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Mortal Kombat

Video game series

Top 10 Mortal Kombat related articles

Mortal Kombat
Official franchise logo
First releaseMortal Kombat
October 8, 1992
Latest releaseMortal Kombat 11
April 23, 2019

Mortal Kombat is an American media franchise centered on a series of video games, originally developed by Midway Games in 1992. The development of the first game was originally based on an idea that Ed Boon and John Tobias had of making a video game starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, but as that idea fell through, a fantasy-themed fighting game was created instead, nonetheless paying homage to him with movie character Johnny Cage, whose initials and personal style resemble Van Damme's. Mortal Kombat was the first fighting game to introduce a secret fighter, reached if the player fulfilled a set of requirements.

The original game has spawned many sequels and spin-offs consisting of several action-adventure games, as well as a comic book series and a card game. Movie producer Lawrence Kasanoff licensed the rights to the game in the early 1990s and produced the first movie of the franchise. Kasanoff also produced the second movie, animated TV series, live-action TV series movies, the first one million platinum-selling album and a live-action tour. Mortal Kombat has become one of the most successful fighting franchises in the history of video games and one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time.

The series has a reputation for high levels of graphic violence, including, most notably, its Fatalities (finishing moves allowing the player to finish off their defeated opponent). Controversies surrounding Mortal Kombat, in part, led to the creation of the Entertainment Software Rating Board video game rating system. Early games in this series were also noted for their realistic digitized sprites and an extensive use of palette swapping to create new characters. Following Midway's bankruptcy, the Mortal Kombat development team was acquired by Warner Bros. Entertainment and reestablished as NetherRealm Studios.

Mortal Kombat Intro articles: 13


Finishing moves

Kung Lao's "Razor's Edge" Fatality being performed on Mileena in 2011's Mortal Kombat. NetherRealm Studios' Ed Boon described it as possibly the most painful-looking finishing move in the series yet[1]
I think [Mortal Kombat] represents the difference in philosophy. [....] So in Street Fighter when you're playing it's the moment to moment gameplay that should be the best, whether you win or lose doesn't really matter. Whereas in Mortal Kombat the fighting and playing is just a pathway to get to the result – it's the Fatality you want to see and you almost want to skip the fighting bit and get to the Fatality because that is the result.[2]

Street Fighter producer Yoshinori Ono

[3] The basic Fatalities are finishing moves that allow the victorious characters to end a match in a special way by murdering their defeated, defenseless opponents in a gruesome manner, usually in the predefined ways exclusive for the given character. The only exception from this is Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, which instead features the Kreate-A-Fatality, allowing the players to perform their own Fatalities by conducting a series of violent moves chosen from a pool that is common for all characters.[4][5]

Other finishing moves in the various Mortal Kombat games include Animalities (introduced in Mortal Kombat 3) turning a victor into an animal to violently finish off the opponent;[6] Brutality (introduced in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3) which is bashing an opponent into pieces with a long combo of hits; and Stage Fatalities/Death Traps (introduced in the original Mortal Kombat Pit Stage where the victor can uppercut their opponent off of the platform into a bed of spikes below, and later made more difficult in Mortal Kombat II by requiring specific and different button sequences to be pressed) utilizing parts of certain stages to execute a lethal finishing move (such as a pool of acid). Mortal Kombat: Deception added the Hara-Kiri, a self-Fatality allowing the losers to engage in a suicidal finishing move (enabling a possible race between both players to see if the winning player can finish off the losing player before the losing character can kill himself or herself first).[3][7]

There are also some non-violent finishing moves in the series. Friendship moves, introduced in Mortal Kombat II resulting in displays of friendship towards the enemy instead of slaughter,[8] were made as a comical response to the attention the series gathered due to its violent content.[3] Also introduced in MKII was the Babality, which turns the opponent into a baby and is humorous in the same vein.[8][6]

Mortal Kombat Gameplay articles: 3


The series takes place in a fictional universe consisting of eighteen surviving realms which, according to in-game backstories, were created by the Elder Gods. The Mortal Kombat: Deception manual described six of the realms as: "Earthrealm, home to such legendary heroes as Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Sonya Blade, Johnny Cage, and Jax Briggs, and also under the protection of the Thunder God Raiden; Netherrealm, the fiery depths of which are inhospitable to all but the most vile, a realm of demons and shadowy warriors such as Quan Chi and Noob Saibot; Outworld, a realm of constant strife which Emperor Shao Kahn claims as his own; Seido, the Realm of Order, whose inhabitants prize structure and order above all else; the Realm of Chaos, whose inhabitants do not abide by any rules whatsoever, and where constant turmoil and change are worshiped; and Edenia, which is known for its beauty, artistic expression, and the longevity of its inhabitants."[9][10] The Elder Gods decreed that the denizens of one realm could only conquer another realm by defeating the defending realm's greatest warriors in ten consecutive Mortal Kombat tournaments.

The first Mortal Kombat game takes place in Earthrealm (Earth) where seven different warriors with their own reasons for entering participated in the tournament with the prize being the continued freedom of their realm under threat of a takeover by Outworld. Among the established warriors were Liu Kang, Johnny Cage, and Sonya Blade. With the help of the thunder god Raiden, the Earthrealm warriors were victorious and Liu Kang became the new champion of Mortal Kombat.[11] In Mortal Kombat II, unable to deal with his minion Shang Tsung's failure, Outworld Emperor Shao Kahn lures the Earthrealm warriors to Outworld, where Liu Kang eventually defeats Shao Kahn. By the time of Mortal Kombat 3, Shao Kahn merged Edenia with his empire and revived its former queen Sindel in Earthrealm, combining it with Outworld as well. He attempts to invade Earthrealm, but is ultimately defeated by Liu Kang once more. After the Kahn's defeat, Edenia was freed from his grasp and returned to a peaceful realm, ruled by Princess Kitana. The following game, Mortal Kombat 4, features the fallen elder god Shinnok attempting to conquer the realms and kill Raiden. However, he is also defeated by Liu Kang.

In Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, the evil sorcerers Quan Chi and Shang Tsung join forces to conquer the realms. By Mortal Kombat: Deception, after several fights, the sorcerers emerge victorious; having killed most of Earthrealm's warriors until Raiden steps forth to oppose them. The Dragon King Onaga, who had been freed by the warrior Reptile at the end of Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance,[12] had deceived Shujinko into searching for six pieces of Kamidogu,[10] the source of Onaga's power. Onaga confronted the alliance of Raiden, Shang Tsung, and Quan Chi to obtain Quan Chi's amulet,[13] the final piece of his power. Only a few warriors remained to combat the Dragon King and his forces. Shujinko eventually triumphed over Onaga and removed his threat from the realms.[14]

In Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, the titular catastrophe begins. Centuries before the first Mortal Kombat, Queen Delia foretold the realms would be destroyed because the power of all of the realms' warriors would rise to such greatness that it would overwhelm and destabilize the realms, triggering a destructive chain of events. King Argus had his sons, Taven and Daegon put into incubation and so one day they can be awakened to save the realms from Armageddon by defeating a firespawn known as Blaze. In the end however, Shao Kahn is the one who defeats Blaze, causing Armageddon.[15]

The crossover Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe does not share continuity with the other games. After the simultaneous defeats of both Shao Kahn and the alien warlord Darkseid in the DC Universe causes both villains to fuse into the entity "Dark Kahn", both the Mortal Kombat and DC Universes begin to merge. This brings the warriors and heroes into conflicts after suffering bouts of uncontrollable rage. The heroes and villains of both universes repeatedly battle each other, believing each other to be responsible for the catastrophe, until only Raiden and Superman remain. The two confront Dark Kahn and team up to defeat their common foe. After Dark Kahn's defeat, the two realms defuse, with Shao Kahn and Darkseid trapped in each other's universes to face eternal imprisonment.

In the 2011 Mortal Kombat reboot, the battle of Armageddon culminated in only two survivors: Shao Kahn and Raiden. On the verge of death by the former's hand, the latter sent visions to his past self in a last ditch attempt to prevent this outcome. Upon receiving the visions, the past Raiden attempts to alter the timeline to avert Armageddon amidst the tenth Mortal Kombat tournament. While he succeeds in preventing Shao Kahn's victory with help from the Elder Gods, he is forced to kill Liu Kang in self-defense and loses most of his allies to Queen Sindel; leaving Earthrealm vulnerable to Shinnok and Quan Chi's machinations.

Mortal Kombat X sees Shinnok and Quan Chi enacting their plan, leading an army of undead revenants of those that were killed in Shao Kahn's invasion of Earthrealm. A team of warriors led by Raiden, Johnny Cage, Kenshi Takahashi, and Sonya Blade oppose them, and in the ensuing battle, Shinnok is imprisoned within his amulet and various warriors are resurrected and freed from his control, though Quan Chi escapes. Twenty-five years later, the sorcerer resurfaces alongside the insectoid D'Vorah to facilitate Shinnok's return. A vengeful Scorpion kills Quan Chi, but fails to stop him from freeing Shinnok. To combat him, Cassie Cage leads a team composed of the next generation of Earthrealm's heroes in defeating him. With Shinnok and Quan Chi defeated, Liu Kang and Kitana's revenants assume control of the Netherrealm while Raiden taps into Shinnok's amulet.

Mortal Kombat 11 sees the architect of time and Shinnok's Mother, Kronika, working to restart the timeline following her son's defeat and Raiden's tampering with her work. In doing so, she brings past versions of the realm's heroes to the present, aligning herself with some while the rest work to defeat her. After nearly killing Liu Kang a second time, Raiden discovers Kronika has manipulated them into fighting across multiple timelines as she fears their combined power. Despite her interference and attacks by her minions, Raiden gives Liu Kang his power, turning him into a fire god so he can defeat Kronika and start history anew.

Mortal Kombat Plot articles: 15


Cosplayers of Kitana, Reptile, and Sonya Blade at Dragon Con 2012

Through its iterations, the series has featured scores of player characters, some of them becoming mainstays, such as Baraka, Cassie Cage, Cyrax, Ermac, Fujin, Goro, Jade, Jax, Johnny Cage, Kabal, Kano, Kenshi, Kintaro, Kitana, Kung Lao, Liu Kang, Mileena, Motaro, Nightwolf, Noob Saibot, Quan Chi, Raiden, Rain, Reptile, Scorpion, Sektor, Shang Tsung, Shao Kahn, Sheeva, Shinnok, Sindel, Skarlet, Smoke, Sonya Blade, Stryker, Sub-Zero and Tanya. Among them are Earth's humans and cyborgs, good and evil deities, and denizens of Outworld and other realms.

Furthermore, starting with Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, which featured several DC Universe heroes and villains, all subsequent games have included guest characters such as Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, Kratos from God of War franchise (exclusively for Play Station 3), Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th franchise, the Alien from Alien franchise, Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise, the Predator from Predator franchise, the Terminator from Terminator franchise, RoboCop from RoboCop franchise, Spawn from Image Comics, John Rambo from Rambo franchise and the Joker from DC Comics, who was previously in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe.

Mortal Kombat Characters articles: 56


Release timeline
1992Mortal Kombat
1993Mortal Kombat II
1995Mortal Kombat 3
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
1996Mortal Kombat Trilogy
1997Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero
Mortal Kombat 4
1999Mortal Kombat Gold
2000Mortal Kombat: Special Forces
2001Mortal Kombat Advance
2002Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance
2003Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition
2004Mortal Kombat: Deception
2005Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks
2006Mortal Kombat: Armageddon
Mortal Kombat: Unchained
2007Ultimate Mortal Kombat
2008Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe
2011Mortal Kombat
Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection
2012Mortal Kombat: Komplete Edition
2015Mortal Kombat X
2016Mortal Kombat XL
2019Mortal Kombat 11
2020Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath
Mortal Kombat 11: Ultimate


Mortal Kombat started development in 1991 with only four people: Ed Boon (programming), John Tobias (art and story), John Vogel (graphics), and Dan Forden (sound design).[16][17] According to Mortal Kombat actors Richard Divizio and Daniel Pesina, the first game actually began as a ninja-themed project by John Tobias (a young new employee of Midway Games at the time) and them as well as Carlos Pesina, however their pitch to Tobias' boss Ed Boon was rejected by the entire management of Midway.[18] Midway was then abortively approached to create a video game adaptation of the then-upcoming 1992 film Universal Soldier, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme,[19] and Tobias imagined a fighting game featuring a digitized version of Van Damme.[20] Intending to make a game "a lot more hard edge, a little bit more serious, a little bit more like Enter the Dragon or Bloodsport" than contemporary cartoonish fighting games,[21] Tobias and Boon decided to continue their project even after the deal to use the Bloodsport license fell through.[22] The first of Mortal Kombat characters,[18] Johnny Cage (Daniel Pesina), became "a spoof on the whole Van Damme situation."[19] Divizio credits himself with convincing Tobias to go back to the original idea and trying again.[18]

It was the success of Capcom's Street Fighter II: The World Warrior that finally convinced Midway Games to let the team produce their own arcade fighting game (the genre chosen by Tobias for his game as to let him use as large digitized sprites as possible[23]), but there was not much influence by Street Fighter II on the actual project. According to Tobias, who cited 1984's Karate Champ as an actual inspiration,[24] they even intentionally worked on making a game different than Capcom's title in every way.[23] Besides the digitized characters that differentiated it from its contemporaries' hand-drawn ones, one stark difference was in the very high amount of blood and violence. Capcom's senior director of communications later compared Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat by asking if the interviewer preferred the "precision and depth" of Street Fighter or the "gore and comedy" of Mortal Kombat and also stated that the Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat rivalry was considered similar to the Coke and Pepsi rivalry in the 1990s.[25]

Mortal Kombat didn't rely on just good looks and gore for its success. Although the intense gore was a great way to attract attention, Mortal Kombat offered another side – an often-overlooked side – that kept people coming back for more: its storyline, including the uniquely different kind of gameplay as far as the fighting system within itself.[26]


John Tobias said that his inspirations for the game's story and characters came from Chinese mythology and some of the stories and rumored events about the Shaolin monks.[19] Regarding the film Big Trouble in Little China, Tobias wrote that although this movie "kind of Americanized my obsession for supernatural kung fu films from China, it was not my biggest influence.[27] My biggest influences came from Tsui Hark films -- Zu Warriors & The Swordsman. We had to get them from bootleggers in Chicago's Chinatown."[28] In 1995, he said about their general process of designing characters for the series: "First we figure out the type, like she or he and will she/he be big or small. Then we'll get the theme of the characters, like ninja or robot. Then we'll design the costume, and while doing that we create the storyline and how s/he fits into the universe. Then we'll find an actor that kinda resembles our character."[29] Tobias' writing and artistic input on the series ended around 2000[23] following the release of Mortal Kombat 4. In 2012, he said: "I knew exactly what I was going to do with a future story. A few years ago I [wrote] a sort of sequel to the first MK film and an advancement to the game's mythological roots."[30]

The title Mortal Kombat was the idea of pinball designer Steve Ritchie,[31] following difficulties trademarking the original title of Mortal Combat.[24] Since then, the series often intentionally misspells various words with the letter "K" in place of "C" for the hard C sound. According to Boon, during the MK games' development they usually spell such words correctly, only making the substitution when one of the developers suggests it.[32]


The characters of the original Mortal Kombat and its initial sequels were created using digitized sprites mostly based on filmed actors, as opposed to hand-drawn graphics.[33] Early Mortal Kombat games were known for their extensive use of palette swapping, a practice of recoloring certain sprites to make them appear as different characters, which was used for the ninja characters. In fact, many of the most popular characters have originated as simple palette swaps.[34] In the first game, the male ninja fighters were essentially the same character; only the colors of their attire, fighting stance, and special techniques mark a difference.[34] Later games added further ninjas based on the same model, as well as several female ninja color swap characters initially also using just one base model. All of them gradually became very different characters in the following installments of the series. Eventually, Mortal Kombat 4 brought the series into 3D, replacing the digitized fighters of previous games with polygon models animated using motion capture technology.[35]

Hidden content

It made the claims that this game might be influencing real life behavior seem fairly absurd, but all of the secrets and hidden nuances of the title helped to bolster its notoriety. While the first game featured one hidden character, the green ninja Reptile, Mortal Kombat II had three. Before long, there would be rumors swirling about "Nudalities," "Animalities," all manner of secret characters, and even hidden games.[4]


Mortal Kombat included secret characters, secret games, and other Easter eggs. Popular characters Reptile and Jade were originally introduced as hidden enemies, becoming playable after returning in subsequent games. There is also a hidden game of Pong in Mortal Kombat II,[36] and Mortal Kombat 3 includes a hidden game of Galaga.[6] Many extras in the series have only been accessible through very challenging, demanding, and sometimes coincidental requirements. The Sega Mega Drive/Genesis versions contain a unique finisher, named "Fergality".[37] The Sega CD version also contained an additional code (known as the "Dad's Code"), which changed the names of the fighters to that of characters from the classic BBC comedy series Dad's Army.[38]

Some Easter eggs originated from in-jokes between members of the development team. One example is "Toasty", which found its way into the game in the form of a small image of sound designer Dan Forden, who would appear in the corner of the screen during gameplay (after performing an uppercut) and yell the phrase "Toasty!", originating from him saying "you're toast".[39] This egg was also the key to unlocking the hidden character Smoke when it happened in the Portal stage in Mortal Kombat II.[36] In Mortal Kombat 4, Forden would say "Toasty! 3D!" after Scorpion did his burn Fatality, a reference to the fact that it is the first 3D game of the series.[40] "Toasty!" is also found in Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, appearing randomly after the character pulls off a chain of hits, though the picture of Forden was removed for that title,[41] but brought back for the 2011 Mortal Kombat game. Yet another private joke was the hidden character Noob Saibot, who has appeared in various versions of the game starting with Mortal Kombat II. The character's name derived from two of the series' creators' surnames, Ed Boon and John Tobias, spelled backwards.[42] In addition, a counter for ERMACS on the game's audits screen (ERMACS being short for error macros), was interpreted by some players as a reference to a hidden character in the original Mortal Kombat. The development team decided to turn the rumor into reality, introducing Ermac in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 as an unlockable secret character.[43][44] The character Mokap, introduced in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, is a tribute to Carlos Pesina, who played Raiden in MK and MKII and has served as a motion capture actor for subsequent titles in the series.[45]

Mortal Kombat Development articles: 39


Overview over titles and versions in the Mortal Kombat series
Title Release Original platform Ports Notes
Mortal Kombat 1992 Arcade Various The original Mortal Kombat game.
Mortal Kombat II 1993 Arcade Various Second main game. Sequel to Mortal Kombat.
Mortal Kombat 3 1995 Arcade Various Third main game. Sequel to Mortal Kombat II.
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 1995 Arcade Various An update to Mortal Kombat 3.
Mortal Kombat Trilogy 1996 PS1, N64 Saturn, Windows, Game.com, R-Zone A game based on the MK3 engine, incorporating all the characters in the series up to that point.
Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero 1997 PS1, N64 N/A First of three spin-off games. An action-adventure game starring Sub-Zero. Prequel to the first Mortal Kombat.
Mortal Kombat 4 1997 Arcade PS1, N64, Windows Fourth main game. Sequel to Mortal Kombat 3. Last game to appear in arcades.
Mortal Kombat Gold 1999 Dreamcast N/A An update to Mortal Kombat 4, made for consoles only.
Mortal Kombat: Special Forces 2000 PS1 N/A Second of three spin-off games. An action-adventure spin-off starring Jax. Prequel to the first Mortal Kombat.
Mortal Kombat Advance 2001 GBA N/A A port of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3.
Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance 2002 PS2, Xbox, GCN GBA Fifth main game. Sequel to Mortal Kombat 4.
Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition 2003 GBA N/A An update to Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance.
Mortal Kombat: Deception 2004 PS2, Xbox, GCN N/A Sixth main game. Sequel to Deadly Alliance.
Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks 2005 PS2, Xbox N/A Third of three spin-off games. An action-adventure spin-off starring Liu Kang and Kung Lao, set in an alternate timeline between Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat II.
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon 2006 PS2, Xbox Wii (2007) Seventh main game. Sequel to Deception, and the final title of the original main series.
Mortal Kombat: Unchained 2006 PSP N/A A port of Deception.
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 2007 NDS N/A Another port of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3.
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe 2008 PS3, Xbox 360 N/A Eighth main game. A non-canonical crossover title set in an alternate timeline between Mortal Kombat II and Mortal Kombat 3.
Mortal Kombat 2011 PS3, Xbox 360 PS Vita (2012), Windows (2013) Ninth main game. Reboot story combining plots from the original Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat II, and Mortal Kombat 3. Windows version released as Mortal Kombat: Komplete Edition containing all DLCs.
Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection 2011 PS3, Xbox 360 Windows (2012) Compilation of Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat II and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 ports.
Mortal Kombat X 2015 PS4, Xbox One,[46] Windows Android, iOS Tenth main game. Sequel to 2011's Mortal Kombat. An upgraded version containing all DLCs released as Mortal Kombat XL.
Mortal Kombat 11 2019 PS4, Xbox One,[47] Windows Switch, PS5 (2020), Xbox Series X/S (2020) Eleventh main game. Sequel to Mortal Kombat X. An expansion titled Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath was released in 2020. An enhanced version released as Mortal Kombat 11: Ultimate Edition containing all DLCs.

Main series

The original Mortal Kombat game was released by Midway and Williams for arcade during October 1992, having since been ported to several console and home computer systems by Probe Software and released by Acclaim Entertainment.[48] The sequel, Mortal Kombat II, was released for arcades in 1993, featuring an increased roster and improved graphics and gameplay, then ported to the numerous home systems in 1993-1995 by Probe Entertainment and Sculptured Software, released again by Acclaim; it was re-released in 2007 for the PlayStation 3.[49] Mortal Kombat 3 followed in 1995 in both arcade and home versions.[50] MK3 got two updates which expanded the number of characters and other features from the game: Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, published that same year,[51] and Mortal Kombat Trilogy the next year.[52] The following game, Mortal Kombat 4, was released in 1997, and marked the jump of the series to 3D rendered graphics instead of the series' previously staple digitized 2D graphics. Mortal Kombat 4 was ported to the PlayStation, Nintendo 64 and Microsoft Windows. Its update titled Mortal Kombat Gold was released exclusively for the Dreamcast in 1999.

While to this point Mortal Kombat games were only titled with their installment number, starting with Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance in 2002, the series' naming scheme changed to favor the use of sub-titles instead.[53] It was also at this point that the series started being targeted at consoles only, with Mortal Kombat 4 being the last game in the series to ever be released for the arcades. Deadly Alliance was released initially for the Xbox, PlayStation 2 and GameCube.[54][55][56] Deadly Alliance was also the first Mortal Kombat game to feature fully 3D gameplay, where up to Mortal Kombat 4 the gameplay had stayed in a 2D plane; this trend would continue for the following two games. The next sequel was 2004's Mortal Kombat: Deception, released for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube.[57][58][59] Its port for the PlayStation Portable, Mortal Kombat: Unchained, was developed by Just Games Interactive in 2006.[60] Mortal Kombat: Armageddon was published in the same year for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and in 2007 for the Wii.[61][62][63] In 2008, Midway released the Mortal Kombat Kollection, an anthology of the three then-most recent titles to the main franchise: Mortal Kombat: Deception, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, and Mortal Kombat: Armageddon.[64]

Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, a crossover fighting game between the Mortal Kombat franchise and DC Comics, was released in 2008 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.[65][66] In 2013, Boon named a crossover game between Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter as his dream crossover game.[67] In 2014, Boon said his team was in touch with Capcom, but no one could resolve the incompatibility problem of Mortal Kombat being much more brutal than Street Fighter.[68] When asked if Street Fighter series would ever do a crossover game with Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter producer Yoshinori Ono said it would be difficult as Mortal Kombat is a very different game from Street Fighter.[69] Boon has also stated that he would like to do a crossover game between Mortal Kombat and Killer Instinct for Xbox One,[70][71] and wished he could do a Marvel Comics one too, but acknowledged it as unlikely since Marvel was owned by The Walt Disney Company.[72]

A ninth game in the series, a reboot titled simply Mortal Kombat, was developed by the former Midway Games, now renamed as NetherRealm Studios.[73] It was first released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2011, and was ported to the PlayStation Vita in 2012 and to the Microsoft Windows in 2013. Its first sequel, Mortal Kombat X, was released in 2015 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows. A follow-up, Mortal Kombat 11, was released in 2019 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Microsoft Windows.

Spin-off games

Besides the fighting games, there are three action-adventure titles that work as spin-offs from the Mortal Kombat storyline. Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero was released in 1997 for the PlayStation and Nintendo 64;[74][75] its story is focused on the first incarnation character of Sub-Zero and is focused in the timeline before the first Mortal Kombat game. The next action game was Mortal Kombat: Special Forces, released in 2000 for the PlayStation, starring Major Jackson Briggs in his mission to destroy the Black Dragon.[76] Both games were critically panned (although the reception of Mythologies was more mediocre). Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, developed by Midway Studios Los Angeles, was released in 2005 for the PlayStation 2 and the Xbox, starring Liu Kang and Kung Lao and telling an alternate version of the events between the first and second Mortal Kombat games. A similar game entitled Mortal Kombat: Fire & Ice, which was to star Scorpion and again Sub-Zero, was canceled when the developers of Shaolin Monks "couldn't do it in time and under budget".[77]

Mortal Kombat Games articles: 35

Other media



Mortal Kombat was adapted into two major motion pictures, Mortal Kombat (1995) and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997), both released by New Line Cinema. The first film was released on August 18, 1995, grossing $23 million on its first weekend.[78] Despite mixed reviews from critics, Mortal Kombat became a financial success, eventually grossing approximately $70 million in the U.S. and over $122 million worldwide; the film also gained a cult following amongst fans of the video game series with Robin Shou, Linden Ashby, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Bridgette Wilson, Talisa Soto and Christopher Lambert starring, and its success launched the Hollywood career of its director, Paul W. S. Anderson.[79] However, this momentum did not carry over into the movie's sequel, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, which was directed by John R. Leonetti with Shou and Soto as the only two returning from the first film. The film received a poor reception by critics and fans alike, grossing only $36 million in the U.S. and $51 million worldwide, which was disappointing compared to the first film's worldwide intake of $122 million.[80]

In 2010, director Kevin Tancharoen released an eight-minute Mortal Kombat short film, titled Mortal Kombat: Rebirth,[81] made as a proof of concept for Tancharoen's pitch of a reboot movie franchise to Warner Bros. Pictures.[82] Tancharoen later confirmed that while the short is entirely unofficial, it does feature the writing of Oren Uziel, who was rumored to be writing the screenplay for the third Mortal Kombat movie.[83] In September 2011, New Line and Warner Bros. announced that Tancharoen has signed on to direct a new feature-length film from a screenplay written by Uziel,[84] with the intention of aiming for an R rating.[85] Shooting was expected to begin in March 2012 with a budget of well under $100 million (projected at between $40–50 million[86]) and a release date of 2013,[87][88] but was ultimately delayed due to budget constraints. Tancharoen quit the production in October 2013.[89]

The reboot was released on April 23, 2021[90][91] produced by James Wan,[92][93] directed by Simon McQuoid[94] with a script written by Greg Russo and David Callaham[95] and stars Lewis Tan as Cole Young, a character created for the reboot, Jessica McNamee as Sonya Blade, Josh Lawson as Kano, Tadanobu Asano as Raiden, Mehcad Brooks as Jax, Ludi Lin as Liu Kang, Max Huang as Kung Lao, Sisi Stringer as Mileena, Chin Han as Shang Tsung, Joe Taslim as Sub-Zero and Hiroyuki Sanada as Scorpion.[96][97][98][99][100][101][102][103][104]


An animated prequel to 1995's Mortal Kombat film, titled Mortal Kombat: The Journey Begins, was released direct-to-video in the same year as the live-action film.[105] In 2020, a standalone animated film, Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's Revenge, was released on digital and direct-to-video.[106]


A number of Mortal Kombat comic books were based on the video game series, including the official Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat II comic, books created by Tobias and advertised in the attract modes on early versions of the first two games. In 1994, Malibu Comics launched a licensed Mortal Kombat comic book series, spawning two six-issue series (Blood and Thunder and Battlewave), along with several miniseries and one-shot special issues dedicated to specific characters, until its publication ended in August 1995. Two more comics were also made as tie-ins for Mortal Kombat 4 and Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe,[107] and a new miniseries titled Blood Ties was published prior to the release of Mortal Kombat X in 2015.


Jeff Rovin penned a novelization of the first Mortal Kombat game, which was published in 1995 in order to coincide with the release of the movie, though the novel did not follow the movie plot.[108] Novelizations of both Mortal Kombat movies were written by Martin Delrio and Jerome Preisler. A paperback novel written by C. Dean Anderson entitled Mortal Kombat: Reptile's World was released in 1996.


Mortal Kombat: The Album, a techno album based on the first game, was created for Virgin America by Lords of Acid members Praga Khan and Oliver Adams as The Immortals in 1994.[109] Its iconic theme "Techno Syndrome", incorporating the "Mortal Kombat!" yell first shown in the Mortal Kombat commercial for home systems, was first released in 1993 as a single and was also used as a theme music for the Mortal Kombat film series. Each movie had their own soundtracks (including the hit and award-winning compilation album Mortal Kombat: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), as had the second video game (Mortal Kombat II: Music from the Arcade Game Soundtrack). The 2011 video game saw the release of Mortal Kombat: Songs Inspired by the Warriors, a new soundtrack album featuring electronic music by various artists.



An animated series titled Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm was released in 1996. It ran for one season.


In 1998, Mortal Kombat: Conquest was released. It lasted only one season.[105] In 2010, Warner Premiere ordered a web series inspired by the Rebirth short, titled Mortal Kombat: Legacy and also directed by Kevin Tancharoen.[110] The series' first season was released for free on YouTube starting in April 2011, promoted by Machinima.com,[111] and the second season arrived in 2013.[112]

In 2014, Blue Ribbon Content have been developing a live-action series that was to tie in with Mortal Kombat X for a planned 2016 release, titled Mortal Kombat: Generations. The series, however, was not released.[113][114]

Stage show

A stage show titled Mortal Kombat: Live Tour was launched at the end of 1995, expanded to 1996, and featured Mortal Kombat characters in a theatrical display on stage.

Online gambling game

The Mortal Kombat: Federation of Martial Arts was Threshold Entertainment's answer to the restrictions of the franchise involving the Midway Game Mortal Kombat. The challenge was to create a game that successfully promoted the video game without competing against it. The answer we developed was to use a stock market investing game model attached to an active online community to generate interest. The community discussion built every week leading to a big fight that would play out in installments over the weekend. This allowed players to essentially bet on their favorites by purchasing more stock prior to a fight and then hoping that their stock would go up in battle if their player won. during the course of the week we would write a lot of background story with hints about who might win and who might go up in value because of their association with the winner.

Collectible card games

Brady Games produced the collectible card game Mortal Kombat Kard Game in 1996.[115] Score Entertainment's 2005 collectible card game Epic Battles also used some of the Mortal Kombat characters.

Mortal Kombat Other media articles: 61


Aggregate review scores
As of June 18, 2019.
Game GameRankings Metacritic
Mortal Kombat (GEN) 84.17%[116]
(SNES) 83.33%[117]
(SCD) 60.00%[118]
(GB) 42.17%[119]
Mortal Kombat II (SNES) 85.87%[120]
(GEN) 85.62%[121]
(PS3) 68.40%[122]
(GB) 64.50%[123]
(SAT) 57.50%[124]
(PS3) 72[125]
Mortal Kombat 3 (SNES) 80.23%[126]
(GEN) 76.67%[127]
(PS1) 70.33%[128]
Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero (PS1) 53.20%[129]
(N64) 44.84%[130]
Mortal Kombat 4 (N64) 76.07%[131]
(PS1) 75.75%[132]
(PC) 72.14%[133]
(DC) 54.97%[134]
(GBC) 46.00%[135]
Mortal Kombat: Special Forces (PS1) 40.23%[136] (PS1) 28[137]
Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (GBA) 84.63%[138]
(Xbox) 82.68%[139]
(PS2) 81.99%[140]
(GC) 81.82%[141]
(GBA) 81