Mortal Kombat 12 details including why it’s named Mortal Kombat 1

Sub-Zero in Mortal Kombat 1

Mortal Kombat is set to receive a reboot, but why is the game named “Mortal Kombat 1” instead of Mortal Kombat 12? There’s actually a definitive answer.

Mortal Kombat’s reset button has been pressed a few times over. The next game will officially mark the second soft reboot of the series, but in between those have been plenty of radical new takes ranging from disastrous platformer Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero to the abandonment of the arcade market with Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance. Mortal Kombat 1 is set to be a reboot in every way, restarting the story and introducing an interesting new style of gameplay.

But why does the game have this new branding? And will there be a Mortal Kombat 12? Here’s all there is to know.

Mortal Kombat 1 release date

Is there a Mortal Kombat 12 coming out?

Mortal Kombat 12 is set to come out on September 19, 2023 but the game was rebranded as Mortal Kombat 1. Much like the 2011 reboot of the series simply titled “Mortal Kombat,” this reset is made explicit in the name.

Whether this new numbering scheme will stick is uncertain. 2011’s Mortal Kombat was immediately followed by Mortal Kombat X, then by Mortal Kombat 11. The next installment of the series could hypothetically be Mortal Kombat 2, Mortal Kombat 13, or could have the numbering dropped entirely as was the case in the 2000s.

Why is Mortal Kombat 12 called Mortal Kombat 1?

Mortal Kombat 12 was rebranded as Mortal Kombat 1 due to the time travel-based story of Mortal Kombat 11, which ends with the universe being reset.

The main boss of Mortal Kombat 11 is Kronika, a Titan with time and space powers. The game’s story leads to the revelation that the timeline has been reset on multiple occasions by Kronika. This leads to a climactic battle between Kronika and Fire God Liu Kang, an amalgamation of Liu Kang and Raiden. Though Fire God Liu Kang wins the fight, Kronika erases the timeline to set up the events of the Aftermath Expansion DLC.

The Aftermath Expansion sees Fire God Liu Kang try and rebuild the universe with the help of Shang Tsung. Shang Tsung betrays him and steals a number of fighters’ souls and faces Fire God Liu Kang to decide the universe’s “final destiny.” 

Canonically, Liu Kang defeats Shang Tsung and erases him from history. From there he travels back in time and visits the Wu Shi Academy and begins training the Great Kung Lao, setting the Mortal Kombat universe on a path similar to the one fans are familiar with but with Fire God Liu Kang replacing Raiden as the defender of Earthrealm.

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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. His work has previously been featured by Bleacher Report and The Washington Post, and he was an Assistant Editor at You can follow him on Twitter / X at @srondina.

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