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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

7 New Details From the Mortal Kombat 1 Gameplay Trailer

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NetherRealm Studios shared the first gameplay trailer for Mortal Kombat 1, a new game in the famed fighting game series that will reset the timeline (again). While all your favorite characters like Scorpion and Sub-Zero are set to return, the new timeline means there’s a lot we still don’t know about these familiar faces.

On the gameplay front, Mortal Kombat 1 is shaking things up with its biggest new mechanic yet: Kameos, which introduces a tag system to Mortal Kombat for the first time ever. With that in mind, we poured over the new trailer to see what new secrets we could glean from the gameplay trailer.

Tag You’re It

The big new gameplay reveal in the new trailer was Kameo, a new system where players pick a second character to assist them in Kombat. Similar to games like Marvel vs. Capcom, players can summon their Kameo partners using a button press to do a quick attack, and then jump back off-screen. What’s unique about the system seems to be that there are a number of different commands you can issue to your Kameo partner, depending on the input used. We’ve seen Kameos extend combos, aid with throws, used as a breaker to get their partner out of a combo, and even participate in what appear to be MK1’s new X-Ray/Fatal Blow attacks.

Who’s That Kameo?

While we don’t know the full roster just yet, it seems like NetherRealm Studios is being very deliberate with its Kameo characters. Instead of just letting you choose anyone on the main roster to be your tag partner, there will be an entire separate roster of Kameos, similar to how assist-only characters worked in Marvel vs Capcom 1. So far, it seems like only pre-reset characters from past Mortal Kombat games are in the roster such as Mortal Kombat 1 Sonya, Mortal Kombat 1 Kano, Mortal Kombat 2 Jax, Mortal Kombat 3 Stryker, Mortal Kombat 2 Kung Lao, and Goro.

During the stage presentation, NetherRealm Chief Creative Officer Ed Boon came on stage to talk more about Kameo and said there will be some characters who are available as main roster characters and Kameo fighters. But “many of our Kameos are nods to our first game,” Boon says.

Timeline Shenanigans

Mortal Kombat 1 is a true and proper sequel to Mortal Kombat 11, but because of Liu Kang’s decision to reset the timeline in his own vision, the Mortal Kombat universe begins anew, and there are plenty of changes to the characters as a result.

We already know that mortal enemies Scorpion and Sub-Zero are now brothers who seemingly get along, but Mileena’s teeth get a new backstory as they’re now the result of a disease rather than Mileena being created as a clone of Kitana with Tarkatan blood mixed in. Other changes include the fact that Kenshi can see, Kung Lao’s fights without his signature bladed hat, and Raiden is mortal following the events from Mortal Kombat 11.

Blast From the Past

Just as how the Kameo fighters are nods to the series’ past, so too are their fatalities. Kano’s heart rip is an iconic, classic fatality that seems downright tame compared to what NetherRealms has cooked up in recent years, but the Kameo system seems very much a way to combine the newer Mortal Kombat games with callbacks to the past, which should leave both new and old fans alike happy.

New Shaolin Monks

Liu Kang’s ideal universe is under threat as we learned from the first Mortal Kombat 1 trailer. But he’s not going to save the universe by himself. Along with the Scorpion and Sub-Zero brothers who seem to be on Liu Kang’s side, the now-human Raiden and Kenshi appear to be sparring as Shaolin monks, much like Liu Kang and Kung Lao used to in the previous timeline.

Up in the Air

While it’s not confirmed just yet how Mortal Kombat 1 will play differently from its predecessors, one apparent change that we can see in the gameplay trailer is a new emphasis on air combos. Multiple characters are seen launching opponents up into the air, and following up with a quick series of hits while still suspended mid airs. Kameos are also used to extend these combos for maximum juggling.

Where are the New Faces?

So far NetherRealm is emphasizing the returning characters from past Mortal Kombat games. While we’ve seen plenty of Fire God Liu Kang, Raiden, Kung Lao, Mileena, Kitana, Kenshi, and Johnny Cage, we have yet to see any new faces this time around (other than some leaked guest characters).

Not that we’re complaining. Because of the timeline reset, many of these characters have completely different origin stories and we can’t wait to be reintroduced to our favorite characters again, some of whom seem completely different from how we’ve known them previously.

These are some of the biggest details we noticed from the Mortal Kombat 1 gameplay trailer. Be sure to check back with IGN for more Summer of Games coverage.

Matt T.M. Kim is IGN's Senior Features Editor. You can reach him @lawoftd.

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