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Mortal Kombat 1

Guide: Every major change to character backstories in Mortal Kombat 1

Mortal Kombat 1 is resetting the universe, and even if we have some familiar faces, their stories have changed massively.

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Mortal Kombat 1 is bringing a massive 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 for worse it gives us a new look at some familiar fighters. As Liu Kang begins his reign as the god of the world, essentially, we're taking a deeper look at the character bios added to Mortal Kombat 1's website and seeing what's changed among our favourite combatants.

There are nine fighters with filled out bios at the time of writing, so it's best not to waste any time and get stuck in. We're starting with the god of fire, Liu Kang, as he's at the centre of a lot of this game's marketing. After bonding with Raiden and defeating Kronika in Mortal Kombat 11, Liu Kang got to make his own timeline. He's not made the perfect world, but one in which he gives all beings the opportunity to find peace. However, as we can guess by the fact that we're getting another game, this peace has come under threat from a mysterious and powerful enemy. In Mortal Kombat 1, it appears that Liu Kang has thrown off his usual plucky hero hat and is now playing more of a wise, leader role, similar to that of Raiden back in the day, as he gathers champions to help maintain the peace.

Mortal Kombat 1

Two of these champions, which we already see backing Liu Kang like bodyguards in the trailer, are Scorpion and Sub-Zero. They've gone from being best bros to brothers by blood now, and are both part of the Lin Kuei clan, which poses an intriguing question of what's happened to Scorpion's old clan, the Shirai Ryu. It also seems as though Scorpion's relationship with his brother is a tenuous one, as it seems our current frosty fellow is ditching the traditions of the Lin Kuei, something that Scorpion believes may lead him and his brother to come to blows one day.

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For centuries, the Lin Kuei defended Earthrealm from the shadows, but now, with Sub-Zero as Grandmaster, and Earthrealm not being threatened for some time, the Lin Kuei will come out of hiding as they seek to become one of the great nations of the world. Sub-Zero seems to have changed little compared to his past game counterpart, but there's likely going to be some more developments in his story that separate him from other iterations.

Mortal Kombat 1

Kitana, considering her past relationship with Liu Kang, seemed as if she'd be put straight in the running for the Outworld throne, and yet, perhaps there's trouble in paradise, as Kitana is now sister to the ruler of Outworld. She doesn't seem to mind this, as even with some calling for her to rule the realm instead, her only purpose is to make Mileena the best empress possible. Compared to the past, where Mileena and Kitana have tried to kill each other multiple times, this is some serious growth on the sisters' part. Whether Kitana will still be an ally to her sister throughout the game remains to be seen, but it's certainly a departure from her past, even if she's still the princess of Outworld.

Mileena, as mentioned, has finally got her wish, and is now heir to Outworld's throne. Her nature remains impulsive, and she'll still have those nasty teeth, but rather than them coming from her being a clone, Mileena is now afflicted with a deadly disease. She hides her face and teeth so that none see her as a weak ruler. Not only does this raise questions about whether we'll see Mileena's face revealed and her rulership questioned, but we now must also ask what's happened to the Tarkatans? Are they all considered diseased, or is there another explanation for their existence?

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Mortal Kombat 1

Moving back to Earthrealm, we have a new champion to discuss. It very much seems that Raiden and Liu Kang have swapped 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 in the interest of its village. We're going to be seeing a lot of growth from this new Raiden, but I think we can expect the biggest changes from this character compared to any other, as he will have none of his elderly wisdom as a young and somewhat inexperienced fighter.

Also hailing from Fengjian is Kung Lao, who appears to be very similar in Mortal Kombat 1, which makes sense considering he was once Liu Kang's best friend. You're not really going to give your best bud a personality swap in your new timeline, are you? Apart from having his usual, hat-based combat, Kung Lao again seems a character obsessed with only being second best and not amounting to his full potential. Luckily, it seems that being a champion of Earthrealm is enough for Kung Lao to mark his place in history.

Mortal Kombat 1

From someone who wants to mark his name, to someone running from the weight his surname carries, Kenshi's family was once one of great warriors, until five centuries ago they were all nearly wiped out. Currently the Takahashi clan finds itself in the Yakuza's grip, but Kenshi hopes to free his family from it, and restore the honour of their name. First, he's going to have to grab the family's ancient sword, Sento, which shows we're probably going to get a bit of a Kenshi origin story here.

Finally, we have the man 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's looking to join the fight as one of Earthrealm's champions as a last gasp for fame. There is a slight difference here, as in Mortal Kombat 9, and the universe we last witnessed, Johnny found himself in the Mortal Kombat tournament without really knowing what was going on, whereas this time it seems he's going to be slightly more prepared.

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