The reveal of Netherrealm’s latest installment in the Mortal Kombat franchise, Mortal Kombat 1, has garnered a ton of hype and for good reason. Not only is Mortal Kombat one of the fighting game genre’s biggest series, but Mortal Kombat 1 is set to be a radical departure for the series, rivaling even the universal reset that was 2011’s Mortal Kombat. Fighters from all across the Mortal Kombat chronology will be revamped and reimagined for the brand-new entry in the series.

After the events of 2019’s Mortal Kombat 11 Liu Kang, the former champion of the original Mortal Kombat tournament and one of Earthrealm’s greatest heroes, has become not only the god of fire and thunder, but also of time. Following the defeat of Kronika, the former Titaness and Keeper of Time, Liu Kang became imbued with the powers of not only Raiden but of Kronika herself. Liu Kang vowed to restore the world and its timeline to one of peace and order which is where Mortal Kombat 1 begins.

While it is unknown to what extend Liu Kang changed the core events that shaped the previous Mortal Kombat timeline or how his new rule will be challenged, the latest trailers that have been released have given fans a solid look at some of the confirmed fighters that will be returning to the fray. With many, many more characters sure to be revealed in the coming months, these are the characters that have been confirmed to be playable in Mortal Kombat 1.

Liu Kang

Mortal Kombat Liu Kang

The former hero of Earthrealm and one-time zombie, Liu Kang has most recently become the omniscient Keeper of Time as well as the God of Fire and Thunder. Liu Kang’s play style has always been fluid and balanced, mixing projectiles with aggressive mix-ups. Liu Kang’s iconic fireballs and bicycle kick look to have been augmented, with giant flaming dragons replacing his simple fireballs along with a vertical variation of his bicycle kick. Combining his original move set with Raiden’s teleports and lighting abilities is setting Liu Kang up to become one of the roster’s most formidable fighters.


Mortal Kombat Scorpion

Scorpion was once a vengeful wraith hellbent on claiming revenge against Sub-Zero for the murder of his family. While it seems Scorpion and Sub-Zero will maintain some semblance of their old rivalry, Scorpion no longer looks to be a spirit sent from Netherrealm. Scorpion is still equipped with his classic kunai-rope dart which he uses to spear and pull his opponents with. Dash attacks and an expanded move set with his kunai-rope dart look to bring some exciting new variations to Scorpions tried and true combat style.


Mortal Kombat Sub-Zero

The original Sub-Zero was a member of the Lin Kuei, a secretive global organization of ninja assassins. Sub-Zero’s history with Scorpion may be different from before, but their feud seems to be in tact in Liu Kang’s reworked timeline. It hasn’t been explained whether this Sub-Zero is Bi-Han, the original Sub-Zero from the first Mortal Kombat who later became Noob Saibot, or if he is Kuai Liang, Bi-Han’s younger brother who took up the Sub-Zero mantle. Sub-Zero looks as if he is retaining much of his original moves with his iconic freeze blast, ice slide, and frozen hammers and spears all making a return.

Kung Lao

Mortal Kombat Kung Lao

Kung Lao has historically been Liu Kang’s closest ally and friendly rival. Kung Lao looks to have remained a Shaolin monk in Liu Kang’s reworked timeline, but his classic relationship with Liu Kang may not be as it once was. Much of Kung Lao’s signature gameplay is intact, with fast and fluid strikes coupled with his deadly razor-edged hat. Dive kicks and powered fist attacks look to liven up Kung Lao’s repertoire, making the Shaolin monk even more dangerous as an opponent.

Johnny Cage

Mortal Kombat Johnny Cage

The reluctant Hollywood action star turned Earthrealm protector, Johnny Cage has always existed as the comic relief in Mortal Kombat. For all of his crassness and joking, though, Johnny Cage as always been able to prove his martial prowess in a fight to the death. While Johnny Cage’s in-game action was briefer than other characters, his iconic Nut Shot made its return, proving that regardless of the timeline, some things just never change. Whether Johnny Cage will remain a solid mix-up character, blending rush-down tactics with projectiles, or his fighting style will be changed entirely remains to be seen.


Mortal Kombat Raiden

The former God of Thunder and leader of the defenders of Earthrealm, Raiden may have undergone the biggest change of all the Mortal Kombat characters. While he is no longer a god, Raiden still maintains his classic lighting based abilities that made him such a powerhouse in previous Mortal Kombat titles. Raiden’s strengths lie in his teleports, incapacitating lighting specials, and means of controlling the flow of a battle. He may be a mortal now, but Raiden seems to have lost none of his power.


Mortal Kombat Kitana

The princess of Edenia who was forced to rule under the conqueror Shao Kahn, Kitana had a very tumultuous history in the original Mortal Kombat timeline. A former Empress of Outworld and even revenant of Netherrealm, Kitana’s fate has always been entwined with that of Liu Kang. Mixing tricky neutrals with her deadly fan blades, Kitana addles her opponents with projectiles and aerial-focused mix-ups. How her royal lineage will play into the new chronology remains to be seen, but Kitana is already looking to be as deadly as ever.


Mortal Kombat Mileena

Mileena was originally a genetic clone of Kitana, an experiment conducted by Shao Kahn and Shang Tsung. By mixing the DNA of Kitana with that of a Tarkatan warrior, Mileena was cursed to have a blend of Kitana’s beauty but with the fearsome fanged maw of a Tarkatan. Angry and cruel, Mileena’s playstyle has always matched her personality. Great movement options, difficult to read mix-ups, and her iconic sai’s make Mileena look to be as lethal as she ever was.


Mortal Kombat Kenshi

A fighter that debuted in 2002’s Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Kenshi was unique for wielding an enchanted blade and being blind. Liu Kang looks to have restored Kenshi’s sight in his new timeline, but the swordsman is now hunting down his ancestral sword. Kenshi has always been a formidable opponent, using his enchanted blade to confuse and trip up his opponents. His mixture of short and mid-range mix-ups, long-range sword attacks, and phantom clones have all returned, allowing Kenshi to live up to his history as a force to be reckoned with.

Shang Tsung

Mortal Kombat Shang Tsung

The vile sorcerer that worked alongside Shao Kahn to overtake Earthrealm during the original Mortal Kombat tournament, and who teamed up with Quan Chi to murder to Liu Kang, Shang Tsung has long stood as one of the greatest villains in all of Mortal Kombat. It’s unclear how the sorcerer is able to upset Liu Kang’s timeline and to what end the he is working, but Shang Tsung has been confirmed to make a return to the series. Only brief moments of Shang Tsung’s classic soul-sucking powers have been shown without much else in the way of gameplay so fans will have to wait patiently for more information to be released.

With many of the core Mortal Kombat characters making their return it’ll be very exciting to see who else makes their brand-new re-entrance into the Mortal Kombat universe. Kano, Jax, Goro, Sonya, and more have made appearances throughout the trailers that been released so it’s very likely that many more characters will return as well. Will the next characters to be showcased be more classic characters from early in the series or will they be brand new fighters never before seen? What characters are you most excited to play as? Which characters do you hope to see make a return?

Mortal Kombat 1 is available September 19 on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S.

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