Warner Bros. Discovery casually name-dropped Mortal Kombat 12 earlier in the year, when an earnings call revealed the fighter was “set to release this year, with ambitious launch projections.” The relaxed announcement wasn’t followed by any flashy marketing (outside of a few funny Ed Boon tweets) until now. Developer Netherrealm have been dropping small teasers that potentially point toward a series reboot, or a timeline cleanse, or a return to the series’ past. Hey, the next instalment might not even be named MK12. Watch last night’s very brief teaser below:
The vague clip has set fan theories alight as Mortal Kombat’s history with time travel began with MK9’s sort-of rebooted timeline, which is conveniently the number that the red clock hand starts at in the teaser. From there the hand ticks past (MK)10 and (MK)11, stutters for a bit, and then completely springs past (MK)12 to land on 1.
Going back to the past has already been conveniently set up during Mortal Kombat 11 and its Aftermath expansion as Kronika’s hourglass was used to reshape the timeline, sending old-timer Liu Kang back to an era before the events of the very first game. Or something to that effect. Playing through Mortal Kombat’s campaigns is always fun, but with so many alternate versions of characters, I’ve somewhat lost my mind trying to keep up. So maybe a soft reboot is needed.
According to reliable leaker Billbil-Kun (spotted by Eurogamer), the mysterious next entry could be called Mortal Kombat 1 – following Battlefield 1 and Xbox One into the territory of confusing names. At least it won’t be named simply Mortal Kombat, otherwise we’d have three of those and talking about it casually would be exhausting.
We can expect an official announcement in the coming days or weeks, but 2023 is already shaping up to be a killer year for fighting games. The all-star lineup kicks off with Street Fighter 6 next month, and the upcoming Tekken 8 could arrive within the year too.