Last Thursday, Warner Bros. and NetherRealm Studios revealed what's next for the Mortal Kombat franchise. Mortal Kombat 11 is looking to bring a classic batch of fighters together, along with a few new names, to battle to the bloody end once more. And while everyone present at the Mortal Kombat 11: The Reveal event got a taste of the one-on-one fighting and some of the new mechanics, there is one major aspect of the game that attendees weren't able to go hands-on with. That's the game's story.
Since the Mortal Kombat renaissance in 2011, NetherRealm rebooted its franchise both mechanically and narratively. The consequences of Raiden's interference with the timeline continue to be felt and now it appears that at least one of the Elder Gods is threatening to intervene. To help further build anticipation towards the next Mortal Kombat, Shacknews is here to helpfully recap where the story is right now, along with a few questions to keep in mind over the coming months.
What to remember about the Mortal Kombat X ending
The altered timeline has resulted in an all-out assault on Earthrealm. With Emperor Shao Khan defeated, fallen Elder God and ruler of the Netherrealm Shinnok attacked both Earthrealm and Outworld in an effort to rule over all. It was a war that lasted 25 years.
In the end, Shinnok was beaten. But between the story's final battle and the epilogue, things had changed further. Raiden was no longer the Raiden of old. He was now dark and corrupted. Shinnok was beheaded, with Raven keeping his living head as a trophy. The darker thunder god addressed the new rulers of the Netherrealm, warning them that Earthrealm would no longer defend itself against aggressors, but pre-emptively destroy any and all threats.
And who are those Netherrealm rulers? The undead Liu Kang and Kitana.
When does the Mortal Kombat 11 story prologue take place?
The MK11 story prologue takes place prior to the MKX epilogue, just before Raiden's confrontation with Liu Kang and Kitana. Raiden has Shinnok shackled in chains and is using his lightning power to torture him. The fallen Elder God observes that Raiden is now wearing his amulet, which is likely what has left him in a corrupted state.
Players witness the thunder god unleash his fury, creating a blade out of pure lightning and using it to decapitate Shinnok. Raiden sets up the MKX prologue, telling the beheaded Shinnok that he will be delivered to Liu Kang as a warning.
While most of this is set up for what MK players already know, what's new is the arrival of a mysterious female figure. This is the newest main antagonist of the Mortal Kombat series, Kronika. She is described as the keeper of time and the architect of destiny in the universe. She tells Shinnok's head that this was not meant to be his destiny, implying that Raiden's continued manipulation of the timeline would no longer be tolerated.
When does the Mortal Kombat 11 Story Mode take place?
A recent behind-the-scenes video filled in some more blanks about the Mortal Kombat 11 story. One thing to note is that while MKX fast-forwarded to 25 years after the events of the 2011 Mortal Kombat reboot, MK11 takes place right after the events of MKX. As noted, Kronika has had it with Raiden's machinations, determining that the scales of balance have been tipped too much towards the forces of good. Her master plan appears to be to reset the timeline and start things over. (Again.)
Some might be asking about the new generation of fighters introduced in MKX. What's become of Cassie Cage, Jacqui Briggs, Takeda, and Kung Jin? They still appear to be present, according to the behind-the-scenes video. Cassie is briefly seen confronting Kitana, but her momentary cameo does indicate that her crew will have some sort of presence in this story.
As for Shinnok's revenants, those fighters killed in MK9 who showed up in MKX's story? They appear to be around, too. The undead versions of Liu Kang and Kung Lao are shown side-by-side. And speaking of those two...
What does Kronika's time-based scheme mean for the MK11 roster?
Going back to the MK11 reveal stream, the addition of Baraka to the Mortal Kombat 11 playable roster was an interesting one. That's mainly because Baraka was killed by D'Vorah during the events of the MKX story. The reveal of Kronika and her plan to mess with the Mortal Kombat timeline answers how Baraka is able to re-join the fight, looking better than ever. But Baraka doesn't appear to be the only characters from the past joining in the fun.
The aforementioned behind-the-scenes video shows a younger Liu Kang and Kung Lao confronting their present undead selves. This means the door is open for a slew of characters from the past to come in and join the roster. It also answers how Shao Khan, the pre-order bonus character, is able to join the list of playable fighters, given his ultimate fate in MK9.
So in addition to new characters, speculation is open on which returning characters might find their way into the story. Noob Saibot (a.k.a. Bi-Han, the original Sub-Zero) and Shang Tsung both played a key role in the MK9 story and may be poised to return. At least one dead character has been teased for the upcoming Kombat Pack: Kabal.
Is Kronika the real villain? Or is it Raiden?
Kronika has been labeled as the series' newest antagonist and will serve as the final boss battle across a number of Mortal Kombat 11's game modes. But is she the real villain here or is it the thunder god Raiden, who has resorted to more extreme measures since the ending of MKX?
The case for Raiden as a villain can certainly be made after Shinnok pointed out that the thunder god is now donning his amulet. Shinnok's amulet has likely corrupted Raiden with an inherently evil force, meaning Raiden's actions may not be coming from a pure place. And given the stakes, Dark Raiden may be prone to rash actions and could turn on his Earthrealm warriors sooner than later.
This may also set up an interesting confrontation in the story's later hours. With Kronika opening up the time gates for characters from the past to come in, don't be surprised if Dark Raiden eventually comes face-to-face with a younger version of himself, one definitively not corrupted. And one who will recognize the effect that Shinnok's amulet is having on his future self.
There's a lot to think about between now and the time that the Mortal Kombat 11 Story Mode is in players' hands. Look for those questions to be answered when Mortal Kombat 11 releases on April 23 on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. For more on MK11, be sure to check out our recent hands-on preview.