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Mortal Kombat 1 gameplay details, release date and platforms

omni-man vs. scorpion mortal kombat 1

Mortal Kombat has received a soft reboot with its next installment, Mortal Kombat 1.

The Mortal Kombat franchise has been reimagined on several occasions. Though it exploded to infamy as a hyper-violent alternative to genre king Street Fighter, several poorly received games in the early 2000s necessitated a fresh start with NetherRealm Studios’ Mortal Kombat debut in 2011. Though NetherRealm Studios’ takes on the series have been well-received, the studio will once again hit the reset button.

Mortal Kombat 1 builds upon the series’ gameplay while adding some throwback features. Here’s what the game includes, when it came, and what platforms it is available on.

Mortal Kombat 1 logo with Liu Kang

What’s new in Mortal Kombat 1?

Mortal Kombat 1 features gameplay similar to previous NetherRealm Studios games, but with new “Kameo” characters who perform assists and aerial combos similar to those seen in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon.

Kameo characters are similar to the “Special Partner” characters seen in Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes. Many Kameo characters are not actually part of the playable roster, but can be selected and summoned during fights to perform an attack. They can be used in different ways including powerful throws, extending combos, and counter-attacking:

Another key feature of the game is the new character designs. The game is set to include the series’ most recognizable characters with redesigns based on their classic looks. Most should be immediately recognizable to fans of the series, but characters like “General Shao” are different from their predecessors.

What characters are in Mortal Kombat 1?

Mortal Kombat 1 features 22 playable fighters on its base roster alongside 15 Kameo characters.

The Mortal Kombat 1 roster wasn’t fully confirmed until right before launch, including both playable characters and Kameo characters. There were leaks aplenty during the buildup including trailer release misfires spoiling Motaro and copies of the game circulating before they should have. The roster was ultimately confirmed to include a mix of characters from a variety of Mortal Kombat titles, reimagined for the reboot.

The full list of playable fighters and Kameo characters in the base version of Mortal Kombat 1 includes:

Playable CharacterKameo Character
Johnny CageSonya Blade
Sub-ZeroSub-Zero
ScorpionScorpion
RaidenJax
Liu KangGoro
KitanaKano
MileenaKung Lao
KenshiStryker
RainFrost
SmokeCyrax
Kung LaoSektor
AshrahDarrius
BarakaSareena
GerasShujinko
HavikMotaro
Reptile
Li Mei
General Shao
Reiko
Sindel
Tanya
Nitara

Shang Tsung was also confirmed as a pre-order bonus before the game’s official launch. Though the iconic villain factors heavily into the game’s story, he was only immediately available to those who bought the game early. He is available as a DLC character but is separate from the Kombat Pack.

Shang Tsung pre-order bonus Mortal Kombat 1

How to use Kameo characters and which are best?

Kameos are triggered by pressing R1 on PlayStation, RB on Xbox, and R on Nintendo Switch. Browsing the move list showcases all the moves that a Kameo can perform.

The tag system more or less returns to Mortal Kombat 1 in the form of Kameos. While not a “true” tag system like the two-on-two in Mortal Kombat 9, it still opens up a world of hurt for opponents. Kameos are best used as combo extenders to deal massive damage with a single string. 

Sareena is regarded as the best all-around Kameo character in Mortal Kombat 1. Many players have noted that Sareena is one of the easier Kameo characters to pick up for relatively high-damage combos. While her kit won’t work on experienced players, it’s a great way to learn the capabilities of a Kameo. The best thing to do is experiment with each Kameo to see who works and who doesn’t.

Balance changes may make Sareena less viable over time however, and some specific combinations may be discovered that trump 

How to do Brutalities in Mortal Kombat 1

To perform a Klassic Brutality, press down and triangle on PlayStation controllers, Y on Xbox, or X on Nintendo Switch to finish a match. For other Brutalities, there are special inputs.

Brutalities return to Mortal Kombat 1, and just like in Mortal Kombat 11, the Klassic Brutality is the easiest to pull off. Simply finish a match using a character’s uppercut attack. Unlike in Mortal Kombat 11, this can be done without any other requirements, such as not blocking during the final round.
Other Brutalities can be unlocked by leveling up a character. This can be done either through normal online play or Invasions.

The Not Junk Relic from Johnny Cage’s mansion is great for speeding up this process. Finishing matches with Brutalities and Fatalities also offers bigger experience boons. Each new Brutality unlocked comes with its own commands, so make sure to check the Finishers list in the menu for new Brutalities.

Will Mortal Kombat 1 have DLC?

Mortal Kombat 1 is confirmed to have DLC for both playable characters and Kameo characters. There will be at least six playable characters and five Kameo characters bundled in a new Kombat Pack. This doesn’t include Shang Tsung, who is available as a pre-order bonus but sold separately as DLC post-launch. Also included in the Kombat Pack is a new skin for Johnny Cage skin based on real-life actor Jean-Claude Van Damme.

It is unknown whether other DLC characters may come out after this, but there is plenty of evidence suggesting there will be. Mortal Kombat 11 came out with a Kombat Pack, which was followed by two other DLC bundles in the Aftermath Expansion and Kombat Pack 2. It’s possible this new title could follow suit. 

Who are the DLC fighters in the Kombat Pack for Mortal Kombat 1?

The Kombat Pack is set to add six DLC fighters to Mortal Kombat 1 alongside five Kameo characters. Three of these are guest characters while the others are characters that appear in Mortal Kombat 1’s story mode that weren’t available as playable characters at launch.

Here are the confirmed characters for Mortal Kombat 1’s first Kombat Pack, along with their estimated release dates:

Playable CharacterKameo Character
Omni-Man (November 2023)Tremor (November 2023)
Quan Chi (Winter 2023/2024)Ferra (TBA)
Peacemaker (Winter 2023/2024)Janet Cage (TBA)
Ermac (Spring 2024)Khameleon (TBA)
Homelander (Spring 2024)Mavado (TBA)
Takeda Takahashi (Summer 2024)

Those who purchased Mortal Kombat 1 Premium Edition or preordered the Kombat Pack will have early access to Kombat Pack characters and Kameos before their respective releases. The exact release dates for each character will be revealed closer to their estimated date of arrival.

When does Mortal Kombat 1 come out?

Mortal Kombat 1 came out on September 19, 2023. Those who purchased special editions of the game also received an early access pass that let them start playing on September 14.

This release date was uniform across all platforms and all regions. There was also a beta for those who pre-ordered the game on PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S, which will let players get a taste of the action in August.

What platforms is Mortal Kombat 1 on?

Mortal Kombat 1 is available on all major gaming platforms including PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC, and Nintendo Switch. All platforms saw the game released on the same day.

Unfortunately, Mortal Kombat 1 is not going to be released on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. This is a tad surprising as the past-gen consoles were still seeing new releases like Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon and DLC like Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree before and after the release of Mortal Kombat 1. This is doubly the case given how the game still landed on Nintendo Switch, a platform that has a large install base but struggled to actually run the game.

Does Mortal Kombat 1 have rollback?

Yes, Mortal Kombat 1 supports rollback netcode for online play.

Fighting game fans get very wound up over rollback netcode, and for good reason. Rollback netcode makes online fighting games more stable and responsive, avoiding the dropped inputs that fighting games long struggled with online. It’s an incredibly important part of the experience and the Mortal Kombat franchise has included it since Mortal Kombat X.

Unfortunately, rollback netcode can’t fix everything. Mortal Kombat 1’s Nintendo Switch port has experienced performance issues all around. Many fans are hoping that future patches put Mortal Kombat 1 on par with the serviceable performance rate of Mortal Kombat 11 but even then, players who are wanting an ideal online experience should look to other platforms.

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Written by Steven Rondina

Steven Rondina has been playing video games since he was a toddler and appreciates every genre out there. He has earned the platinum trophy in every Soulsborne game, is regularly Master Ball-ranked on the competitive Pokemon ladder, and has spent thousands of hours missing shots on Dust 2.

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