On January 17, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment lifted the curtain on their newest fighter, in a highly anticipated gameplay reveal of Mortal Kombat 11. The iconic fighter was first revealed last month during The Game Awards, with a brutal trailer that showed off some of the new violence awaiting players when Mortal Kombat 11 releases later this year. But now, the cat — er — kat is out of the bag, and the audience gathered for the Mortal Kombat 11 reveal event lost their collective minds when the video footage began and the revelations hit us all, fatal blow after fatal blow.
Only seven fighters were revealed, including a new character, Geras, but it was enough to get the blood pumping for fans worldwide. Baraka, Raiden, Skarlet, Scorpion, Sonya Blade, and Sub-Zero were unveiled, with demos showing off their new moves and finishers, as well as the new outfits available for each. According to Brian Lebaron, one of the senior designers at NetherRealm Studios, fans should expect around 25 fighters at launch, plus more with downloadable content.
A new boss was also revealed: Kronika, the first female boss character in Mortal Kombat history. The new big baddie is the Keeper of Time and creator of existence and will be going head-to-head with Raiden in the story mode. Geras is actually her servant, giving players a hint of his skill set and powers.
Perhaps the worst kept secret of Mortal Kombat 11 was officially confirmed as well: MMA legend and current WWE champion Ronda Rousey will be portraying Sonya Blade. Ronda came out on stage and spoke about how thrilled she was to be playing Sonya Blade in Mortal Kombat 11.
“I’ve been a lifelong Mortal Kombat fan, and Sonya Blade was the first kick-ass, female video game character that I related to,” Rousey said. “Now I get to voice her in Mortal Kombat 11. It’s a dream come true to be a part of the Mortal Kombat franchise that I grew up playing.”
Ed Boon, the creative director of NetherRealm Studios, also came on stage — to thunderous applause and “Ed-Ed-Ed” chants — to talk a little about the game.
“We’re thrilled to showcase Mortal Kombat 11 and reveal the gameplay, new features and epic characters to the fans,” Boon said. “We have an amazing community, and it’s an honor to share this celebration of the Mortal Kombat franchise with all of our passionate fans around the world.”
The presentation ended shortly after, and attendees were allowed to finally get their hands on some Mortal Kombat 11 gameplay — needless to say, the wait was worth it.
Our first hands-on impressions focus more on the new gear system, X-ray damage, and finishers. Like Injustice 2, players can earn new outfit components for their characters, allowing them to create some really unique combinations. With only seven fighters to play with at the event, we only got a small taste of what’s to come, but being able to switch out heads and bodies will help make the Kombatants all the more your own.
The X-ray damage moves make their triumphant return, adding some variety to the moment-to-moment action. Certain moves can lead to a seamless cutaway showing in-depth — literally — the damage you are doing to your opponent. Things like shattered bones and ribs, ruptured spleens, brain bleeding and more. It’s so incredibly graphic that I had to ask Brian Lebaron if they have a copy of Gray’s Anatomy at the NetherRealm Studios offices to reference just how the human body looks while it is being destroyed. We’ll have more on this conversation in another story.
Lastly, the new finishers are exceptionally brutal. Just when you think Mortal Kombat 11 can’t get any more gory, Skarlet pulls the blood from her opponent, freezes it, weaponizes it, then impales the victim — including one shard right into the eye socket. To make matters worse, she then hits the blood shard in the eye socket so hard that it pushes through the back of the head, eye and all. That is a description I never thought I would ever write. The cool part is the color of the eye that pushes through is character specific, adding a macabre touch. This is only one of many brutal finishing moves, and there are so many other fighters — with so many more brutal finishers — that the thought of it all is actually giving me nightmares.
Mortal Kombat 11 looks amazing in action, balancing its gore-geous (pun intended) visuals with brutal violence, which longtime fans of the series will embrace with open arms. The energy of the crowd at the reveal event proves that Mortal Kombat is still beloved after nearly three decades, and the series keeps finding new ways to virtually dismember its growing roster of fighters. The new gear system and finishers will keep players fighting for years, and if this small taste was any indication, Mortal Kombat 11 is poised to not only be the best fighting game of 2019 but maybe one of the best games of the year.
Mortal Kombat 11 will be released on April 23 for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows PCs. Stay tuned for more coverage in the coming weeks and note that pre-orders are now open.
We Got This Covered attended the reveal event after being invited by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Lodging and transportation were provided by WBIE.