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After being a no-show at E3, months of rumors and speculation (of which we reported on here as well), tonight at The Game Awards, as suspected by many, we finally have our first look at Mortal Kombat 11. Although no gameplay was shown, just like Mortal Kombat X‘s reveal trailer, it is safe to assume there are lots of hints to possible gameplay features hidden within the trailer.

First off we have an evil Raiden (the “Punished Raiden” referred to in earlier leaks) fighting against the MK poster boy Scorpion. After a blood-filled, brutal back and forth battle Raiden kills Scorpion only to be then confronted by… Scorpion?? But this time it is clearly the Mortal Kombat 1 Scorpion, rocking his original costume, who quickly dispatches Raiden with a brutal Fatality. We then see a new character, presumably a new Elder God, surrounded by a giant hourglass in an empty space with a heavy time-based motif. It appears that Raiden’s meddling with time in the past two games is finally going to catch up to him. It is safe to assume time travel, and the repercussions of it will play a huge factor in the story, hence OG Scorpion’s appearance. Also, it appears that the two are fighting in the charred remnants of Shang Tsung’s Courtyard, which is a nice touch if so. You can see the Game Awards trailer below.

Within the combat shown there is a heavy focus on weapons and destructible costumes. The latter is most likely a safe bet to be included in the game, as it was in the previous two titles, but the former is more dubious. After Mortal Kombat 4 and the subsequent 3d games’ dabbling in weapon combat, it seems like something NetherRealm would avoid. If anything I would imagine that, just like the MKX reveal trailer, these weapon moves will be included in the character’s normal move sets in some capacity. Seeing Raiden picking up the spear from the ground is most likely confirmation of the return of interactables in the environment, a staple in the previous two MK games, as well as Injustice 1 and 2.

Mortal Kombat 11

Also confirmed is the “Custom Character Variation” system. Which will most likely be MK‘s version of Injustice 2‘s custom character system. Considering how wildly popular it was in Injustice 2  it isn’t surprising to see it here in NRS’ flagship title. One hope is that they remove the custom character-specific moves, but I don’t think that will be happening.

The graphics are absolutely brutal and gorgeous and look like a vast improvement of the visuals in MKX, and if the story mode cutscenes have the same visual quality as this trailer I think we will be in for a real treat. Unfortunately, also just like the MKX reveal trailer, we see the return of poorly fitting rap music accompanying an otherwise wonderful trailer. The music drags you completely out of it, and we wish WB would just pony up for the techno song we all know and love, or at the very least use something a bit more suited to the desolate stylings of MKMortal Kombat is a series drenched in the aesthetic of Image Comics and 90’s edge and is a much better fit for a harder sound.

Mortal Kombat 11

Most surprisingly is the announced global release date of April 23, 2019, with a community reveal event scheduled for January 11th. If the rumors are true, MK11 started development at the same time as MKX  so a release date closer to the reveal trailer would make more sense in context, as that would give MK11 the longest development time of any entry in the series, which is appropriate considering this game will tie in to the franchise’s 25th anniversary celebration. Not to mention that the game will also appear on the Nintendo Switch. Which is going to be interesting to see how Nintendo’s hardware will handle the visually dense title. Perhaps this means we will see a 4K Switch in the future to compensate for higher demanding titles? Time will tell.

Less surprising is the announcement of two pre-orders, that being Shao Khan and access to the closed beta, slated for March 2019. Pre-orders open December 7, 2018.

Overall, it is great to finally have proof of the game’s existence, it looks great, and we are very excited to choose our destiny next year when Mortal Kombat 11 drops.