And our team has grown from basically four on the first game to the hundreds that we have now. And when you have that many people who are also passionate about it, there are more ideas coming in from every angle than you can imagine. So there is a studio full of brilliant people at NetherRealm who’ve been playing for years, and there are even some who were born after the first Mortal Kombat came out.
I believe it!
EB: And so they have fresh ideas that are coming from a completely different generation. And I think that’s a big part of why Mortal Kombat is a success, it’s not one idea coming from one person, right? It’s a whole studio of ideas.
All right, a couple more. You guys have brought in some well-known Mortal Kombat 11 pros on the team at NetherRealm here, like Dragon for instance. So can you talk about how helpful it’s been to have that pro level of feedback when developing this game?
EB: It’s invaluable. And in our previous games, as far back as Mortal Kombat 9, we would actually fly in some of those players and they’d stay at a hotel for a week or so, and they would just dissect the game, show us bugs, show us infinites, and give us suggestions. And that kind of input is invaluable. Some of them are here now and they’re going to be playing the game for the first time. So we’ve really been fortunate to have had that kind of expertise play into the myth.
All right. Last question Ed Boon, what is your favorite Fatality in Mortal Kombat 1?
EB: In Mortal Kombat 1 or in the 1992 Mortal Kombat?
The new game.
EB: My favorite one hasn’t been shown yet.
Okay. Whose is it? Which character?
EB: Probably Scorpion.
EB: But I also think the one we showed with Katana’s fans is one of my favorites too.
EB: Yeah, the blender. It’s just ridiculous.
Yeah, I was cracking up over that one. Thank you so much, Ed! Mortal Kombat 1 is out on September 19, and it’s coming out on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.
EB: And Switch.
And is that the streaming version? How are you handling that on Switch? What magic is going on there?
EB: We’ll show you later.
All right. Ed Boon, thank you very much!
EB: Thank you!
Ryan McCaffrey is the Executive Previews Editor at IGN.
Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on Twitch.
Mortal Kombat 1’s multiverse-y reboot looks next-gen with a klassic touch
Mortal Kombat 1 is the Super Smash Bros. of Mortal Kombat games and the Mario Kart: Double Dash of fighting games.
Comparing the latest entry of the fighting game series known for obscene levels of gore and violence to squeaky-clean Nintendo games might seem strange, but hear me out. Mortal Kombat 1 — not to be confused with the original Mortal Kombat released in 1992 — encompasses a bloody regurgitation of all things Mortal Kombat. The game brings back classic characters and stuffs the game to the brim with references to other Mortal Kombat games. It, like Super Smash Bros., is a universe-uniting game — but there’s a twist.
This time around, developer NetherRealm Studios will expand the game’s overall roster by utilizing what the developers are calling a Kameo system. This new way of fighting will allow players to choose a primary fighter and a secondary Kameo fighter, a character who can be called in for the special tag-team attacks, combo breakers, and assists. (Thus the Mario Kart: Double Dash comparison.) Polygon got to experience the new system in action as part of a hands-on preview hosted by publisher Warner Bros. at Summer Game Fest last week. Although the Kameo system allows developers to bring in more characters, satisfying fans who long for the return of forgotten MK fighters, what stood out during the preview were the absolutely stunning visuals and animations implemented in the new game.
Image: NetherRealm Studios/Warner Bros. Games
Mortal Kombat 1 even boots up beautifully; the game’s starting screen depicts a serene forest and lake landscape with two stone dragons in the center. It’s a peaceful scene, but it’s short-lived. From there, I can choose either local multiplayer versus or the Kampaign mode, and move directly to the character select screen. Preview players had the option to choose between four primary fighters — Kenshi, Sub-Zero, Kitana, and Liu Kang — and three Kameo fighters: Jax, Kano, and Sonya. (At launch, the game will come with a base roster of 24 fighters and at least 16 Kameo fighters).
Once my opponent (one of the developers) and I picked our characters, the camera zoomed up close and showed the two primary fighters pushing against each other arm-to-arm as we selected a stage. We decided to fight in a teahouse, and the game seamlessly transitioned into a cutscene of our two characters talking to and taunting each other pre-fight, not unlike the pre-fight interactions from Mortal Kombat 11. This fight was between Liu Kang and Sub-Zero, so Kang said, “Your actions cost lives, Bi-Han!” who responds, “They were in the Lin Kuei’s best interests.”
The Kameo characters layer on another level of complexity in the thick of the action. If you happen to launch a character in the air as Sub-Zero and you haven’t jumped yet, for example, you can call in Sonya with a special move that will quickly hit them midair and leave Sub-Zero available for another follow-up. Kameo characters essentially expand the combo potential of the base fighter. Each Kameo fighter’s moves are limited, and they’ll behave the same no matter which primary fighter you pick. Unlike the primary roster, Kameo characters are oddly quiet given how much we hear from the main characters in fights and in between scenes.
Image: NetherRealm Studios/Warner Bros. Games
If you aren’t used to playing Mortal Kombat or other gory games, be prepared to wince more than a few times. The game bears its traditional over-the-top gore-filled style, and it looks all the more overwhelming in Mortal Kombat 1, with its hyper-realistic art style. If pulled off, Kitana can blend the flesh of her opponent with her steel fans, and Liu Kang can hold an enemy between two fiery dragons and then split their body by pushing their head down through it, cleaving them in half. If you want something a bit more toned down, the game also has classic Fatalities Kameo fighters can perform that are slightly tamer. Kano’s classic heart rip is included, as is Sonya’s burning kiss of death.
Playing Mortal Kombat 1, as someone who is gore-averse, is like juggling constant back-and-forth thoughts that bristle at the blood and guts, but are absolutely in awe of the mastery of animation and level of polish evident in this game. Take Sonya, for example. You can see her slightly shiny spandex bend and flex with her WWE-like move set, reflecting the light of every move. She’s not a primary fighter, but we can still see details like the dirt stuck in the wrinkles of her worn, off-brand Reebok sneakers.
Image: NetherRealm Studios/Warner Bros. Games
Additionally, the game at times seems to bring a healthy sense of humor that makes the gore just a bit more bearable. In the daytime version of the Fengjian Teahouse stage, you can play in a rambunctious bar, and as you fight, people in the background will have scared reactions — save for one man who straight-up vibes and fist pumps in response to the grotesque violence happening right in front of his face. And some Fatalities, like Jax’s, where he inexplicably becomes a giant and stomps his opponent with a huge boot in a throwback to Mortal Kombat 3, inject some humor and (slightly) less gore.
If you can stomach it, Mortal Kombat 1 is coming to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, and Xbox Series X on Sept. 19.
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Mortal Kombat game series – all parts Mortal Kombat
Fighting games are a great way to throw out aggression, pass the time without straining your brain, solve an important dispute with your brother/friend/husband and just enjoy liters of fake blood. Therefore, we decided to tell you the history of the Mortal Kombat games and say a few words about all the parts.
Not many games can boast that they are equally well known to both schoolchildren and students, and quite adults. There are even fewer games that managed to survive the release of a dozen sequels and still remain popular without sliding into the release of the same game with new textures.
There are very few games that have significantly influenced the development of an entire genre. And just one game at the same time became the basis for the release of quite a decent film with the legendary “highlander” Christopher Lambert.
Mortal Kombat was not the first fighting game in history. It was not the first popular fighting game in history. It wasn’t even the first fighting game to be filmed in Hollywood (Street Fighter with Van Damme came out a year before Mortal Kombat). Mortal Kombat has almost never been full of fresh ideas and technical breakthroughs, and most of the game’s chips are rethinking the ideas of competitors.
But this series has one feature that is preserved in almost all parts and distinguishes it from most other fighting games. And, of course, we are talking about the transcendent levels of cruelty on the screen.
Mortal Kombat (1992)
- Platforms: Arcade, Amiga, Game Boy, MS-DOS, Sega CD, Game Gear, Genesis, Master System, SNES, Super Famicom, TV game, LCD game, PlayStation, PS2 , PS3, PSP, Xbox 360, GameCube
This trend began way back in 1992, when Midway Games, by then mostly known as the American publisher of Japanese arcade games like the legendary Space Invaders, decided that it was time to do more than just re-release Japanese fighting games like Street in America. Fighter, but also to create something of their own.
A set of characters traditional for those times was created – a couple of ninjas, a Shaolin monk, secret service agents, a criminal, a couple of sorcerers / deities. Conceptually, the plot was also not much different from most fighting games of that era (and even now there are few games of this genre that do not have some kind of underground tournament without rules).
Unless the level of pathos was raised to a new height – if before that tournaments were held for the entertainment of millionaires or the struggle for power on Earth, then in MK all the slaughter is aimed at saving the Earth from enslavement by evil otherworldly deities.
From a technical point of view, the game also differed little from its contemporaries – know yourself to hit the buttons, make special moves and hit the enemy with powerful combos. Unless some of these combos became almost uninterruptible – for this it was enough to lift the opponent into the air with the power of their blows, and he became helpless.
This feature is called juggling and has been almost a must-have for fighting games ever since. Another innovation was the super-violent post-match finishing moves, called Fatality. It is in them that half the success of the series consists – after all, it is one thing to simply beat a character unconscious – and it is quite another to tear out his heart, tear off his head, prick him with thorns, burn him in hellfire or tear out his spine. By the way, in the very first game, another signature feature of the series appeared – namely, secret characters in the face of the scaly ninja Reptile.
The arcade success led to many re-releases for the popular consoles of the day, including the Sega Mega Drive. Now you can enjoy vintage mochilo on a PC if you download the Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection, which includes the first three parts.
Mortal Kombat II (1993)
- Platforms: Arcade, Game Gear, Genesis/Mega Drive, SNES, Game Boy, 32X, Amiga, Master System, MS-DOS, Saturn, PlayStation, PlayStation Network
You can say a lot of different things about the nineties, but then at least it was not necessary to wait for the release of new parts of your favorite games for ten years. So the Mortal Kombat sequel came out just a year after the original.
In general, this game is not familiar to modern gamers, but even in the years of its release it was not very popular. This is not surprising, because the differences between it and the first part were purely cosmetic. Available characters have replenished with one more Sub-Zero (younger and more cheat), two more monsters (Baraka and Kintaro), one more commando (Jax), one more monk (Kung Lao) and two more ninjas (Milena and Kitana).
Reptile was taken out of secret and added to the main roster, and his place was taken by a whole trio – Jade, Smoke and the super-cheating black ninja Noob Saibot, “Nub” in the name of which is precisely the noob and means (actually no) – after all, spamming “down -up”, uppercut and combo “С-С-С-С” can even people who first saw the joystick.
Mortal Kombat 3 (1995)
- Platforms: Arcade, Genesis, Super NES, PlayStation, Game Boy, Game Gear, MS-DOS, IBM PC compatible, R-Zone, Master System
It was the release of the third part of the series that coincided with the peak of the popularity of “games” with shogi, and for a long time it was difficult to find at least someone in them who does not play this game. The number of characters exceeded two dozen, among them for the first time appeared new and rather original characters (such as the Indian shaman Nightwolf, the simple cop Stryker or the monster in the Cabal mask).
“Colored ninjas” finally became a meme, replenished with lilac Rein and Yermak (who, despite the name and love for red, has nothing to do with either Siberia or Russia in general, because it is named after the Error Macro error message). Colored robots have also been added (which are also former ninjas, in short, everything is complicated, but it smokes and explodes).
Some arenas have become two-level (the enemy can now be knocked out with an uppercut to the second floor). And it was in this game that combos finally lost improvisation and were reduced to memorizing two sequences.
The most interesting thing is that the ratings of this game by Russian and Western gamers are radically different. If for the majority of domestic players the third MK was the first, and could not cause anything but admiration, then American critics consider the “three” to be almost the worst part of the series.
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (1995)
- Platforms: Arcade, Sega Saturn, Sega Genesis, Super NES, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, iOS, PlayStation 2, Windows, Xbox Live Arcade
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 became the “Ultimate” version of MK3, and contained new characters and arenas, as well as several new storylines, while the overall scenario in the game remained the same.
At the same time, changes were made to the gameplay: players received two new modes (“Tournament” and “2v2 Battles”), some fighters got additional moves, combos changed, and enemy AI was improved. And this is not counting minor changes, such as balance changes and changes in the color of interface elements.
The game was released on multiple platforms, including arcades, to mixed reviews from critics, due to the wide variety of ports for different consoles, for example the Sega Saturn version received high ratings and the GBA port was panned.
Mortal Kombat Trilogy (1996)
- Platforms: Nintendo 64, PlayStation, Sega Saturn, MS-DOS, Windows, R-Zone
If MK3 was synonymous with Sega games, then the Trilogy was played in more fashionable halls that PS could afford to buy. The concept of the game was to re-release the “troika” once again, but on a more powerful platform and with cool graphics.
For this, characters from all three parts of the series are finally brought together. At the same time, for warriors who were radically different in the first and third parts (for example, Kano and Raiden), the ability to choose a skin was made.
The game retained the spirit of the series and branded cruelty, but took the first step towards casualness. For example, it became possible to make combos or fatalities with one button. This, of course, freed up space in the brains of schoolchildren for the school curriculum, and not “xc abczyx abczyx”, but hit the skill players, who lost some of their advantage over the noobs.
Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero (1997)
- Platforms: PlayStation, Nintendo 64, LCD game
Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero is an attempt (rather successful) to take the series beyond the fighting game, as well as to reveal in more detail one of its key characters, the ninja Sub-Zero.
The spin-off is dedicated to the adventures of a fighter wielding the powers of cold, and is a side-view action game in which the hero goes through locations, fighting against various opponents. He can apply techniques familiar from fighting games, and as he gains experience, he opens up new abilities. The plot was focused on the dismantling of ninja clans and the search for an ancient artifact.
Gamers liked the idea of creating a standalone adventure set in the Mortal Kombat universe, but the game was criticized for clumsy controls, outdated graphics, and limitations due to the lack of Nintendo 64 power. The PlayStation version was more favorably received.
Mortal Kombat 4 (1997)
- Platforms: Arcade, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo 64, PlayStation, Game Boy Color
“Trilogy” is the latest installment in the series, universally loved by all fans. The Quartet was expected to continue the current trend – but in many ways they got a completely new game, in which a bunch of new characters were added (another elemental god, now winds, not lightning, another evil god, even angrier than Shao Kahn, another evil sorcerer with a Chinese name, a recolored young Sub-Zero, another monk, another ninja girl and the reincarnation of Kano), and the old characters were completely redesigned (Reptile can only be recognized by name).
At the same time, all characters in battle can now rely not only on their own arsenal, but also on stones and weapons scattered around the arena. Plus, each warrior has his own branded weapon that can be used at a critical moment in the fight.
But the main innovation was the exit from the plane. Now, in addition to moving back and forth, jumping and crouching, characters can at any time take a step to the left or right (away from the player or towards the player), which significantly expands the tactical variety (why do we need blocks when you can just dodge a harpoon or a fireball? ).
On the one hand, MK4 followed the trends of the present and brought a lot of new things. On the other hand, it did not have many beloved characters, and the new ones did not have even half of the charisma of the usual heroes, and the transition from a flat arena to a three-dimensional one forced spatial imagination to strain and reduced the dynamics of battles.
In addition, of all finishing moves, only fatalities remained in the game. So the “four” has become one of the most controversial “Mortal Kombat”. It is also the first part of the series to be fully released on PC.
Mortal Kombat Gold (1999)
- Platforms: Dreamcast
Mortal Kombat Gold – this is the same “four”, only for the Dreamcast, the latest console at that time.
The game was replenished with characters not present in Mortal Kombat 4, such as Cyrax and Kitana, as well as new arenas. The plot complemented and in some places rewrote the history of the fourth part, and the mechanics of choosing weapons before the battle was introduced into the gameplay.
Mortal Kombat: Special Forces (2000)
- Platforms: PlayStation
Another attempt at a non-fighting game in the Mortal Kombat universe. This time, the players were presented with a third-person action game in which the main character, Special Forces Commander Jackson Briggs (a black fighter with metal hands from the main series) hunts members of the Black Dragon gang who escaped from prison.
The adventure turned out to be not the most exciting: the locations were gray and monotonous, there were no fatalities, the plot did not catch on and did not fit in with other games in the line. The press also criticized the inconvenient camera, ugly graphics and boring exploration of locations. As a result, despite the reduced price, Mortal Kombat: Special Forces showed very weak sales.
Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (2002)
- Platforms: GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Game Boy Advance
After the “four” came out a few spin-offs, but a full-fledged new part had to wait eight years. There are now even fewer finishing moves (only fatalities, and only one), but 3D has become full-fledged (in MK4 you could only take a step to the side), the graphics have been greatly refreshed, and each warrior has acquired three styles (two unarmed and one armed), between which you could switch right in the middle of the combo.
At the same time, an analogue of the campaign appeared in the game for the first time, and at the same time, training – the Konquest mode with missions for each of the characters. Some of the favorite characters from the “troika” have returned to the game, new ones have been added: the most charismatic – a vampire girl and a blind master of the sword, driven by revenge. A separate bonus – of the new characters of the “four” that did not exist, only Quan Chi survived to DA.
Mortal Kombat: Deception (2004)
- Platforms: PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube
For the first time, the final boss in the game has nothing to do with Shao Kahn – instead, there is an even more ancient and insidious god, Onaga, the lord of dragons. He is so cool that even Shang Tsung, Quan Chi and their henchmen team up with the Earth warriors against him.
Many of our favorite characters have returned to the game, and added to them are several members of the Black Dragon, a demon, a killer and a legendary warrior, because of which the evil deity was able to return to our world. Arenas in the game have become even more sophisticated – they are full of deadly traps and dangerous weapons, and some of them consist of several levels at once. For the first time in the series, the ability to interrupt the combo being carried out on you has appeared up to three times per round.
Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks (2005)
- Platforms: PlayStation 2, Xbox
Another spin-off, now a beat’em’up, dedicated to the Shaolin monks Liu Kang and Kung Lao, who challenged Shang Tsung to enslave Earthrealm.
The authors have added co-op to the game, so players have the opportunity to participate in a joint adventure. In addition, gamers could fight each other in a separate mode. The combat system was somewhat different from the combat from the main parts of the series, however, it was quite diverse, allowing you to use different combos and fatalities, as well as using environmental items such as spiked traps.
Unlike Special Forces, Shaolin Monks was a success: ratings were predominantly high, and the game sold well.
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon (2006)
- Platforms: PlayStation 2, Wii, Xbox
In the process of work, another collection in the spirit of the “Trilogy” was planned, but in the end, a numbered part was still released, also with a full-fledged plot. Most of the beloved characters are back in business, plus extremely colorful types like Meat, a man with flayed skin, have been added to them.
For the first time in the history of the series, it became possible to create a character in the editor and even come up with a unique fatality for him from a set of available elements. The gameplay has become more focused on combat in the air.
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (2008)
- Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
The series’ first true crossover with the DC comics universe. This means that half of the roster consists of favorite characters from previous MK series, and the other half consists of Superman, Batman and other comic book heroes.
In addition to the setting, the controls have also changed a lot – if earlier the punch buttons controlled their height “hi-kick, low-kick, high-punch, low-punch”, now each of the four buttons controls one limb “left arm, right leg, and so on.
Mortal Kombat (2011)
- Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation Vita, Microsoft Windows
Having reached a joint project with a comic book publisher (albeit a cool one), the developers decided that it was time to change something, so the ninth part of the series became the first again. At the same time, not only the name, but also the gameplay reminds of the first parts.
The story has been reloaded as of Armageddon and the combat is back to normal 2D (albeit with rich 3D graphics). The game returned to its roots, and thanks to this, it was possible not only to save the series, which slowly began to slide into who knows what, but also to create a reserve for sequels.
Mortal Kombat X (2015)
- Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
And again, the MK series experienced a semblance of a “reboot”, so four years after the restart, the developers decided to continue the “through” numbering, so instead of MK2, MKX was released (for the sake of a round number, even a crossover with the DC universe, which is noticeably out of it in terms of plot, was included in the general anthology ).
The plot of the “ten” is much more complicated than a banal tournament for power over the Earth, but almost all old acquaintances, including Shao Kahn, Liu Kang, Raiden, Shinnok and Shang Tsung, are back in action. Some of the characters from the previous parts did not live up to the tenth anniversary part, but new, even more colorful ones took their place. Why is there only a fighter, consisting entirely of insects, or a couple of huge thugs and a dwarf sitting on it.
A very important innovation in the context of the overall success of the series – now you can see the crushing damage inflicted on the enemy not only from the outside, but also with the help of X-ray vision, seeing firsthand how many fractures and other injuries your enemy receives from especially successful combos.
Mortal Kombat Mobile (2015)
- Platforms: iOS, Android
Simultaneously with the release of Mortal Kombat X, the franchise’s mobile game was launched. Moreover, at the time of release, it was one of the most beautiful games on smartphones: developed on Unreal Engine 3, it showed graphics indistinguishable from the picture in the “older” versions. The game later moved to Unreal Engine 4.
Mortal Kombat Mobile combines TCG and fighting game genres, offering real-time combat using combat moves and customizing heroes between matches using cards. Alas, the scourge of most free mobile games has overtaken this title: without serious cash injections, it is very difficult to progress here.
Download (Android) Download (iOS)
Mortal Kombat 11 (2019)
- Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S
The success of the MKX in many ways exceeded the expectations of the studio, so the sequel, in fact, is a prettier version of it with several innovations. The main ones are a new customization system that allows you to create truly unique images of characters, and not just pull different skins on them. In addition, thanks to a revamped outfit system, enchantment movesets are now heavily item-based, allowing gamers to create their own unique fighting styles.
Full-fledged fatalities and brutalities are finally back in MK11, instead of “X-ray” moves, Fatal Blow (about the same thing, but done only once per battle and only when the enemy has less than a third of health) and Krushing Blow (a strengthened version of Fatal Blow) , which is only available in certain situations).
The list of fighters has traditionally found a place for both classic characters like Baraka, Jax, Johnny Cage, Kitana, Liu Kang, Scorpion and Sub-Zero, as well as newcomers like the time lord Kronika (you can’t play as her, but she became the first in the history of the series female boss), the goddess Cetrion and the six-armed Collector, who simply loves to carry the corpses of his enemies defeated in a leather backpack.
In general, the new MK has remained plus or minus the same. But its target audience has changed a bit. Therefore, in the very first patch, after receiving a lot of complaints from gamers, the developers had to significantly increase the number of rewards received for battles, as well as reduce the difficulty of passing some enemies in PvE modes.
Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath (2020)
- Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S
Given that the Mortal Kombat series has always relied on the story component, the ability of developers to tell interesting stories has reached its zenith by MK11. The scenario of the base game was exciting, but it was not enough, and a year after its release, Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath was released, in which the story was continued, and the characters familiar to the fans returned to the game.
At the same time, the DLC added new fighters to the game, including guests like RoboCop, and also brought back iconic gameplay mechanics like the Friendship last hit.
Mortal Kombat: Onslaught (2023)
- Platforms: iOS, Android
Mortal Kombat: Onslaught is a MOBA featuring Mortal Kombat characters that combines cinematic cutscenes with action-packed combat gameplay. Players will be able to equip their characters, participate in team PvP matches, as well as play in single player mode, completing story missions. The title is being developed for mobile platforms.
Over the decades of its history, the MK series is not only not forgotten, but also conquers new markets. Mortal is now cut not only on PCs and consoles, but also on tablets, phones and other gadgets.
Unlike its post-Fatality characters, the series is the most alive, and after the release in 2019, MK11 is clearly worth waiting for a few more numbered parts. After all, Mortal Kombat gives us what we so lack in our daily routine – adrenaline, danger and the ability to break the skull of some unpleasant person.