The team at Netherrealm Studios went back to the studio on August 11 for the second Kombat Kast livestream, which provided a closer look at how Smoke, Ashrah, and Geras play in the forthcoming Mortal Kombat 1.
As usual, the discussion was hosted by NRS community manager Tyler Lansdown, QA manager Stephanie Brownback, and senior systems designer Derek Kirtzic, all three of whom have hosted semi-regular Kombat Kasts since the run-up to MK11.
While this Kast didn’t have any reveals, it did provide a series of three deep dives into how three of the characters in MK1 play in this new installment. NRS is unique among the big fighting-game developers in that it goes out of its way to seriously overhaul many of its characters between installments, with both Smoke and Ashrah being almost entirely reinvented for MK1.
Mortal Kombat 1 August 11 Kombat Kast Details
How Smoke Plays in MK1
In Smoke’s history as a character, the one constant has been his mobility. He’s “never been this much of a ninja before,” to quote Brownback. MK1 Smoke is about rapid movement around the screen and constant offensive pressure.
Smoke can once again teleport around the screen. By throwing a smoke bomb, he can appear out of the cloud for an attack that homes in on his opponent, as well as use a particular type of teleport as a direct counter to an enemy’s projectiles. His mixup game is strong, with a number of lows that can lead into an overhead. Smoke also uses his karambit fighting knife in most of his standard attacks, including his throw.
However, many of Smoke’s moves can leave him vulnerable if he misses or they’re blocked, and he doesn’t have a traditional projectile. As with a lot of MK1 characters, particularly Johnny, Smoke will be reliant on his Kameo partner to shore up some of his weak points.
How Ashrah Plays in MK1
Originally introduced in 2004’s Mortal Kombat: Deception, Ashrah is one of a handful of characters who didn’t appear in any way in the MK9-11 reboot timeline. Her return for MK1, as Brownback pointed out, is the first time Ashrah’s been in MK at all for 17 years.
Ashrah is a demon from the Netherrealm who works to purify her own soul by slaying other demons with her enchanted sword. In MK1, she fights exclusively with that sword, the Kris, which gives her a wide variety of far-reaching normal attacks. In addition, she can slash the air with the Kris to create a projectile that’s slow and short-ranged, but very tall.
The unique mechanic for Ashrah is a mechanic where she can “embrace her dark side,” according to Brownback, which changes the properties of many of her special moves. Her projectile gets faster and gains full-screen range, and she replaces her slashing attacks with the ability to send out illusionary images of herself.
More importantly, every time Ashrah hits her opponent with her dark-side attacks, it stacks up a debuff that will cause them to take more damage from Ashrah’s light-side skills. A skilled Ashrah player will consistently shift back and forth.
How Geras Plays in MK1
Geras was one of the more popular competitive characters early in MK11, although he fell off later on. In MK1, he’s an up-close brawler/grappler who’s meant to be an expert’s character, with special skills that’ll take practice to master.
In addition to a number of grabs and a command throw, Geras has the ability to stack up to 3 charges from his hourglass. At a full stack, he can spend them to activate a number of new moves that can briefly freeze an opponent in time, which includes a teleport counter. Another option allows Geras to undo some damage he’s recently suffered by rewinding his personal timeline.
Kameo Details and Other News
- Frost, Sub-Zero’s wayward apprentice from MK: Deadly Alliance, was usable on the floor at last weekend’s Evolution Championship Series in Las Vegas, so many attendees had a chance to try her out for themselves. Her skills include a long-range freezing wave, a “stalagmite” anti-air attack, and a slow-moving, short-ranged orb that ices over an enemy on contact.
- Frost also has a fourth, “hidden” skill, which is activated by holding down the Kameo button. On activation, she runs out to attack an opponent repeatedly with ice daggers. This pushes them to full-screen and does significant chip damage.
- The Kameo version of Goro has received what Brownback called a “glow-up.” His skills include an upward punch that’s useful both as an anti-air move and a combo extender; the infamous MKX “punchwalk”; a command throw that sends an opponent across the screen; and the trademark Shokan stomp. However, the latter move costs the entire Kameo meter to perform. In Goro’s Fatal Blow, he dislocates both an opponent’s arms, in a graphic that recalls the fight between Goro and Jax in the 2020 animated movie Scorpion’s Revenge.
- One of Kameo Sub-Zero’s moves covers your active character in ice, which makes them invulnerable to projectiles for a short period of time.
- Kameo Sektor’s Fatality is a new take on his Compactor from his debut in Mortal Kombat 3. Sektor crushes an opponent inside a hydraulic press that emerges from his chest plate.
- The Kombat Kast opened with a short talk by NRS lead environment artist Thiago Gomes, who discussed how NRS creates background stages like the Living Forest. Many of MK1’s environments begin with what Gomes called “speeds”: relatively quickly-made paintings of the stage based upon concept art. From there, NRS points out certain details that they want to emphasize in the final product before moving on to rendering them.
Those are the details for the August 11 Kombat Kast for MK1. Stay tuned for more.