After years of near-silence, Mortal Kombat 1 suddenly appeared to NetherRealm Studios' fanbase. The game is only a few months away now, and will receive its first gameplay demonstration as part of the 2023 Summer Game Fest. Mortal Kombat 1's name came as a surprise to those who had been anticipating a Mortal Kombat 12, but its nature as a reboot was expected. Mortal Kombat 11, and its Aftermath story expansion, ended in a place where it would be difficult to do anything other than explore a brand new Mortal Kombat timeline, courtesy of the newly ascended Fire God Liu Kang.
However, just because fans knew one of Mortal Kombat 1's core concepts doesn't mean they know the whole picture yet. Aside from Mortal Kombat 1 introducing Kameo Fighters, details on the game are scarce. Seeing it in action will reveal a lot, and could soothe or justify fans' fears for the title. MK1 is built on the backs of two of its franchise's biggest games, and understanding the pros and cons of Mortal Kombat X and Mortal Kombat 11 could help the latest entry excel.
Mortal Kombat 1 Shouldn't Go Crazy With Currencies
One of the biggest mistakes that Mortal Kombat 11 made came in its efforts to adopt live-service elements. This isn't unheard of for fighting games, but Mortal Kombat 11 was uncharacteristically clumsy in its execution. Instead of simply having a free currency and a premium currency, MK11 went overboard with many currencies. Most had nothing to do with premium items, and what did could actually be earned in-game. As long as Mortal Kombat 1 streamlines the system, it could get away with a similar setup.
Players Love Options in Mortal Kombat
Part of MK11's currency confusion is tied to the sheer number of items players could obtain. Skins, now including color palettes, and specific pieces of armor, could be used to customize player characters. This was an extension of the revamped Variation system, which was upgraded from MKX's three Variations to many potential custom ones. Developer statements have implied that Variations will not return in MK1, but players should still be able to customize their fighters and Kameo partners' appearance, if not more.
Keep Alternate Finishers Around in MK1
A major draw for Mortal Kombat is its Fatalities, but there have historically been more finishing moves than that. Just in Mortal Kombat X and 11, there are Brutalities, Stage Brutalities, Stage Fatalities, Quitalities, Faction Kills in MKX, and Friendships in MK11. Their variety helps keep things fresh, provides alternative gameplay goals to get Brutalities and Friendships, rewards online participation with Faction Kills, and even discourages bad behavior through Quitalities. Regressing to basic Fatalities again is out of the question, and MK1 could try additional finishers like Animalities and Kameo Fatalities.
Do Something Interesting With Mortal Kombat's Krypt
Mortal Kombat's regular single-player attractions include a story mode and Arcade Towers, but a more understated staple is the Krypt. Used to unlock content with resources acquired elsewhere, MKX and MK11 had especially ambitious Krypts. MKX featured a first-person adventure mode, while MK11 surprised fans with a 3D action-adventure set in the classic Shang Tsung's Island from MK's early days. Exciting as that was, MKX's quick time events and MK11's use of repopulating random rewards made them lose momentum.
It's tough to say what MK1 could do with its Krypt, but NetherRealm Studios should come up with something new and exciting while avoiding the pitfalls of the past. If any or all of these concerns are considered and implemented, Mortal Kombat 1 could turn out to be a pretty special experience for fans of the franchise.
Mortal Kombat 1 will be released on September 19 for PC, PS5, Switch, and Xbox Series X/S.