Mortal Kombat X arrives on April 14 (PC, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3) to test your might once again in the bloodiest fighting tournament known to man and god. Since the birth of the franchise in 1992, Mortal Kombat has drenched our TVs with blood and guts…and decapitations, flagellations, cannibalism, mutilations, dismemberment, immolation, acid attacks, and pretty much all of the other terrible things that could happen to a humanoid organism.
We’ve decided to put everything you need to know about Mortal Kombat X in one place for your convenience. You’ll find details on the story, roster, special guests, and the gameplay below. We’ve also included A LOT of trailers and some other necessary reading about the larger Mortal Kombat universe. This is a working news post, so we will continue to update it as we learn more about the game.
Consider this your one-stop spot for all things Mortal Kombat X!
2011’s Mortal Kombat (9) might have been the most brutal installment of them all, as Sindel, who was resurrected by Quan Chi in the game, murdered almost every character on the hero side. It’s all thanks to Raiden’s incompetence, of course. It’s almost worse that he decided to go back in time after the events of Armageddon to stop all of the terrible things from happening. He traveled back all the way to the events of the very first game, but even more terrible things happened instead. At the very least, he did kill off Shao Kahn, which was the whole point, but now Shinnok and Quan Chi are preparing to invade Earthrealm.
So that’s where we are…
What to expect
The game picks up where the last one left off, jumping right into the events of Mortal Kombat 4. From the beginning of story mode, Johnny Cage, Sonya Blade, and Kenshi are leading the siege against Shinnok. Judging from the Mortal Kombat X comic series, the Netherrealm War will include a moment where Kenshi is able to get through to Scorpion and convince him to turn on Shinnok, leading to the Hell ninja’s redemption and allowing him to reconnect with his lost humanity. After the initial continuation of the story, the timeline will jump 25 years into the future to focus on the next generation of heroes.
We’ve already seen a bit of the time jump with the old Kung Lao reveal from early January, not to mention many of the revealed characters are disciples or offspring of the characters you know and love. Characters like Cassie Cage (Johnny and Sonya’s daughter), Jaqueline Briggs (Jax’s daughter), Takeda (Kenshi’s son/Scorpion’s pupil), and Kung Jin (cousin of Kung Lao) will lead the fight against the unknown final threat.
The big bad hasn’t been outright identified yet. All we know is that the Netherrealm War screwed up the dimensional barriers for a bit and even though Raiden was able to eventually fix it, something terrible broke through. There are certain special artifact daggers that Raiden’s been trying to keep an eye on and has had them protected by the likes of Scorpion and Kotal Kahn, but whatever this demonic threat is, it’s tied to the daggers and something called “The Blood Code.” This is all related to Mileena stealing the very amulet that’s imprisoning Shinnok and using it as a weapon to go to war with Kotal Kahn.
It’s up to the next generation of Kombatants to stop them.
We made an even BIGGER list of things to expect from Mortal Kombat X‘s story. Make to sure check it!
The comic series is released by DC Comics. They’re written by Shawn Kittelsen with art by Dexter Soy, Geraldo Borges, and Igor Vitorino. The issues have been coming out digitally every Sunday and every three digital issues are later released as a single print issue. They take place after the Netherrealm War and build towards the main part of the game’s story mode.
Issues 1 through 3: Kenshi is at war with the Red Dragon and finds out about an illegitimate son. To protect him, he leaves him with Scorpion and his ninja clan. Scorpion raises Takeda as his student, but tragedy strikes.
Issues 4 and 5: Cassie Cage and Jacqueline Briggs sneak away from Special Forces headquarters to hit some clubs and stumble across an underground fighting ring. Cassie is then forced into a fight to the death with Frost.
Issue 6: The origin of Kotal Kahn, current ruler of Outworld.
Issues 7 and 8: Kotal Kahn’s attempt to exterminate Mileena goes awry when Goro throws a wrench in his plans and aligns himself with the fang-faced princess.
Issue 9: Cassie’s gone missing and Sonya almost starts an inter-dimensional incident with Kotal Kahn until Johnny Cage smooths things over.
Issue 10: Scorpion tells Takeda about how he died and came back from Hell.
Issue 11: Raiden sends Scorpion on a mission to save a possessed Sub-Zero.
Issue 12: Erron Black and Kano are attacked by the Red Dragon and lots of bloodshed is had.
Issue 13: Scorpion picks a fight with Sub-Zero while Goro and his father share a tender moment.
Established Mortal Kombat characters have popped up a lot and with some exceptions, it’s hard to say just who will be showing up in the game itself. They are: Hsu Hao (deceased), Frost, Jarek, Tasia, Mavado, Daegon (mentioned), Fujin, Reiko, Rain, and Havik.
Although this is still the same, gory fighting game you’ve loved since the arcade days, there are plenty of new things to do in Mortal Kombat X. Many of the new features and improvements will change the way you play the game and strategize against your opponents. Here are the main gameplay improvements:
It’s in the name, and it’s probably the most game-changing new feature in the game. Each Kombatant now has three set variations to choose from that change the way they fight. That means three different sets of attacks, combos, and finishers for each Kombatant. This feature introduces a bit of strategy to Mortal Kombat X.
Using the Environment
Kombatants can now use their surroundings against each other, interacting with objects that can be thrown, smashed, etc. It doesn’t get any better than grabbing someone from the crowd and beating your opponent with him/her. You then throw the body aside, the body of an innocent spectator at your feet. Yeah…
Brutalities are new form of finishers in Mortal Kombat X that are actually even more gruesome than just “plain, old” Fatalities. Interestingly enough, Brutalities aren’t accomplished through complicated button combos. Instead, you need to complete certain conditions in a match to trigger one.
NetherRealm has revealed that there are over 100 Brutalities in the game. Most of them end in some horrible form of dismemberment and blood shower. It’s quite riveting. Check out several of these Brutalities here.
Faction wars and challenges will be a major part of the new online mode of Mortal Kombat X. At the beginning of the game, players will be able to join a faction — which are all recognizable to long-time fans. Factions such as the Black Dragons and Special Forces will be two of the five factions. Joining a faction leads into a larger meta-game in which factions fight each other in a war. Players gain points for their factions through wins and completing challenges. Factions can also be invaded by the forces of the Netherrealm for an all-out battle.
The fighting towers have also received an upgrade called “Living Tower.” These towers are constantly updated and changed on an hourly, daily, and weekly basis. This will provide an endless playlist of challengers for the most seasoned players.
Much like the story mode from the last three NetherRealm fighters (Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, Mortal Kombat 9, and Injustice: Gods Among Us), the game will have a lengthy movie-like story where you play as various characters several matches at a time before moving to the next chapter, where you are assigned another character. In this version, there will be quicktime events that shape the cutscenes. No word yet if these actually affect anything or if they’re purely cosmetic. Much like Godfather 2, the story will go back and forth between the events of Mortal Kombat 4 and the new adventure 25 years later. Unlike arcade mode, you cannot choose which variation your character uses. Completing the mode will unlock a character, though there’s no word yet on who that is.
Test Your Luck
Returning from the last game, players will have the ability to mess around and let fate choose how their fight will go. Prior to the fight, the game will randomly choose certain factors in the fight. How many can be set from one to seven. Maybe the fighters will have low gravity. Maybe there will be a power up that allows one-hit kills. Maybe they’ll randomly get stuck to the floor. There will be well over a hundred different wrenches you can throw into the mix and they can each be assigned to both players or just one, giving an unfair advantage. You can also choose these modifiers yourselves if you don’t want to bring luck into it.
So you’re playing online and some jerk decides to rage-quit. That always sucks, doesn’t it? At least now they’ll suffer a bit of humiliation as their character’s head will suddenly explode. Serves them right.
For $29.99 or buying the Mortal Kombat X Kollector’s Edition, you can get a season pass and download four downloadable characters, as well as get special skins for certain characters, including the ability to use Carl Weathers’ Al Dillon from Predator as a skin for Jax. The DLC characters will be Jason Voorhees, the Predator, Tremor, and Tanya.
Mortal Kombat X will feature several returning characters as well as a slew of new characters and some special guests. Let’s start with the returning fighters:
The larger part of the cast are returners. We’ve also made a few profiles for some of these characters. Make sure to click on their names in red! And there are going to be a lot more profiles to come in the next few weeks, so make sure to come back to this section…
Ermac is a being made entirely out of warrior souls (including Kitana’s father), used as one of Shao Kahn’s most powerful enforcers. He’s also the guy who tore off Jax’s arms, forcing him to wear cybernetic replacements. In the original timeline, the death of Shao Kahn turned Ermac into a benevolent mentor to the heroes. In the new timeline, he’s absorbed Shao Kahn’s soul into his own, keeping him corrupt.
Variations: Spectral, Mystic, Master of Souls
The Prince of Shokan was Shao Kahn’s ace in the hole in dominating the Mortal Kombat tournament for centuries. One more tournament victory would have won Earthrealm for his master, but Goro was taken down by Liu Kang. After Shao Kahn’s death, Kotal Kahn took over. Goro betrayed him to join Mileena’s attempt at a coup and even killed Kotal’s father (not Shao Kahn) to add insult.
Goro is available as a pre-order bonus.
Variations: Tigrar Fury, Kuatan Warrior, Dragon Fangs
Jackson Briggs is amongst those killed off in the last game, but he’s been back long enough to have a daughter Jacqueline. No word on who the mother is. Jax has been rumored for a while when some fans noticed that a screen shot of the game’s challenge tower featured someone with metal arms. While images leaked of him in story mode, we got full confirmation that he’s one of the characters Johnny fights in story mode. More details on him soon.
Variations: Pumped Up, Heavy Weapons, Wrestling
After the death of Liu Kang at the end of the last game, Johnny Cage stepped up to be Raiden’s go-to hero and Champion of Earthrealm, even while retaining his cocky attitude. At some point, he and Sonya got together and conceived Cassandra, but their romance didn’t last very long and they divorced. Johnny will be the first playable character in story mode, so fingers crossed that he doesn’t get Uncle Ben’d for the sake of giving Cassie something to rage against. Johnny is also the main character in the upcoming web series (played by Casper Van Dien, who played him in the second season of Mortal Kombat: Legacy).
Variations: A-List, Fisticuffs, Stunt Double
Kano sold out the human race for Shao Kahn during the last game. Despite getting on in years, Kano has succeeded in thriving in Outworld’s environment, mainly through trafficking Earthrealm weaponry into Outworld and into the hands of Kotal Kahn’s soldiers. In the game’s story trailer, he’s shown giving out secrets about Mileena to Kotal Kahn.
Variations: Commando, Cutthroat, Cybernetic
The blind swordsman has been revealed as part of the Mortal Kombat X mobile game, shown using a variation called “Possessed.” Kenshi spent several years undercover in the Red Dragon until having his cover blown and finding out that an old flame and a son he never knew he had were in danger. Kenshi rescued his son Takeda (the mother bought the farm) and set off to finish off the Red Dragon himself. He trusts Scorpion with his son after the two became best buds during Shinnok’s invasion. From the looks of the single image, Kenshi’s sword is shattered and only holds together thanks to his mind.
Variations: Possessed, Balanced, Kenjutsu
Kitana died at the hands of her mother Sindel in the last game, but she’s somehow returned from the dead. Shao Kahn is dead and Outworld is currently in good hands, so it’ll be interesting to see just what Kitana is out to achieve. We do know that Jade is dead and in honor of her fallen friend, Kitana will be able to wield her weapons during one of her variations.
Variations: Mournful, Royal Storm, Assassin
Kung Lao is another dead warrior who came back. Not only that, but he’s also aged. Other than his age, nothing seems to have changed with him. Then again, we don’t know much of anything about him yet for this installment.
Variations: Hat Trick, Tempest, Buzz Saw
The only official confirmation we have about Liu Kang in the game is one of his outfits is available in the Kombat Pack. Once the main hero of the series, Liu Kang lost his marbles at the end of the last game when Raiden’s bad decisions constantly undermined him and led to the death of his best friend, his romantic interest, and then Liu Kang himself. His final words were spitting insults at Raiden for being an idiot. Since pretty much anyone can recover from death in Mortal Kombat, Liu Kang will be on his way to get his revenge on the Thunder God.
Variations: Flame Fist, Dragon’s Fire, Dualist
Being a clone of Kitana, Mileena’s been considered Shao Kahn’s true daughter. That makes her the rightful heir to the throne, but Kotal Kahn disagreed and sent her running. Mileena is plotting her revenge along with the likes of Reiko (her general and lover), Rain, the Red Dragon organization, and even Goro. She wields a mystical artifact to help her cause, but there’s a good chance it might end up being more powerful than she can handle.
Variations: Ethereal, Piercing, Ravenous
Quan Chi is the puppet master who has pushed many past events towards his own agenda, such as the creations of Scorpion and Noob Saibot, the resurrection of Sindel, and Shao Kahn’s death. He acts as if he serves Shinnok, but that’s not totally accurate. He actually has the power to kill his master and would rather Shinnok do all the work and be the bigger target before acting. Even with the failure of the Netherrealm War, Quan Chi is too cunning to let it keep him down.
Variations: Summoner, Sorcerer, War Lock
Raiden is a big dummy whose attempts to change the course of history led to the deaths of most of his allies. Nobody appears to trust him, especially since innocent death continues to follow in his wake. Still, he tries to keep at his position of Earthrealm’s protector. What he’s up against isn’t spelled out for us quite yet, but he’s trying and failing to nip it in the bud.
Variations: Master of Storms, Thunder God, Displacer
Reptile is a born follower and has been loyal to Shao Kahn in hopes that he might allow for the resurrection of his near-extinct Saurian race. With Shao Kahn gone, Reptile has moved on to serving Kotal Kahn, becoming one of his most trusted warriors.
Variations: Noxious, Deceptive, Nimble
Thanks to Kenshi helping him open his eyes, Scorpion has been able to conquer his own demons and become human once more. He decided to rebuild his clan the Shirai Ryu, recruiting “survivors” like himself, usually in the form of those who have lost loved ones in the Netherrealm War. Happy with his new direction, Scorpion’s life came crashing down thanks to Raiden’s meddling. With only one pupil left standing, Scorpion goes off to punish Raiden for his crimes.
Variations: Inferno, Ninjustu, Hellfire
Shinnok is Mortal Kombat’s stand-in for the Devil, when you get down to it. He was a powerful Elder God who was cast out after going to war with his brothers and soon became ruler of the Netherrealm. He’s pure evil and is good at corrupting others to do his will. So yeah, Satan in a funny hat. Originally, he invaded Earthrealm during the events of Mortal Kombat 4, where he was defeated by Liu Kang. In this new timeline, Liu Kang is dead, as are many of the heroes who could help oppose the invasion. Shinnok is shown to be defeated by Raiden in one of the trailers, but he’ll surely find a way to pop up in one way or another. It’s said that he fights in a style similar to Shang Tsung.
Variations: Imposter, Bone Shaper, Necromancer
Despite becoming close after surviving two invasions, Sonya and Johnny fell apart. Probably because she’s a no-nonsense military type and he’s nothing but nonsense. The years have been kind to her and she’s become a high-ranking member of the Special Forces. Even though Kotal Kahn wishes to be an ally for the betterment of both of their worlds, Sonya refuses to deal with him or his followers. Mainly because Kotal Kahn has been working alongside Kano and the Black Dragon as part of an arms war against Mileena and the Red Dragon.
Variations: Covert Ops, Demolition, Special Forces
There have been two Sub-Zeros in Mortal Kombat continuity. The first one died, became Noob Saibot, then died again. The second one was transformed into a cyborg and was later killed by Sindel. This Sub-Zero appears to be one of the two, but which one? The in-game and comic dialogue makes it vague, but we do know that he’s definitely at odds with the current cybernetic version of the Lin Kuei ninja clan. It’ll most likely be the younger Sub-Zero, Kuai Liang.
Variations: Grandmaster, Cryomancer, Unbreakable
Originally appearing in Mortal Kombat 4 after they decided not to include Kitana last minute and changed up her model, Tanya has been portrayed as the resident backstabber of Mortal Kombat lore. She’s betrayed her home of Edenia for Shinnok and Quan Chi, then joined up with Onaga when it was convenient to her best interests. Since Mortal Kombat X begins with an alternate take on Mortal Kombat 4, it makes sense that Tanya would show up.
Tanya will be DLC as part of the Klassic Pack #1.
They’re going deep into the well for this one. Tremor was originally meant to be in Mortal Kombat Trilogy, but got nixed, instead appearing a few years later in the game Mortal Kombat: Special Forces. The Jax-centric adventure game had the buff Tremor as a boss. Not much is known about the ninja other than being a former Lin Kuei ninja who left the clan to join the Black Dragon. The PlayStation Vita version of Mortal Kombat 9 had him as playable for one of the Challenge Tower missions. For years, there’s been just enough mystique to him that fans have wanted him in a proper game. Now they’re going to get their wish.
Tremor will be DLC as part of the Klassic Pack #2.
The two main heroic survivors of the last game were Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade. Cassandra is their daughter, although it appears that the Johnny/Sonya romance didn’t last all that long. The two are separated and while Cassie is currently a member of Special Forces like her strict mother, she’d usually rather just be with her casual movie star father who lets her get away with everything. The trailer makes it appear that Cassie is the game’s true hero and the leader of her band of second-generation warriors.
Variations: Hollywood, Spec Ops, Brawler
Half insect, half human, D’Vorah comes from a realm of peaceful creatures that were unprepared when Shao Kahn invaded. Her realm became merged with Outworld. Her kind liberated with the death of Shao Kahn, D’Vorah is now a loyal follower of Kotal Kahn and will kill anyone who disrespects him.
Variations: Brood Mother, Swarm Queen, Venomous
The casting list for the Mortal Kombat X web series was said to include a character named Salazar, a man from Earthrealm who moved to Outworld to become a mercenary, specializing in Earthrealm weaponry. He then settled in becoming one of Kotal Kahn’s warriors. Erron Black, Kotal Kahn’s silent enforcer, makes it appear that Salazar got a name change somewhere along the line. So far the gunslinger hasn’t done much, but he ambiguously either saved Cassie and Jacqueline’s lives or kidnapped them in Kotal’s name. He actually appears a few times in the game’s story trailer, but you have to look for him.
Variations: Marksman, Gunslinger, Outlaw
Hey, you know what’s awesome? Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome! Ferra is basically Master while Torr is Blaster. Ferra can be used for attacks herself, but in one variation she can just stand in the background, cheering on her simple tank of a best friend. We don’t know much about who they are, but they’ve been shown as soldiers for Kotal Kahn.
Variations: Ruthless, Vicious, Lackey
Jax appears to be another hero who has cheated death, as he appeared in a single panel of the comic, training with his daughter Jacqueline. Jacqueline is Cassie Cage’s best friend and fellow member of the Special Forces. She also appears to be the more responsible of the two. So far she hasn’t done much other than play off Cassie.
Variations: Shotgun, Full Auto, High Tech
In Outworld, “Kahn” appears to be more of a title than a name. Kotal Kahn is a warrior whose father sent him on a walkabout through Earthrealm many centuries ago in hopes that he’d come back able to dethrone Shao Kahn. While in Earthrealm, Kotal Kahn protected the Mayans from outside invaders and taught them to drink the blood of their fallen enemies. In return, they renamed him Buluc-Chabtan, Mayan God of War (which is a real thing). After Shao Kahn’s death, Mileena took over Outworld. Kotal Kahn opposed her and eventually became the new ruler of Outworld. Unlike Shao Kahn, Kotal actually cares about his subjects and with brutalize anyone who would dare threaten them.
Variations: Sun God, War God, Blood God
According to the leaked casting list for the Mortal Kombat X web series, Kung Jin is the younger nephew of Kung Lao. After Lao’s death, his family was in dire straits and Kung Jin became a thief. That is, until Raiden helped him get his head on straight. Kung Jin then went and trained with the Shaolin monks and has joined Cassie Cage and the others, albeit he has more street smarts than the rest of them combined. Kung Jin’s fighting style is arrow-based.
Variations: Ancestral, Bojutsu, Shaolin
Kenshi was going undercover as a member of the Red Dragon, but when his cover was blown, they threatened to go after the son he never knew he had. Takeda’s mother died protecting him and Kenshi smuggled him away to safety. With Kenshi off to go take on the Red Dragon himself, Takeda was left with Scorpion, who sympathized with the loss of family. Scorpion trained him to be part of the Shirai Ryu, though he was always hard on the boy, more than any of his other students. Takeda’s best friend, Forest Fox, was possessed by a demon and ended up killing off the rest of the clan in their sleep. Takeda and Scorpion put down Fox and now they journey together to find and punish Raiden for allowing this to happen.
Variations: Shirai Ryu, Lasher, Ronin
With Freddy Krueger appearing in Mortal Kombat 9, it only makes sense that his rival would follow. Fittingly, Jason’s inclusion was announced on Friday the 13th. He’ll be one of the four downloadable characters, which will include two returning warriors and another guest. It’s been many, many years since Jason has made an official video game appearance, though there is a fan-made fighting game called TerrorDrome that features all sorts of horror icons duking it out from Freddy and Jason to Pumpkinhead and Maniac Cop. There were two completely different versions of Jason to play as, based on before and after he became undead. See? Jason’s been practicing the whole variations thing for years.
Jason will be DLC as part of the Ultimate Horror Pack.
For more on Jason, check out his history in comics.
The star of the 80s classic will be entering the arena to take on the best prey Earthrealm and Outworld have to offer. The Predator gets around, having starred in crossovers with the DC Universe (took on Batman a whole five times!), Judge Dredd, Aliens, Terminator, Tarzan, and even Archie. If it bleeds you can kill it and Predator is about to meet a couple dozen opponents who know a thing or two about making others bleed.
Predator will be DLC as part of the Predator/Prey Pack.
We made a list of the special guest characters we’d LOVE to see in Mortal Kombat X. We’re hoping at least one of them makes it. Note that Predator is on that list!
You have reached the end of the guide, but don’t worry: we haven’t JUST been covering Mortal Kombat X. No, sir! We have quite a few features about the entire Mortal Kombat franchise on the site:
Our resident Mortal Kombat expert created this guide to the history of secret characters and how to unlock them. It is seriously worth a read or three!
We touched a bit on the new Mortal Kombat X prequel comic in this guide, but if you’re looking for even more brutal comic book goodness, check out our COMPLETE history of Mortal Kombat comics.
And finally, just to show you how much we love this series, we decided to rank every single Mortal Kombat character in franchise history! It’s also a fantastic guide to all of the characters that have appeared in the games!
For way more Mortal Kombat, visit our coverage hub.