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Ready to test your might? The new Mortal Kombat has arrived

Choose your fighter!
Warner Bros. Games
Choose your fighter!

This article is meant to be read to the beat of the rave-era masterpiece "Techno Syndrome" by The Immortals — also known as the Mortal Kombat theme song from the 1995 film. Please hit play below:

OK, quick battle cry before we get into it: MORTAL KOMBAAAAAAAAAAAT!

What is it? Mortal Kombat 1.

  • This week, Warner Bros. Games released the trailer for Mortal Kombat 1, the latest installment in the beloved video game franchise. Unsurprisingly, the violence and gore has only intensified since the early days of millennials playing this in their under-supervised friends' basements. So a warning: this trailer contains graphic depiction of violence.

What's the big deal?

  • It's essentially a reboot of a reboot. A whole new world. And the trailer reveals what fire god Liu Kang has waiting for us in the new Mortal Kombat universe: classic fireball projectiles, deadly choreography and shapeshifter abilities that promise some truly gruesome fatalities for any player who dares test their might.
  • So it's actually Mortal Kombat 12, but if you played Mortal Kombat 11, you kind of get why this one is called "1." There's a whole time travel element at play that came in even earlier in the game series. Gavin Jasper at Den of Geek gets into a bit of that backstory here:

Those eyes.
/ Warner Bros. Games
/
Warner Bros. Games
Those eyes.

So what's this game all about?

  • This game takes place in the present-but-not-really-present time. This is supposed to be an idealized world now: everyone seems to be working together in harmony (Kitana and Mileena are princesses/siblings, Sub-Zero and Scorpion are a team, etc.). The conflict begins when sorcerer Shang Tsung appears.
  • It features the return of Mortal Kombat icons like Kung Lao, Johnny Cage, Kenshi, Smoke, Rain, Li Mei, Tanya, Baraka, Geras, Reptile, Ashrah, Havik, Sindel and Nitara (a personal favorite).
  • Early access for Mortal Kombat 1 begins on Thursday for Premium Edition members, and Sept. 19 for standard players. Crossplay between consoles is still in the works but you should be able to play with friends on the same system on the launch date.


What are fans saying?

  • Aside from being annoyed about having to wait for crossplay, fans are pumped about the graphics and the storyline — but mostly, about the very creative and horrific ways they get to see these characters die on screen.
  • You can play Mortal Kombat 1 on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X S, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

Learn more:

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Lauren Hodges is an associate producer for All Things Considered. She joined the show in 2018 after seven years in the NPR newsroom as a producer and editor. She doesn't mind that you used her pens, she just likes them a certain way and asks that you put them back the way you found them, thanks. Despite years working on interviews with notable politicians, public figures, and celebrities for NPR, Hodges completely lost her cool when she heard RuPaul's voice and was told to sit quietly in a corner during the rest of the interview. She promises to do better next time.