News Archive - July, 2020
Mortal Kombat 11 Aftermath Schedules Summer Heat Skins & More
MK11 heatwave begins in August!

Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath rewrote history with its reworked story mode, and there are more ripples to be felt! The downloadable skins schedule resumes this August starting with the three character Summer Heat pack! Check out the full schedule and hi-res render right here:

American style barbecue is on the menu starting August 6th when the Summer Heat pack unleashes Fireworks Erron Black, Endless Summer Kitana, and Off the Bone Baraka! They follow the gold jacket wearing Thanks a Million Johnny Cage, and previously released Eternal Klash Skin Pack released at launch.

The funcooker will keep sizzling on August 25th when the Klassic Femme Fatale Skin Pack is released, followed by the mysterious & spooky All Hallow's Eve Skin Pack that arrives in plenty of time for Halloween on October 8th!

Last year the Masquerade Skin Pack outfitted Liu Kang, Kitana, and Kabal in creepy costumes. Who do you think will feature on All Hallow's Eve? Share your thoughts and speculation about the upcoming skins in the comments below and check out more on the Mortal Kombat 11 forum!

Storm Collectibles MK3 Motaro Action Figure
Motaro rides again!

Storm Collectibles may not be able to exhibit their wares at San Diego Comic-Con this year, but that hasn't stopped them turning arcade klassics into physical reality. Motaro breaks the mold with an authentic equine body and oversized proportions! Take a look:

Standing an impressive 9.4" tall; the 1/12th scale Motaro towers over other action figures with his original centaur body fully in tact in all its poseable four-legged glory! Multiple points of articulation allow for the recreation of his victory pose, back leg kick, or looming upright charge pose!

Motaro is available now for online pre-order with a premium price tag of $110.00US. That includes 2 interchangeable heads, 3 pairs of hands, and a bloodied skeleton for a display shelf fatality!

Its another Mortal Kombat 3 offering from the popular Hong Kong toymaker, who recently unveiled MK3 Sub-Zero designs, and have previously released the Lin Kuei cyber-assassins and MK3 final boss Shao Kahn.

It's not often we see Motaro in merchandise. The centaur was last seen as a non-playable story mode character killed in Mortal Kombat (2011), with a compromised two-legged centaur version making his last playable appearance in 2006's Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. Johnny Cage fought one of his people in the animated Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's Revenge.

Are you excited to see Motaro join the klassic inspired VS series? Share your thoughts in the comments below and tell us which other fighters you'd like to see join the series. Discuss more action figures on the Media & Merchandise forum or do a deep dive on retro in the realm of 2D Kombat Klassics!

Storm Collectibles Unveil MK3 Sub-Zero Action Figure
Sub-Zero is back!

Around this time of year Storm Collectibles is usually on the floor of the San Diego International Comic-Con, but with pandemic concerns shuttering the massive crowds for now, the toymaker has taken to social media to reveal their next big action figure offering. Sub-Zero is on the run with a klassic design pending approval in new images. Take a closer look:

Wearing a mask may curb the communal spread of coronavirus in 2020, but the retro Mortal Kombat 3 style Sub-Zero is noteable for its uniquely unmasked design.

Originally portrayed in the 1995 arcade sequel by chiseled John Turk; this design finds Sub-Zero marked for death and on the run from his former comrades in the Lin Kuei clan. In MK3 he not only had the Outworld invasion to contend with, but also the pursuit of cyber assassins Sektor and Cyrax, who've already been released as Storm Collectibles figures.

[Related Article: McFarlane Toys Solicit Mortal Kombat 11 Kitana & Baraka]

MK3 is becoming a regular source of inspiration for the Hong Kong based action figure company, who previously released an exhaustive series of klassic ninja palette swaps. Other offerings have included UMK3 Scorpion and MKII Baraka.

The man we today know as Kuai Liang sports the famous eye scar earned in battle, and if other Storm releases are any indication, will probably be able to exhibit a variety of his trademark kori ice attacks. MK3 notably expanded his arsenal with the skyward ice shower attack.

What are your first impressions of the MK3 klassic Sub-Zero? Share your thoughts in the comments below and tell us which other klassic characters you'd like to see turned into collectible toys! Find and discuss more action figures in the Media & Merchandise forum, or go back in time for all things retro in the 2D Kombat Klassics forum!

Mortal Kombat Mobile Update Brings Shirai Ryu Towers
New equipment and towers in 2.7 update!

The next Mortal Kombat Mobile update is scheduled to begin rolling out this morning, and will introduce brutal new equipment in the Shirai Ryu Towers!

Scorpion, Jade and Liu Kang will receive new unlockable equipment offering massive boosts to stats and special abilities, including Brutalities! Get the low down in infographics released to the official Twitter below:

Mortal Kombat Mobile will be down for maintenance to prepare for the 2.7 Update, starting sometime around 8:00AM CT Monday morning, July 20th. This will pave the way for Standard and Fatal Shirai Ryu Towers to challenge players over the coming weeks!

Also be on the look out for the mysterious arrival of Klassic Smoke: the latest MK Mobile Gold kard! Share your thoughts and tips in the comments below and find more MK Mobile discussion on the Mortal Kombat 11 forum!

UFC 251 Features Mortal Kombat Fight Island Promo
Fiction & reality blur for fight event!

The aggressive spread of coronavirus has forced businesses around the world to rethink their practises in 2020. For the full contact combat sport of Ultimate Fighting Championship, this adversity has led them to find solutions once only dreamed of in fiction. Mortal Kombat 11 features in the promotional build to UFC 251 on Fight Island! Take a look:

UFC promoter Dana White first revealed the concept of Fight Island at the beginning of April, intending to work around regional health restrictions preventing personnel gatherings. The concept of a private island hosting martial arts contests naturally drew comparisons with Mortal Kombat, and the tournament on Shang Tsung's Island. This klassic plot was recently retold in the animated feature Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's Revenge.

The lines between professional combat reality and fiction already blurred when Mortal Kombat 11 welcomed former UFC Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey as the new voice and inspiration behind Sonya Blade. The UFC Hall of Famer also took inspiration from her character for a live performance at last year's WWE Elimination Chamber.

Shang Tsung and scenes from Mortal Kombat 11 literally appeared in the promotion for this weekend's UFC 251 event, which takes place at the Flash Forum on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. Kamaru Usman vs Jorge Masvidal headline in a UFC Welterweight Championship bout. The event was originally scheduled to take place in Perth, Australia.

Fan-favourite Australian digital artist BossLogic lampooned Dana White's initial announcement in April, blending the promoter with Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa's live-action sorcerer. He more recently created an MK tinged poster for the event.

What do you think about the promotional partnership between UFC and Mortal Kombat? Share your thoughts about FIght Island and the action from UFC 251 in the comments below and find more of the latest in the Mortal Kombat 11 forum!

Klassic Smoke Wafts into Mortal Kombat Mobile Trailer
Smoke gets in your iPhone!

From the misty corners of MK history wafts in a new challenger! Klassic Smoke is coming to Mortal Kombat Mobile and has appeared in a suitably retro reveal trailer you can watch right now! Check it out:

The trailer calls back to Smoke's first appearance as a secret unlockable opponent in Mortal Kombat II. Players were dared to discover the hidden kombatant by his elusive sprite peering out from behind a tree in The Living Forest stage. He ranked #4 on MK Online's Top 10 Hidden & Unlockable characters.

In MK3, Smoke famously became one of the Lin Kuei's reluctant cyber-assassin conversions, but for Mortal Kombat Mobile he'll be given the Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 palette swap design used for "Human Smoke". Cyber Smoke already exists in MK Mobile as one of the guises for Triborg.

Klassic Smoke will be a Gold Card appearing very soon! Receive the smoke signals by downloading Mortal Kombat Mobile for free for iOS or Android from the App Store and Google Play! Looking forward to the retro fighter's return? Share your thoughts in the comments below and talk more MKMobile on the Mortal Kombat 11 forum!

Rumor: Microsoft Interested in Warner Bros Games
Mortal Kombt X -- box?

The prospective sale of Warner Bros Games by parent company AT&T has reportedly attracted an interested buyer in Microsoft Corp. News of the holding company considering selling its Warner Media gaming interests was first reported last month.

A story by The Information [via Reuters] claims AT&T are yet to reach a decision about the future of Warner Bros Games, but Microsoft has expressed interest in a deal. Original reports projected a $4 billion dollar sale of the WB Games catalogue and assets, including Mortal Kombat, and franchise Warner Bros assets like Batman, Harry Potter, and the various Lego series.

A WB Games acquisition would bolster Xbox gaming with established development studios in the United States, Montreal, and United Kingdom, including Chicago's NetherRealm Studios.

In an interesting follow-up: NetherRealm has continued to post job listings, citing work on next generation versions of Mortal Kombat and Injustice in the description for a key software engineer position. The Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath expansion was released to acclaim in May, but additional content for the hit fighting game is still expected. This may account for a PlayStation 5 and Xbox One Series X release.

A $154 billion dollar debt inherited in the purchase of Time Warner (now Warner Media) is said to be the primary impetus for AT&T considering the sale. If Microsoft were to make the purchase, it could potentially signal an exclusive Xbox future for the Mortal Kombat franchise, which has previously appeared on most major platforms. Sony's God of War mascot Kratos appeared in a rare PlayStation exclusive for Mortal Kombat (2011). Mortal Kombat X was also unveiled during Sony's E3 conference.

Microsoft has come to be widely viewed as a secondary platform for many fighting game series, with Street FIghter V making the surprise leap to PlayStation console exclusivity in 2016. Xbox touted exclusive home releases for two Dead Or Alive games in the previous decade, and now owns the Killer instinct franchise -- a popular rival to Mortal Kombat with a history of association and speculated crossover potential.

What do you think about Microsoft taking control of the future of the Mortal Kombat franchise? Share your thoughts in the comments below and delve into deeper speculation in the Future MK forum!

Evo Online Cancelled Amid Misconduct Controversy
Publisher withdrawls lead to cancellation.

Just days before the start of the first Evo Online open championship; the tournament series has been cancelled amid allegations of past sexual misconduct by Evo President Joey "Mr Wizard" Cuellar. Over 1,350 players had registered to participate in the Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath tournaments, scheduled to take place late in July.

NetherRealm Studios was among the first publishers to announce their withdrawal of support for the organization via Twitter, declaring intentions to have Mortal Kombat 11 pulled from the Evo Online schedule. Evo mainstay Capcom posted a similar statement in solidarity for persons affected, with Namco Bandai, and Them's Fightin' Herds developer Mane6, echoing the decision.

Evo announced it had placed Cuellar on administrative leave on July 2nd after accusations began to circulate of past sexual misconduct. An unspecified third party investigation was also promised.

With the withdrawal of support from major backers and participants, including 2020 Evo Mortal Kombat Champion Sonic Fox, the organization announced Cuellars complete extrication from Evo the next day, and the cancellation of the event. Tony Cannon has been appointed acting CEO, with a commitment to refund players, and pledge to uphold their donations to Project HOPE: a humanitarian charity already set to receive proceeds from the event. The statement is included below:

Among the allegations are stories of ritual hazing at the Southern Hills Golfland arcade in the late 1990s. These alleged incidents include paying young male patrons gaming tokens to dive into miniature golf hazard pools, in their underwear, for prolonged periods. One particular claim alleges Cuellar, in his twenties, paid a 17 year old boy $20 to arouse and expose himself in the privacy of a toilet stall. The legal age of consent in California is 18.

Joey Cuellar has not publicly responded to specific claims, but did issue an apology for his past behavior, via Twitter. He accepted responsibility while attributing past actions to youth: "I'm sorry. I never meant to hurt anyone. I was young and reckless and did things I'm not proud of. I have been growing and maturing over the past 20 years, but that doesn't excuse anything. All I have been trying to do is become a better person. Once again, I'm truly sorry."

It was a tumultuous path for Mortal Kombat 11 to this year's Evo. In February it was a surprise omission from the tournament lineup, before the global spread of COVID-19 forced the annual Las Vegas event to cancel. MK11 was reinstated in May as one of four Evo Online open events - a testament to the use of GGPO rollback in online play since 2016.

Warner Brothers and NetherRealm Studios, like other corporations, have invested significant resources into rapidly developing new and existing infrastructure for organized competitive gaming based around their titles. Despite a push towards a model loosely based on professional sport, with increasing stakes of prize money and mainstream broadcasting; relatively little attention appears to be given to industry regulation or external review.

Events like Evo have grown out of grassroots arcade scenes and continue to attract participation from a vulnerable teen and young adult demographic not dissimilar to the aging organizers who came before them. The potential for corruption within the culture has been self-evident. In July 2015, Turtle Entertainment took a revolutionary step toward professionalism by introducing drug testing to reform the Electronic Sports League.

The Evo World Championship has been an industry leader, creating one of the largest single gatherings for players, and a mainstream lightning rod for fighting game's so-called eSports. As gaming and other industries confront the skeletons in their closet, including other reports of sexual abuse, it remains to be seen if Evo will be able to bounce back in 2021.

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