At today’s Summer Game Fest event, host Geoff Keighley introduced Mortal Kombat 1, the upcoming fighter from NetherRealm Studios and Warner Bros. Games. The presentation ended with a release date announcement and a long discussion with series creator Ed Boon.
Fans won’t have to wait long to get their hands on the fighter. According to the trailer, Mortal Kombat 1 arrives later this year, on September 19. Ed Boon indicated the studio’s plans have been difficult to keep secret. With the game so close to its release and with anticipation building, one can understand that difficulty.
Gameplay showed a variety of favorite Mortal Kombat characters returning after past engagements. The new mechanic of note is a ‘cameo’ system. Players start by choosing their main character from the available roster. Then they can add a second character from a separate list of cameo characters, which often includes characters not available in a fuller capacity. For instance, the video showed a brief glimpse at Goro.
Boon indicated they wanted to include characters from the very early stages of the franchise. One returning favorite is Johnny Cage, who appeared in Mortal Kombat from the very beginning. Boon shared that in some respects, Mortal Kombat began 30 years ago with the idea to make ‘Jean-Claude Van Damme: The Video Game.’ He was pleased to announce that the actor appears in the video game and provides his voice work. Previous attempts to make that happen have come close but fell apart in the end.
While many players are likely to welcome Van Damme’s presence, the cameo system is clearly the star of the show. It should change a lot about how rounds play, allowing player creativity to direct the flow of fights. It is not quite a ‘tag team’ approach, but cameo characters can contribute to combos.
Besides the cameos, the gameplay footage showed some breathtaking environments where the fights occur, with pool floats, fireworks, lush jungles, and more. They seem less grim than some of what the series has seen in the past, but appropriate too. This is a ‘reboot’ for the series, a continuation of the events at the end of the previous game that sees familiar characters reworked in new roles, with new relationships.
Boon promised more reveals and information in the months to come, ahead of the game’s release.