Netherrealm Studios opened the hype season for Mortal Kombat 1 on July 6 with the first in a series of Kombat Kast livestreams, hosted by community manager Tyler Lansdown. Here’s what we now know about how Johnny Cage and Scorpion will work in Liu Kang’s New Era for Mortal Kombat.
After the new Lin Kuei trailer that introduced Smoke, Rain, and more Kameos (and confirmed that Scorpion will also be a Kameo), Netherrealm QA manager Stephanie Brownback narrated a long discussion that walked viewers through the new designs for Scorpion and Johnny Cage, as well as the Kameo version of Kung Lao.
Scorpion in the New Era of MK1
Scorpion in MK1 has been rebuilt as a back-to-basics version of the character. He comes equipped with his spear, teleport punch, and special Hellfire attack, but all have been significantly reworked from MK11.
MK1’s Scorpion is a human warrior with special fire powers, rather than the demonically-empowered ninja he’s been for the last 31 years. According to Brownback, the designers looked at Scorpion, kept what they considered his core moves, and reworked much of the rest of his kit.
The spear is now a rope and sickle, which Scorpion can use to control space, launch a long-range sweep, hit attackers out of the air, or whirl around in front of himself as a combo ender.
Most importantly, the spear can be thrown out as an aerial move, which lets Scorpion use it to start air combo strings. Scorpion’s Hellfire now hits low, and its enhanced version inflicts a damage-over-time effect on hit.
Johnny Cage in the New Era
Johnny Cage has seen some significant mechanical changes in MK1. In Liu Kang’s New Era, he’s lost what was occasionally called the “Glow,” which was what enabled Johnny to use moves like his force balls and Shadow Kick. That’s left Johnny without a projectile, or indeed, without any visibly supernatural moves at all. (You know, besides the ability to shrug off a spear through his neck.)
Instead, Johnny now has a unique mechanic called the Hype Meter, which is built whenever he taunts. Once it’s full, Johnny can enter an “un-caged” state where he can cancel all of his special moves into one another. While un-caged, Johnny can also use one enhanced special move for free, without burning meter on it.
As another compensation measure, Johnny’s been given a special command dash to use as a gap closer to get in on other characters who have a decent projectile/keep-away game. Even so, it suggests that Johnny will need to lean on his Kameo character in some matchups, especially against zoning monsters like Sub-Zero.
What We Know About Kameo Kung Lao
Kameo Kung Lao is based explicitly on the MK2 debut version of Kung Lao and uses several of that character’s special moves. Kameos are MK1‘s take on the concept of an assist/tag character, as well as taking the place of the Breaker system that’s been in every game since MKvDC.
As a Kameo, MK2 Kung Lao’s arsenal includes his spin, his MK9 drum punches, and a special move where Kung Lao grabs your active character and teleports them behind your opponent. As with every Kameo character, you can also call Kung Lao to break a combo for you, as long as he’s off cooldown.
While Lansdale didn’t offer a day or date for the next Kombat Kast, one should be coming shortly. Brownsback and Kirtzic also teased that there are more characters coming for MK1 that “you haven’t seen for over a decade.” That list’s shorter than you might think, but it does suggest there are some truly deep dives coming to the roster for MK1.
Mortal Kombat 1 is scheduled for release on September 19 for PC, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox Series X|S. Those who pre-order the game will get access to a bonus character, Shang Tsung.