We are less than one month from the release of Mortal Kombat 11 and I could not be more excited for it. While I know most players would (rightfully so) rather talk about the online play, possible tournament appearances and whether or not the servers are going to run smoothly on day one, I have been incredibly surprised by the almost overwhelming story content we’ve been getting glimpses of over the last two months.
While I am excited to see the return of classic characters like Noob Saibot, Kabal and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Shang Tsung, I’m a story guy and the story that Netherrealm Studios is crafting is nothing but ambitious to say the least. Mortal Kombat 11’s newest trailer veers hard into the subject of a cross-generational story line of past versions of fan favorite characters meeting (and fighting) older versions of themselves.
The trailer starts out strong with the modern day Johnny Cage, who buy now has to be pushing fifty, punching the MK3 version of Kano right in the fucking balls. While this story is seemingly ambitious, this isn’t trying to be Citizen Kane or some other type of pretentious story like that and we shouldn’t be surprised by this in the slightest.
We move on to find “older” versions of Liu Kang, Kitana and Kung Lao arriving in what I can only assume is Outworld around the time of the second canonical Mortal Kombat tournament where we’ll see the newest villain (who doesn’t appear in this trailer) Kronika establishing a new tournament to reset the balance of fate…or something like that, by inviting a seemingly random group of fighters from both the past and present.
Veering into the skid of time travel even harder, we get to see our first glimpse of Liu Kang and Kung Lao confronting their older selves. Over the course of the last two games in the series, we got to see the eventual downfall of both Shaolin Monks as they were both defeated in battle and resurrected in the Nether Realm (Hell) and are now lording over it with the aid of a demonic Kitana (spoilers).
And the time travel shenanigans don’t stop there, as we see Jax from the MK2 era confronting an older, angrier version of himself…
…as well as my bo Johnny Cage facing off with his younger, douchier self. The real fun begins when we get to see the “Kombat-Kids” Jacqui Briggs and Cassie Cage come face to face with younger versions of their parents. Imagine the horror on Sonya Blade’s face when she finds out that she has a kid with Johnny Cage.
I can’t wait to see the moment when Johnny Cage meets his younger self and realizes why everyone has thought he’s an asshole all these years. This trailer is edited wonderfully to the song Check Yo Self by Ice Cube. It’s fun, hilarious and an obvious ode to the 90’s era…and then this happens…
…suddenly the music changes from Ice Cube to Blue Suede by Vincent Staples and the trailer becomes immediately darker and much more sinister as the younger generation of fighters proves that they’re not playing around.
Finally, the trailer ends with Liu Kang seeing a possibly younger version of Raiden and immediately goes into full beast mode.
This is no small moment as Liu Kang understandably blames Raiden for becoming the bloodthirsty demon he is today as he was killed by the Thunder God in 2011’s Mortal Kombat. It’ll be interesting to see if there are in fact two versions of Raiden as the ending of Mortal Kombat X ends with Raiden being corrupted by the amulet of the fallen Elder God Shinnok.
I think what excites me the most about the story of this new Mortal Kombat game is the fact that, while yes it is ambitious to do a cross-generational story featuring multiple versions of the same characters, I have no idea what is going to happen with this newest game. I think we can all assume that the actual mechanics of this game are going to be sound, if not superb, I think we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that the Mortal Kombat franchise arguably revolutionized and legitimized the desire for a story mode in fighting games, and it also proves that the MK series can be about more than blood, gore, revealing costumes and ratings boards.
Mortal Kombat 11 is set for a global release on April 23rd across all platforms, including PC. The closed Beta will also be available between March 28th and March 31st, so you can expect more coverage on MK11 in the future.