Mortal Kombat 1 has officially been announced and it could save the series

Mortal Kombat 1 key art
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Mortal Kombat 1 has been officially announced by Warner Bros. with a gruesome cinematic announcement trailer and is expected to launch on September 19. Pre-orders go live tomorrow (May 19) and grant access to Shang Tsung. 

It was revealed back in February during an internal investor's call that Mortal Kombat 12 was coming. Still, now it's been properly shown off to be Mortal Kombat 1 which takes place directly after the events of Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath, with the fall of Kronika's new era. 

The trailer shows Fire God Liu Kang after his victory over the Titan of time, having reforged the likes of EarthRealm, and, presumably, Outworld, giving people free rein for peace and war. We've got our first looks at series veterans, including Kung Lao, Kitana, Mileena, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, and Shang Tsung, all of which sport a considerably more youthful look than they did in the previous game Mortal Kombat 11 in 2019. 

From the snippets of gameplay shown, it's looking as though Mortal Kombat 1 will integrate more grit and gore into the title than we saw with the more colorful and flashy predecessor. The fatality showcased at the end of the video sets a balance of the brutality of Mortal Kombat X with the ferocity of the Mortal Kombat reboot from 2011. 

The visual language of the character design has taken some clear inspiration from the Mortal Kombat movie released in 2021. It's particularly apparent with Shang Tsung, shown at the end, who bares a striking resemblance to Chin Han from that film as opposed to the classic Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa likeness in the previous game. Overall, it's a stunning look and makes for what could be a much more fast-paced and fluid game than any of the NetherRealm Mortal Kombat titles released to date. 

There isn't too much of a wait now for Mortal Kombat 1, as it's scheduled to hit stores in around four months. The trailer hasn't confirmed which engine the title will be running on, but it's likely to be Unreal Engine 5, given its level of visual fidelity. The closed beta for those who pre-orders is only available for those who game on the PS5 and Xbox Series X, which suggests that this title, much like the upcoming Tekken 8, will skip previous generation consoles. The game has been confirmed for the Nintendo Switch, though. 

It's a truly blessed year to be a fan of some of the best fighting games. Mortal Kombat 1 will have stiff competition with the likes of Street Fighter 6 and the aforementioned Tekken 8, all releasing in a similar time period. I can't wait to jump back into one of my favorite franchises of all time and see if the new era for the series is all it's been hyped to be. 

Aleksha McLoughlin

Aleksha McLoughlin is an experienced hardware writer. She was previously the Hardware Editor for TechRadar Gaming until September 2023. During this time, she looked after buying guides and wrote hardware reviews, news, and features. She has also contributed hardware content to the likes of PC Gamer, Trusted Reviews, Dexerto, Expert Reviews, and Android Central. When she isn't working, you'll often find her in mosh pits at metal gigs and festivals or listening to whatever new black and death metal has debuted that week.