Mortal Kombat 1 brings a huge breath of fresh air to the fighting game franchise. Hitting the universe with a soft reset button is a bold thing, but for better or worse it gives us a new look at some familiar fighters. As Liu Kang begins his reign as the god of the world, we essentially take a deeper look at character biographies added to the Mortal Kombat 1 website and see what has changed among our favorite fighters.
There are nine fighters with completed bios at the time of writing, so it’s best not to waste time and get stuck in. We begin with the god of fire, Liu Kang, as he is central to much of this game’s marketing. After bonding with Raiden and defeating Kronika in Mortal Kombat 11, Liu Kang was allowed to create his own timeline. He did not create the perfect world, but one in which he gives all creatures a chance to find peace. However, as we can guess by the fact that we are getting another game, this peace has been threatened by a mysterious and powerful enemy. In Mortal Kombat 1, it seems that Liu Kang has shed his usual fluffy hero hat and now plays more of a wise, guiding role, similar to Raiden’s before, while gathering champions to help maintain peace.
Two of these champions, whom we already see as bodyguards behind Liu Kang in the trailer, are Scorpion and Sub-Zero. They have now gone from best brothers to brothers by blood and are both part of the Lin Kuei clan, which raises an intriguing question about what happened to Scorpion’s old clan, the Shirai Ryu. It also seems that Scorpion’s relationship with his brother is a tenuous one, as it seems that our current icy fellow is jettisoning the traditions of the Lin Kuei, something that Scorpion believes may lead him and his brother to one day come to blows.
For centuries the Lin Kuei defended Earthrealm from the shadows, but now, with Sub-Zero as Grandmaster and Earthrealm not threatened for some time, the Lin Kuei will come out of hiding as they attempt to become one of the world’s great nations. Sub-Zero seems to have changed little from his previous game counterpart, but there will likely be further developments in his story that separate him from other iterations.
Kitana, given her previous relationship with Liu Kang, seemed like she would be in the running for the Outworld throne immediately, and yet there may be trouble in paradise because Kitana is now the sister of Outworld’s ruler. She doesn’t seem to mind this, because even with some calling on her to rule the realm instead, her only goal is to make Mileena the best possible empress. Compared to the past, where Mileena and Kitana tried to kill each other several times, this is some serious growth on the sisters’ part. Whether Kitana will continue to be an ally of her sister throughout the game remains to be seen, but it is certainly a departure from her past, even if she is still the princess of Outworld.
Mileena, as mentioned, has finally gotten her wish and is now heir to the throne of Outworld. Her nature remains impulsive and she will still have those nasty teeth, but instead of them coming from being a clone, Mileena is now afflicted with a deadly disease. She hides her face and teeth so no one will see her as a weak ruler. This not only raises questions about whether we will see Mileena’s face revealed and question her reign, but we must now ask what happened to the Tarkatans? Are they all considered sick, or is there some other explanation for their existence?
Back to Earthrealm, we have a new champion to discuss. It looks very much like Raiden and Liu Kang have switched roles in Mortal Kombat 1, as the former god of thunder is now a much younger man, from a small village known as Fengjian. He hesitates when asked by Liu Kang to become champion, but believes it is for the good of his village. We are going to see a lot of growth from this new Raiden, but I think we can expect the biggest changes from this character compared to any other because he will have none of his older wisdom as a young and somewhat inexperienced fighter.
Also from Fengjian is Kung Lao, who is very similar in Mortal Kombat 1, which makes sense given that he was once Liu Kang’s best friend. You’re not really going to give your best bud a personality change in your new timeline, are you? Aside from his usual hat-based fighting, Kung Lao once again seems like a character obsessed with being only the second best and not reaching his full potential. Fortunately, it seems that being a champion of Earthrealm is enough for Kung Lao to mark his place in history.
From someone who wants to mark his name, to someone who runs away from the weight that his last name carries, Kenshi’s family was once one of the great warriors until they were all nearly wiped out five centuries ago. Currently, the Takahashi clan is in the grip of the Yakuza, but Kenshi hopes to free his family from them and restore the honor of their name. First he will have to take the family’s ancient sword, Sento, which shows that we will probably get a bit of a Kenshi origin story here.
Finally, we have the man who is perhaps least suited to this world of magic and gods and women with needle teeth. Johnny Cage is pretty much the same as he always is. A failing, B-movie action star, he wants to compete as one of Earthrealm’s champions as a last gasp for fame. There’s a slight difference here, because in Mortal Kombat 9, and the universe we last saw, Johnny found himself in the Mortal Kombat tournament without really knowing what was going on, while this time it seems he’ll be a little better prepared.