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This page contains unmarked spoilers for both Mortal Kombat 9 and Mortal Kombat X. Read at your own risk.

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"This... was not your destiny, Shinnok. Once again, the Thunder God has upset the balance of history. But know this: The arc of the universe bends to my will. It is only a matter... of time."
Kronika, Story Mode Prologue
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Mortal Kombat 11 is the eleventh official Fighting Game entry in the Mortal Kombat franchise - and the sequel of Mortal Kombat X, which was released on April 23, 2019 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC, and also the Nintendo Switch, being the first MK since Armageddon to release on a Nintendo platform. It is developed on a highly modified version of the Unreal Engine 3.

Following the defeat of Shinnok in X, an ancient goddess by the name of Kronika appears and declares that she will set right the damage Raiden has done to the proper course of history... by siding with the evil Revenants of Netherrealm and other villains to wipe out the current timeline and create a new one. With the realms converging in a Time Crash that spells Armageddon for all, past and future versions of the forces of Light find themselves teaming up to stop Kronika before it's too late.

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Along with previous series improvements, 11 introduces a much deeper customization system: not only can each character's move set be radically changed with the new Custom Variation system, but their equipment and accessories can also be modified to create a unique look.

    Playable roster 

Base game kombatants

  • Returning from Mortal Kombatnote : Scorpion, Liu Kang, Raiden, Johnny Cage, Sonya Blade, Kano.
  • Returning from Mortal Kombat II: Sub-Zero II, Kung Lao, Jax, Kitana, Baraka, Jade, Noob Saibot.
  • Returning from Mortal Kombat 3: Kabal.
  • Returning from Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance: Frost.
  • Returning from Mortal Kombat 9: Skarlet.
  • Returning from Mortal Kombat X: D'Vorah, Cassie Cage, Jacqui Briggs, Erron Black, Kotal Kahn.
  • Newcomers: Geras, Cetrion, Kollector, Kronikanote .

DLC kombatants

    Trailers 

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See also


This game shows examples of:

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    General Tropes 
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Sonya has tons. One of her Mirror Match intro dialogues sees her tell her doppelgänger, "I don't give a damn about my reputation." Ronda Rousey, who voices Sonya, uses Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation" as a theme in wrestling and MMA; the line about her reputation is taken almost word for word from that song. Another one has her tell Shao Kahn, "Any ring I step into is mine." which is a response to a quip Stephanie McMahon told her back in her WrestleMania 31 cameo. Another has her call Frost a "Do-nothing Bitch," a phrase Ronda has made famous. And, according to intro dialogue with Cassie, Sonya used to randomly attack her and Jacqui with armbars when they were kids, which Ronda has claimed was true of her own mother.

      Also, many of her skins/gear pieces have names that reference either Rousey's MMA persona or her WWE character, including Kick Out, Armbar, Bad Reputation, First Round Knockout, Rowdy, and Heel Turn.
    • In one of Cassie's intro quotes with her father, she wonders if she'll eventually be able to dodge bullets and Johnny assures her that when the time comes, she won't have to. Andrew Bowen (Johnny Cage since MKX) voiced Neo in The Matrix: Path of Neo. Here the roles are reversed with him quoting Morpheus's line.
    • One of Erron Black's intro taunts against Sub-Zero, the latter voiced by Steve Blum, is "I'd rather fight a goddamned space cowboy."
    • Shang Tsung points directly at the camera and says "Your soul is mine!"
    • If having the good looks of a certain Austrian musclebound superstar wasn't enough, the Terminator naturally takes this Up to Eleven. His pre-fight interactions are loaded with unhealthy amounts of pop-culture references not only to the Terminatorverse - but to the other films where Arnold had been cast, including his signature one-liners.
  • A God Am I: Some epilogues in arcade mode has a certain characters (mostly villains) proclaim themselves to be a God. Sonya has a benign version of this while some characters, such as Erron Black, Kabal, and surprisingly Kano has an opposite mindset.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Most visible during the intro to mirror matches, but even during combat. For example, Scorpion always holds his Kunai and has his sword on the side facing the player, no matter if he's facing left or right. Characters who jump over character actually "mirror" mid jump, with any carried weapons switching from one hand to the other. The main aversion is Johnny Cage's chest tattoo which does not flip so as to remain legible no matter what side he's on. Kano also retains his eye on the right side of his body, no matter how he's facing.
  • And I Must Scream: If you reach Kronika in the Arcade mode but don't defeat her, her fatality has her kill your character not once, but multiple times. Endlessly snapping their back, ripping them in half, flaying them, and reversing the damage. Over and over. Unlike other fatalities in this game the animation continues into the character win prompts. And they are continuously screaming, meaning they're still conscious through all of this. As if fatalities couldn't get any worse.
  • Anti-Rage Quitting: Quitalities are back, except this time either the quitter's whole body explodes, or they're impaled.
  • Art Evolution: Although still running under the heavily modified Unreal Engine 3, the style used for 11 is less stylized than previous games, giving the characters more realistic facial features and expressions. The "GoreTech" also improves the viscera over previous installments as well.
  • Assist Character:
    • Some Konsumables in the Towers of Time mode allows the player to summon either a character to assist with the fight, or a specific power from another character. For example, the Skull of the Specter can be used to summon Scorpion, while the Cyber Snare summons one of Cyrax's nets from offscreen.
    • Johnny Cage is able to call his actual stunt double to put his opponent in a full nelson hold, rendering them open to attacks.
    • Noob Saibot is back with his shadow clone, which he can use to attack enemies from a distance and which plays a considerable role in his Fatal Blow and Fatality.
  • Bad Present: A major theme of the story.
    • Every character that becomes a revenant is both shocked and horrified by this outcome and vows not to let it happen to them — including, ironically, the revenants themselves. Past Kabal, in fact, joins Kronika to avoid it.
    • Raiden is determined not to become his Dark counterpart, and to avoid the conflict between himself and Liu Kang.
    • Averted with Kano, who is thrilled about the future. He's proud to see himself still hale and hearty as ever, and he's even more happy to hear that Sonya is dead.
    • Jax is the most prominent victim of this trope. His life has completely fallen apart by his PTSD, the death of his wife, and his horror that his daughter is in the Special Forces (which he blames himself for causing). He temporarily joins Kronika to try and prevent this future. Jacqui is conflicted, because if not for her father's pain and suffering, she wouldn't exist.
  • Big "NO!" : Every Character does this when being scanned by Cassie Cage’s Drone Pre Groin Attack in her Forward Throw.
  • Bizarre and Improbable Ballistics: With Erron Black around it should be expected (with him whipping out his trusty coins to bounce bullets into his opponent's eyes during his Fatal Blow) but Cassie gets in on it too where one of her attacks sees her shoot at her own drone, which will ricochet the bullet towards the opponent's legs.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: With the new game engine, the developers have the gore and blood splatters looking much more detailed and brutal in comparison to MKX. The fatalities now end on the final hit and slow down to show off all the work on the evisceration of the unlucky loser. Fatal Blows (This game's equivalent of the X-Ray moves) likewise show off much more painful details on the strikes.
  • Brain Food: Baraka seems to have developed a taste for gray matter... His Brutality win pose has him pull out a brain and munch on it as a snack, and one of his Fatalities ends with him removing the brain from his unfortunate opponent's skull with his Tarkatan blades and eating it like skewered meat.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • After being completely absent from the last game, Jade, Noob Saibot, Shang Tsung, Shao Kahn, Sindel, and Nightwolf return as playable fighters - with Shao Kahn being notable for being his first playable appearance outside of updated titles and Dream Match Game entries.
    • Skarlet, Kabal, and Baraka also come back after sitting out X - as a comicbook-exclusive character, cutscene character and an unplayable Story Mode opponent, respectively.
    • This is the first time that Frost has been playable since Armageddon.
  • Chainsaw Good: One of the interactive objects in the Black Dragon Fight Klub stage is a chainsaw that can be used on the opponent's gut.
  • Character Customization: Customization is much more in-depth than any previous Mortal Kombat game. Taking a cue from Injustice 2, you can customize a character's equipment as well as their moves.
  • Continuity Nod: In regards to the rebooted timeline:
    • One of Skarlet's brutalities reenacts her "Make It Rain!" Fatality from 9.
    • After executing a Brutality, one of Sub-Zero's lines can be "This fight was your last", referencing his intro quote from 9. He can also say "Ability... to freeze", a reference to the movie.
    • Jade's fatality (in which she impales the loser through the head with her staff, slices off their lower half and then spins it around the staff) is a call back to her Mortal Kombat 9 Victory Pose, where she twirled around her staff like a stripper.
    • Johnny Cage's Fatal Blow has him use an award statuette for the final hit, referencing his second fatality from MK9. He also bludgeons his opponent and then impales them in the head with it in a brutality, again a nod to the same fatality.
    • One of Jade's staff customizations is named "Mournful Staff of X" in reference to Kitana using Jade's weapons in her Mournful variation in X.
    • One of Johnny and Kung Lao's intro references the What's He Got That I Ain't Got?! scene from Mortal Kombat 9,this time about Liu Kang, and with Kung Lao providing the exact same answer he did in 9.
    • As Takeda doesn't appear in the proper Story Mode, most of the pre-fight banter between Scorpion and Jacqui confirms that she and Takeda (a Shirai Ryu) are indeed an Official Couple coming off the Ship Tease in MKX, and that it's really serious by 11.
    Scorpion: You plan to marry my chujin.
    Jacqui: Takeda got smart and put a ring on it.
    Scorpion: First, prove you are worthy.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: Wanna see an Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny between Arnold Schwarzenegger versus Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa? This is the place you can have it the closest.note 
  • Creator Cameo: One of Cassie's pre-fight intros has her texting a friend on her smartphone. One of the random friends she can be seen talking to is labeled "Vogel," as in longtime MK developer John Vogel. Another is Beran as in Steve Beran, another longtime MK mainstay and finally, another she can get a text from is "noobde", which is, of course, Ed Boon himself (it's his name spelled backward and his real-life Twitter handle.)
  • Dead Guy Puppet: One of Johnny Cage's Fatalities involves him shoving his arm into his opponent's body and tearing off their torso. And then he starts using it in a ventriloquist act, complete with a Dramatic Spotlight!
    "Opponent": What did you do, Johnny?
    Johnny: Just what you asked!
    "Opponent": Not what I meant by "the splits"!
  • Death by Cameo:
    • One of the stages is Goro's Lair with what appears to be his corpse on his throne along with the corpse of Moloch and his ball and chain beside him.
    • In a variant, Shinnok's living head appears as a captive in a new stage.
    • One of Erron Black's intros has him throw down a sack holding Hsu Hao's head.
    • Kenshi and Ermac's corpses can be found throughout the Krypt. Strangely, Kano's skeleton can also be found despite him being a playable character.
  • Desperation Attack: Fatal Blows are cinematic super moves, replacing the X-Ray Attacks. They can only be used when your health is below 30%, and only once per match (though if they miss or are blocked, they instead go on cooldown).
  • Ditto Fighter: Shang Tsung, of course.
    • Much like in MK9, he has a command grab that lets him transform into his opponent, with full control over their moveset.
    • His Fatal Blow has him morphing into Sub Zero, Scorpion and Noob Saibot, in that order, showing off their signature abilities with each hit.
    • Part of his moveset involves momentarily morphing into Reptile, Ermac, Smoke, and Rain to perform one of their special moves. This is a subversion, however, as these fighters' moves are exclusive to Shang Tsung.
  • EX Special Attack: Return from MK9 and MKX. This time, there are separate offensive and defensive stamina meters that automatically regenerate over time, so you don't have to sacrifice your Combo Breaker to use them.
  • Eye Scream: Some characters go for the eyes in certain moves.
    • Scorpion's Fatal Blow starts with him jamming two kunai into his opponent's eyes and then precedes to yank them around by the attached chains.
    • One of Sub-Zero's fatalities ends with him throwing his opponent's head (with the spine still attached, natch) onto an ice clone's spear, taking out an eye in so doing.
    • One of Skarlet's fatalities has her run the opponent through with several spikes made from their own crystallized blood; one of them ends up in their eye. She then finishes them off by pushing that spike all the way through their skull, with the eyeball still stuck to it.
    • One of Kabal’s fatalities has him drag the opponent on the floor with his hook sword so fast their eyes fall out from the damage.
    • Jade's hits the opponent in the eye with her staff in her throw and impales the opponent through it for one of her fatalities.
    • Erron Black's Fatal Blow involves tossing two coins in the air ricocheting shots from them into the opponent's eyes.
    • Jacqui's first fatality has her run at her opponent and stick them with several small bombs, the last of which go into their eyes, before progressively detonating each one to rip off pieces of their body.
  • Fanservice Pack: Inverted, due to the more realistic artstyle, all female characters are more slender and less busty in comparison to preceding games. The lead character artist admitted to have toned down the female characters on purpose to avoid Bikini Fighters. This is strangely played straight with the male characters as in the process they show off skin more than most of the women.
  • Gold-Colored Superiority: Gold is the theme color of the game and some of the characters have gold in their attires.
  • Groin Attack:
    • Cassie has gone way past her dad in 11 and basically turned hitting her opponent between the legs into a fighting style. She kicks them, punches them, has her drone bash them downstairs, pops testicles, and even one of her fatalities ends with a massive kick to the junk so powerful that the opponent's spine and skull pop right out.
    • One of Jade's Brutalities has her split her opponent's legs with her staff then shove it straight up the middle and pop the top of their head off, along with their brain.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be:
    • In one of Scorpion's fatalities, he heats his chain until it's glowing red, and uses it to cut his opponent in two by wrapping it around them vertically, using his hellspawn powers to travel under his foe to go all the way around.
    • One of Kabal’s fatalities has him drag the opponent on the floor with his hook sword at super speed before throwing them up to circle back and chop them in half vertically.
    • Jade's first revealed fatality has her impale the opponent through the eye with her staff before cutting them in half with her boomerang to leave them hanging.
    • Raiden's second Fatality has him slice his opponent twice with a pair of lightning blades before teleporting behind them and levitating the top half of their body apart from the bottom half.
    • Geras's second Fatality has him stick his opponent in a wall of sand, grab their arm, and tear them in twain lengthwise, their organs spilling out between the two now-separate halves.
    • Jacqui's second fatality has her punch her opponent's head into their body, blow open their stomach, then toss a grenade into the gaping holes she left that spawns a reflective wall that bisects their remains vertically.
    • Noob Saibot's first revealed fatality has him disembowel his opponent, put his hand into their abdomen and send his shadow double in, which thrusts his hands out of their mouth and slowly rips them vertically in half.
    • One of Kung Luo's fatalities starts with cutting off the opponent's head which sends it flying into the air, teleporting behind them and bisecting them down the middle and ending with throwing his hat at the descending head, scalping it.
    • One of Jax's fatalities has Jax stick an explosive on his opponent's back, push them away from him as he heats up his metal arm and having the explosive detonate, propelling the opponent forward to which Jax clotheslines them, ripping them in two.
    • One of Kitana's fatalities has her trisect her opponent, separating their hips from their torso as well as decapitating them.
    • Johnny Cage's second fatality sees his shove him fist into his opponent's back before kicking the lower half of their body off...... and then proceed to use the torso as a makeshift ventriloquist's dummy.
  • Helicopter Blender: One of Sonya's fatalities has her call a chopper, fling the opponent into the air, then shoots them repeatedly until they're pushed into the blades.
  • Heroic Mime: Ignoring the literal example that Johnny Cage's costumes provide, the Krypt has you play as a quiet masked stranger who journeys to Shang Tsung's castle for one thing: all the treasure he can grab.
  • Heroic Second Wind: Invoked onto your opponent. Mercies return from Mortal Kombat 3 and like before, give about 15% of the opponent's lifebar back for a chance to continue the fight.
  • Hit Stop
    • The animations for Fatalities freeze right after the final blow, with a few exceptions like Frost's Roboticisation fatality.
    • Nailing Krushing Blow results in a slow-motion internal shot of the damage, similar to the X-Rays of 9 and X.
  • Hit Points: Another design choice lifted from Injustice 2 is the use of a numeric value to represent the character health. The fighters each have 1000 HP shown inside the health bar, which counts down as you take damage. This translates to more specific damage numbers from combos as, opposed to a percentage value, damage is calculated by a number visible to the player. In the final game this is an option that must be toggled on.
  • Immune to Flinching: A replacement for the Combo Breaker of previous Mortal Kombat installments. Now when you're airborne and have defensive meter, you can hold down and block together and your character will simply fall to the ground with armor, preventing further juggling.
  • Impaled Palm: Baraka's Fatal Blow starts with him pinning his opponent's hand against their chest with one of his blades, which he then breaks off to keep it in place.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • One of Skarlet's fatalities involves her ripping the blood out of her enemy, using her powers to turn them into spikes, and drive them back through them just to add insult to injury.
    • Sub-Zero's iconic Spine Rip fatality now has him impale his opponent upside down and from behind, rip their spine out, and then also impale their head on the same spike. One of his brutalities also recreates the Tomb stage fatality by making a floating ice block with spikes on the bottom, then uppercutting the opponent into it.
    • Shao Kahn gets into the act, as well. Among with his trademark hammer, he also utilizes spears which materialize out of thin air. Kahn's own Fatal Blow involves him dealing vicious slashes at his opponent and brutally impaling them from the back - all in a matter of seconds.
  • Inksuit Actor: Cetrion, Raiden, and Shang Tsung are all based on their voice actors' appearances - Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, Richard Epcar, and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa respectively. As of the Kombat Pack characters, the Terminator is modeled after Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  • Jump Scare: Equipping Kenshi's blindfold in the Krypt will allow you to find hidden passages and treasures on use. Unfortunately, you'll also occasionally run into loud roaring monsters that come at you within a second between when you use it and when they kill you, unless you can hit them quickly with Shao Kahn's hammer or remove the blindfold.
  • Knee Capping: The second slow-motion hit of Cassie's Fatal Blow has her shooting her opponent through the knees before sticking her gun into their gut and pulling the trigger a couple of times.
  • Lighter and Softer: Easily the lightest of the Netherrealm Games and possibly the entire series. The Fatalities are the goofiest they've been since Mortal Kombat 3, there are several instances of straight up Breaking the Fourth Wall, the game is much more colorful and stylised compared to the dark, grungy look of Mortal Kombat X, and the story, while having its dark moments, has a genuinely happy ending.
  • Like Cannot Cut Like: The "Skarlet's Pure Blood Vial" Konsummable in Towers of Time allows players to resist blood-based modifiers.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: One of Liu Kang's Fatalities involves him hitting his opponent with Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs followed by punching four holes in their bodies and ending with a fire fist that completely obliterates the opponent into bloody chunks.
  • Made of Iron: Much like the X-Rays from the previous two installments, Fatal Blows involve a series of attacks that would most certainly kill any normal person from the first hit alone yet as long as the opponent has at least one point of health after taking one, they'll get up right as rain. Of course when "Finish Him!" is called, Baraka can casually tear his opponent's face off with his bare hands.
  • Mirror Match: The intro dialogues give several explanations for it, ranging from alternate timeline counterparts to clones. Sub-Zero can end up fighting a Bi-Han from another timeline or even their own time-displaced grandfather. D'Vorah's doppelgänger, notably, is suggested to be another member of her species named A'Vital. One of Cassie's dialogue against her double even points out how meta the whole situation is.
    • Another example comes from Shang Tsung, who was usually the most logical reason for mirror matches since MKX. One of his intros implies that he could have a brother named Shang Lao.
  • Mythology Gag: In regards to the original timeline, spinoffs and other cameo appearances:
    • One of Sub-Zero's brutalities reenact the Stage Fatality for Mortal Kombat II's Throne Room stage.
    • One of Sub-Zero's and Raiden's pre-fight intros has them talk about "an unjust world with a dark knight and a caped wonder". An intro between Cetrion and Sub-Zero implies that it did happen and was not All Just a Dream.
    • Both Scorpion and Raiden have brutalities similar to their Mortal Kombat fatalities. It's also been mentioned that Sub-Zero's spine rip will also appear if you finish your opponent with an uppercut.
    • Johnny Cage's first revealed fatality alludes to the old Ascended Glitch that allowed for multiple decapitating uppercuts as well as his introductory fight scene from the movie ending in the reveal that it was an In-Universe movie shoot. He also puts back one of his lines in a similar situation from the movie: "Who hired these guys!?"
    • One of Cassie's Fatalities starts with a big Shadow Kick to her opponent's sternum, enough to drive her foot all the way out their back and take their heart with it, which might be a nod to Johnny's heavily censored Fatality from the SNES release of the original game (instead of a decapitating uppercut, he just shoved his foot through their chest and they fall over).
    • An intro animation for Cassie has her drinking from a "Mokap Mokha" cup, referencing the character introduced in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance.
    • For most of the series's recent history, Kano's appearance was based on, or inspired by, Trevor Goddard's depiction of him in the first movie. Some of Kano's customization options in this game, however, give him his original clean-shaven Bald of Evil look from the original trilogy (particularly Mortal Kombat 3).
    • One of Johnny Cage's mid-match victory animations has him sign an autographed photo and toss it at his opponent, in reference to his "Friendship" finisher from MKII.
    • One variation of the iconic "Finish him!" quote is said in almost the exact same tone as Shao Kahn did in Mortal Kombat II and Mortal Kombat 3.
    • An intro dialogue between Johnny Cage and Skarlet (about eating him and spitting his bones) references Mileena's "Man Eater" fatality from 2.
    • Liu Kang's Fatal Blow involves him summoning a dragon to chomp down on his opponent. Referencing his previous Fatality from 2 and Animality from 3.
      • One of his Fatalities is a more devastating recreation of his original Fatality, a pair of cartwheel kicks and an uppercut, with some added flourish from his nunchaku. The same fatality is also recreated with a Brutality that ends in a decapitation.
      • One of his Brualities has him drop a arcade machine onto his opponent in reference to one of his fatalities in 3, with said machine playing Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks.
    • Johnny Cage's second fatality references the Produce Pelting from his ending in Mortal Kombat 4.
    • The official launch trailer includes a remixed version of the Mortal Kombat theme from the live action films.
    • One of Kabal's brutalities has him perform his "Freaky Face" Fatality from 3.
    • Two of Jax's brutalities has him perform his "Head Clap" and "Arm Rip" Fatalities from 2.
    • One of Kitana's brutalities has her perform her klassic "Kiss of Death" Fatality.
    • One of Kung Lao and Raiden's pre-fight intros has Kung Lao say he's on a quest given to him by Damashi, only for Raiden to immediately warn him that Damashi is really Onaga.
    • And of course this Mythology gag-laden intro with Liu and Raiden with all the subtlety of Shao Kahn's warhammer:
    Liu Kang: Are we the Deadly Alliance?
    Raiden: That is Kronika's deception.
    Liu Kang: More like a recipe for Armageddon.
    • Cassie mockingly calls Frost "Elsa" during one of their pre-fight intros, which is both a Frozen joke and a Call-Back to their underground cage match in the Mortal Kombat X comic book from DC. This is further referenced in another of their intros, where Cassie asks "Didn't we have this fight?"
    • Chapter 4 of the game's Story Mode is called "Fire & Ice," which was the name of the cancelled MK Spin-Off action game that would've starred Sub-Zero and Scorpion.
    • There are many references to the 1995 live-action movie:
      • Shang Tsung's voice and likeness are provided by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, who played the character in the 1995 film and the second season of the Legacy web series.
      • Shang Tsung also de-ages to his younger self as seen in the movie, and one of his victory poses has him recreate the opening scene from the movie, where he points at the camera and proclaims "Your Soul Is Mine"!
      • One of Johnny and Liu's intros (where Johnny talks about how he admires Sonya's "strategic mind," Liu points that "its not her mind [he's] admiring" and Johnny sheepishly admits so) is lifted straight from the film as well.
      • One of Johnny Cage's customization items is called "$500 Sunglasses," a nod to Johnny's famous "Those were $500 dollar sunglasses, asshole!" quote from the movie.
      • The Krypt includes a recreation of the dining hall from the film. Kano and Goro's skeletons are also there in reference to their "underworld boss" dialogue exchange. Kano's skeleton also seems to be clutching a chicken leg like the one he ate in the film.
      • One item that can be found in the Krypt is a seemingly random bucket of water, referred to as the "Element That Brings Life." This is a callback to the bucket of water Liu Kang used to defeat Sub-Zero in the film, as well as the cryptic clue Kitana gave him about water being key to winning the fight.
      • Their movie battle is also mentioned in one of Liu Kang's and Sub-Zero's pre-fight banters:
      Liu Kang: Taking you down will be easy.
      Sub-Zero: What did Kitana tell you?
      Liu Kang: All I need is a pail of water.
      • There's also an intro with Liu Kang and Raiden where the former asks the latter if he knew "this would happen." Raiden replies that he "didn't have a clue." This was the same dialogue the two shared at the end of the first film.
      • A statue of Reptile's true form from the film can also be found in the Krypt. Interacting with it will trigger a cameo from Reptile himself.
      • One of Shang Tsung's intro dialogues with Kano has him rebuke the gangster for having "no dignity or manners" with Kano countering that he's still "the richest yobbo" in the world. This (and the exact wording of Tsung's first quote) references the dinner table scene where Shang Tsung notes that despite Kano "having no dignity or manners," he's still able to amass great wealth.
      • One of Shang Tsung's intro lines with Johnny Cage mentions that he killed Master Boyd, Johnny's mentor. This is a nod to the scene in the film where Shang Tsung posed as Boyd to get Johnny to enter the tournament, with the implication that he'd killed the real Boyd and assumed his identity.
    • One of Shang Tsung's combos is based on one from his appearance in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe.
    • The final line of Shang Tsung's ending is "Have a nice day," referencing his ending in II and Raiden's in the original, both of which end in Earthrealm's destruction.
    • A lot of the custom non-Fatality winposes for the returning characters are their winposes from the classic games (like Johnny Cage smugly folding his arms or Jax flexing his metal arms.)
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
  • No One Should Survive That: Even more so than the last two games which had the X-Ray attacks, the mid-fight Fatal Blows are basically Fatalities in everything but name, with gory moves that would kill any normal person. Stuff like blades going through a character's head and being impaled through the chest are all walked off like they're normal attacks.
  • Off with His Head!: It's not Mortal Kombat unless someone gets beheaded.
    • Scorpion has a fatality (shown in the announcement trailer being performed on Raiden) where he chops his victim's head head before yanking it back to him with his spear.
    • Both of Sub-Zero's fatalities involve decapitation: his first has him encase his opponent up to their neck in a block of ice before chopping off their head with an ice axe, picking it up and shattering it while the second has him slide into his opponent and impale his foe upside down on a spear-wielding ice clone before ripping off their head with the spine attached (his signature finisher) and impaling their head on the tip of the spear.
    • Johnny Cage has his classic uppercut Fatality back, but with a new spin: after he uppercuts his opponent for the first time and knocks off their lower jaw, the film crew requests him to do another take. The second attempt goes no better (with Johnny blaming his opponent for screwing it up) and after 19 takes, he finally knocks their head off, but only for the head to stick to his fist, and in frustration he throws it at the camera.
    • Kollector's fatality involves clawing his opponent to shreds with his bare hands before ripping their head off - and they still aren't dead afterward, as the finisher is one last smash to the chest.
    • Kano's first revealed Fatality has him pin the opponent down and headbutt them several times before the last one makes their head shatter into a million fragments.
    • The end of Raiden's second Fatality has him popping his opponent's head off with a huge surge of lightning (this is after he already ripped their torso off their legs).
    • Kotal Kahn's fatality has him summon a sacrificial altar from the ground before slamming his opponent against it and delivering a savage kick that separates their head and spinal column, placing their head in the middle of the altar. Then he summons a large idol and crushes their head with it.
    • Several characters have brutalities where they decapitate their opponent:
      • All kharacters have a universal Brutality that has them uppercut their opponents and knock off their head along with the spine.
      • Baraka splits his opponent's head with his blades.
      • Scorpion wraps his kunai chain around the opponent's head and arm and violently pulls them off their body.
      • Sub-Zero creates an ice wall behind their opponent, summons an ice axe and throws it at their opponent's neck, decapitating them.
      • Johnny Cage throws his sunglasses at his opponent who catches them and puts them on before their head suddenly explodes.
  • One-Woman Wail: This can be heard (though faintly) in the fatality and brutality themes.
  • Our Gods Are Different: This game gave a better look at the hierarchy of the gods through intro dialogue and the story mode. First are demi-gods which Raiden is a part of, gods who are the weakest overall but are the most guaranteed to survive if they lose their godhood as Raiden did when he gave his godhood to Liu Kang. Elder Gods are higher on the rankings where they watch over the realms, it is possible for a demi-god to join the ranks of the Elder Gods. And then there are beings who are more powerful and ancient than even the Elder Gods themselves like Kronika who labels herself as a Titan.
  • Overcrank: Rather than the remains of the loser being the final shot, the fatalities end with the winner nailing the final blow this way similar to the winning animations from Injustice 2 (the non-fatality win poses work this way too).
  • Physical God: Cetrion is a newly-introduced Elder God, the latter being a playable fighter (the first Elder God to be one since Shinnok). Kronika is also a god; more specifically, a Titan, who are older and more powerful than the Elder Gods.
  • Pistol-Whipping: The first slow-motion hit of Cassie’s Fatal Blow, where she slams the butt of her handgun into her opponent's jaw.
  • Prepare to Die: Kronika's greeting to you in the final fight of the Klassic Towers:
    Kronika: I have been expecting you. Your life, your name...they will be wiped from history. Come; it is time... to die.
  • Sand Blaster: An interesting variation; Kronika and her dragon Geras have no power over the Earth — that's Cetrion's bag — but they can command the Sands of Time in Kronika's hourglass. Geras mainly forms the Sands into various weapons to fight with, while his much more powerful mistress mostly uses them to warp time itself.
    • As a result of this, sand is a huge Motif for Kronika, and the game as a whole. As examples, Kronika is accompanied by geysers of sand every time she uses her time powers in story mode and in her Boss Battle, sand can be seen coming off the menu icons when selecting a mode, and sand bursts off a fighter every time they use meter.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: The cover art depicts Scorpion lunging at the viewer with dagger in hand.
  • She's Got Legs: Sonya Blade, according to Erron Black at least.
  • Shout-Out:
    Noob Saibot 1: Who are you, ghost?
    Noob Saibot 1: Return to your deathly hollow.
    • In his reveal trailer, after executing his opponent, Shang Tsung points directly at the camera and recreates the opening scene of Mortal Kombat by proclaiming: "YOUR SOUL IS MINE!"
  • Shmuck Bait: The Krypt features a puzzle where you must pull three switches to line up a three-segmented pillar. If you line up the corpse, you open a nearby door. If you line up the disassembled pieces of Sektor, you open another door somewhere nearby. Curious players are in for a surprise when they line up the skeleton last. They die right on the spot.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Skarlet is finally able to speak after MK9.
  • Tear Off Your Face: One of Baraka's fatalities consists of ripping the opponent's face off, followed by the front of the whole skull, and finally stabbing the brain out and taking a big bite.
  • Tele-Frag: One of Shang Tsung's fatalities involves opening a rift inside his opponent's chest, and allowing Kintaro to manually break free and burst out from inside.
  • That Came Out Wrong: Johnny Cage accidentally flirts with his daughter in one of their interactions.
    Johnny: What's cookin', good lookin'?
    Johnny: Wait, What?! That's not what I meant!
  • There's No Kill Like Overkill: Mortal Kombat is no stranger to going way beyond the steps needed to off a finished foe, so it's no surprise that some fatalities are brutal enough to kill someone several times over:
    • One of Skarlet's fatalities involves extracting her enemy's blood, solidifying it into sharp spikes, ramming them through her opponent, then finishing by shoving the spike that went through their head all the way through, popping out one of their eyeballs through the back of their skull for good measure. That's about three deaths for the price of one right there.
    • Scorpion's second fatality (from the debut trailer) also counts, as you probably wouldn't survive too long after having your torso completely vaporized by hellfire but then Scorpion slices off his opponent's head and spears it through just to be sure.
    • Baraka tears off your face, then a good chunk of your skull, and finally removes your brain and eats it. He also impales you on his blades, drags them up your body so that your arms are separated from the rest of your body, chops your head off, splits it in half and stabs his blades through both halves.
    • Jade pierces you through the back of your skull with her staff, then bisects you across the torso.
    • Raiden's second Fatality has him cut his opponent in half first with two blades of lightning. He separates their top half from their bottom half by telekinetically levitating them by their head before pushing enough lightning through their skull that it separates from their torso.
    • As if unloading both pistols into some poor sap's chest was not enough to kill them, Cassie Cage thrusts her boot so far between their legs, that their entire spinal column and skull rockets out of their body in a shower of gore.
    • Sonya's second Fatality has her deliver a brutal CQC arm break and elbow to the face that knocks her opponent down before summoning a robot sentry that lands on them, completely tearing their body apart. That would be enough but the sentry plants a round that goes right through their skull for good measure.
    • Cetrion's Fatality is quite possibly the most extreme example: If being crushed by several large boulders didn't kill you, being stomped by a giant surely would, but even after all that the opponent is still alive somehow, so Cetrion grows bigger than the Earth and blasts them with a massive laser beam that ought to be powerful enough to vaporize an entire city.
    • Frost's first Fatality begins with her planting an ice drill through her opponent's temple. Anything after that (which would be a second drill to open up their stomach followed by stuffing an ice bomb in their entrails that turns them into a frozen sculpture of gore) is just for style.
    • Jacqui's second Fatality kills her opponent from the first hit alone (a massive cranial punch that destroys their head) so blowing open their stomach and implanting one of her wall grenades in what's left just kicks around a dead body.
  • Theme Tune Rap: The first trailer uses the original "Immortal" by 21 Savage as the official theme song.
    • The trailer for Story Mode features "War" by T-Moe and Clearside.
    • The "Old Skool vs. New Skool" uses "Check Yo Self" by Ice Cube and "Blue Suede" by Vince Staples.
  • Torso with a View:
    • One of Cassie's Fatalities has her Shadow Kicking the opponent in the mid-section, leaving a very sizeable hole in them since it knocks out the opponent's hear as well. To aid insult to injury, she sticks her hands into the opponents body from the side and make a heart shaped gesture. Uhh... cute?
    • One of Scorpion's Fatalities opens with him fire phasing through the opponent, burning around their mid-section save the spine which barely holds then in place before he finishes them via cutting of their head and spearing them when it flies into the air.
    • One of Shao Kahn's Fatalities involves slamming his opponent hard in the stomach with his hammer to make them double over, then slamming their head through their neck and out of their back.
  • Unwilling Roboticisation: One of Frost's fatalities involves shattering her opponent's upper body and summoning a drone to take their brain and spine intact, which is then shown being transferred into a Cyber Lin-Kuei body.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: Following on Injustice 2's gear system, each character can have their equipment modified to radically change their look.
  • Where It All Began: Shang Tsung's Island, the location of the original Mortal Kombat settings in the original and current timelines, returns as the fighting arena. It also houses the Krypt, managed by Shang Tsung himself.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: As per usual, the fight pit stage is called "Black Dragon Fight Klub" and one of the new mechanics is called the "Krushing Blow". However, averted with the "Special Forces Desert Command" stage.
    • There's also character Kustomization in the game. And of course the "Kombat" in the title.
    • Subverted in Cassie's intro. The coffee she ordered (which apparently comes from Mokap's cafe) has the name "Kassie" struck out and properly written as "Cassie", implying she corrected the barista on the right way to spell her name.
  • Visual Pun: The input to grant someone Mercy makes it look as if your character is teabagging the opponent, something many players are not unlikely to do if the skill or life difference between the victor and the victim is enough that they'd grant them Mercy to begin with.
  • Your Head Asplode: In the announcement trailer, Raiden zaps Scorpion's head, causing it to explode.

    Story Tropes (SPOILERS
Since these tropes deal with the story, all spoilers are unmarked!
  • Adaptational Heroism: MK11's story mode goes to great lengths to humanize the tarkatans and defy their usual characterization as being Always Chaotic Evil; showing that even their race has innocent non-kombatants, while deconstructing the willingness of otherwise heroic characters to cut them down in droves. By extension, their leader Baraka becomes a Reasonable Authority Figure, willing to hear out Kitana's parley and even pulling a Heel–Face Turn to mend relations with Kotal and create a better future for his people.
  • Advertised Extra: Despite Dark Raiden being billed as one of the central characters, he doesn't last past the second chapter as Kronika begins messing with the timelines. Since two versions of the same god can't exist at once, he ends up disappearing before he knows what's going on. The Raiden from the past ultimately ends up picking up the slack after that point.
    • Both Young and Old Johnny were heavily advertised in trailers, and yet they both disappear from the story halfway through and do not even participate in the final battle against the forces of Kronika.
  • Alternate Self: Due to the Time Crash, numerous characters from the time of Mortal Kombat II are brought forward to encounter their future selves from X onwards. This of course leads to plenty of Mirror Matches.
  • All for Nothing: Despite the events of the story, they ultimately turn out to be pointless because Kronika is just using her forces as a distraction while she works on building up her powers to initiate a reset button and start her new era. She ends up succeeding and starts reversing time, which means every victory between either side is undone and hollow in the long run. The only fight that really matters is between the newly empowered Fire God Liu Kang (Thanks to Raiden giving up his powers) and Kronika for the fate and control of the MK timelines. And losing has this trope played depressingly straight.
    • That being said, with his knowledge of the future, Liu Kang can use his status as protector of Earthrealm to ensure that these events are in some shape or form replicated in the new timeline.
    • The game does not shy away from the trope either as the very first major loss experienced in the game's story turns out to be utterly pointless, with Sonya Blade blowing herself up alongside a massive underground cathedral, only for the Big Bad to come along and restore it all to shape, effortlessly.
  • And I Must Scream: Since Geras cannot die, Raiden immobilizes him and tosses him to the depths of the Sea of Blood. That sea is bottomless - and that means that the unfortunate guy will be falling... forever.
  • Apocalypse How: Raiden's discussion with the Elder Gods has the latter state that Kronika's plans would cause a omniversal temporal Armageddon that would annihilate those outside her desired timeline.
  • Archenemy: Many of the story arcs are about confronting these for one last time.
    • Sonya and Kano have one final tussle.
    • Scorpion and Sub-Zero face down Sektor as well as Noob Saibot.
    • Subverted by Raiden and Shao Kahn: the latter is facing against Kotal Kahn instead, while the former deals with the actual Big Bad.
      • Kitana's archenemy, Mileena, is already dead. Thus Kitana Takes A Level In Badass by going after Shao Kahn himself.
    • Johnny Cage fights Johnny Cage. He's always been his own worst enemy.
  • Asshole Victim: Sektor once again dies, but is used as a bomb to destroy the Special Forces' base. Considering this is the man hired by Quan Chi and responsible for the murder of Scorpion's clan only to be betrayed by the villains, you'd feel less sympathy for him.
  • Avengers, Assemble!: In Sonya's Klassic Tower ending, the hourglass reveals unspeakable terrors to her and she is resolved to defeat them all. So she makes gods out of Cassie, Jax, Jacqui and even Johnny. But only because Cassie insisted. And maybe she missed him a little... She calls them her "God Squad" to help her in her fight.
  • Back for the Dead:
    • The original incarnation of the Cyber Lin Kuei returns, but is destroyed when Cyrax performs a Heroic Sacrifice to overload the network and shut them all down. Sektor, meanwhile, ends up repurposed as a nuclear bomb by the Black Dragon once the tech to build more Mecha-Mooks is reverse-engineered from him.
    • Shao Kahn is killed by Kitana, to end the new Outworld Civil War.
  • Back from the Dead: With multiple timelines and other phenomena throughout the entire franchise, nobody stays dead forever. Kronika's direct control over time seems to be the explanation here, as she gathers together allies from across the timestream:
    • Shao Kahn's revival is the one with the biggest ramifications for the story: his past self's arrival inspires an alliance between (past) Raiden and Kotal Kahn. Neither of them wants to see the former Emperor of Outworld back in business.
    • Characters killed or turned Revenant in the previous two games show up in the story here, alongside presently alive characters, as their past selves. Sonya and Scorpion's prime selves are killed and their younger counterparts take their place.
  • Badass in Distress: Several heroic characters are captured and need to be rescued at various points in the story.
  • Balance Between Good and Evil: Kronika's ultimate desire is to establish a timeline where Cetrion (good) and Shinnok (evil) would battle each other for all eternity in order to establish balance between the two, and mortal forces would have to pick a side. In a twist, this form of balance is called out as perhaps the worst possible outcome. Since she's effectively trying to doom all life, mortal and god alike, in a bloody Forever War.
  • The Battle Didn't Count: Occurs a few time, where a character (usually one of Kronika's Minions) will use powers during the cutscene do basically invalidate the battle the player just won.
    • The Kung Lao / Liu Kang battle against Geras. Win, Geras just gets back up, freezes the two in mid air (Which he apparently could've done at any time), grabs the Jinsei vials and leaves.
    • The Young Jax / Jacqui battle against Cetrion. Win, and Cetrion just uses her magic to open the ground under Jacqui and forces Jax to surrender the crown, which is what she'd have just done if she'd won as she has no interest killing them.
    • Scorpion's fight against D'Vorah. Scorpion wins, but she jumps him after he defeats his past self and convinces him of the error of his ways, and kills the present Scorpion.
  • Bash Brothers: Sub-Zero and Scorpion as well as Kung Lao and Liu Kang.
  • Begin with a Finisher: Chapter 3 of story mode has Liu Kang and Kung Lao face off against Geras, who is stealing from the Jinsi. When Geras states that Kronika intends to use it to remake history, Kung Lao responds by throwing his hat at him, chopping his head off, and catching it, complete with him wiping his hat off with two fingers and smirking.
    Kung Lao: That was easy.
    [Cue Geras's head turning into sand and reforming onto his body]
    Geras: I, Geras, am a fixed point in time. With every death and rebirth, I grow stronger!
  • Big Bad: Kronika, whom Ed Boon confirms is the "First. Boss. Female. Character" in the franchise's history.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Despite being the Big Bad in most of the games, Shao Kahn is killed by Kitana by defeating him and slashing his throat; you also get to defeat him in the closing segment of Chapter 2.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Kronika is ultimately successful in causing a Time Crash, to the point of prehistoric times. From this point, the 3 endings are as follows:
    • If you won both rounds in the final fight, the demigod Liu Kang defeats Kronika and has control over the hourglass. With the help of the now-mortal Raiden helping him along the way, he was able to get Kitana to help reshape time because the distance between the final battle's timeline is "not far off" from where she was at. Kitana, however, warns Liu Kang that they should let the fate rest upon mortal's hands. It is unknown if everyone from the Mortal Kombat story, alive or dead and good or evil, will exist or not in this timeline(s). It does hint, however, that Raiden and Liu Kang will eventually cross paths.
    • If you lose one round in the final fight, the similar situation like above occurs. Except by losing 1 round, you gave Kronika enough time to rewind history back to the dawn of time. Because of how far back time was, he was unable to obtain Kitana, thus making the now-mortal Raiden guide him while he is still alive. But after Raiden's time passes, Liu Kang is on his own.
    • If you lose to both rounds, while at the dawn of time, Kronika cuts Liu Kangs head off, killing him (and Raiden). Kronika then plans to rewind time to the New Era as she sees fit, including the erased existence of Raiden.
  • Bland-Name Product: A Freeze-Frame Bonus early in the story mode shows the Special Forces base has "Aicrell" hand sanitizer dispensers, a take off of the Purell brand of soap and sanitizers.
  • Book-Ends: Provided you can't avoid the bad ending: Story mode begins and ends with someone being decapitated while on their knees. Two powerful entities are involved in the ordeal. The only difference is who's doing the cutting and who's receiving it.
  • Broken Pedestal: Happens to multiple people throughout the story.
    • Frost becomes a case of Redemption Rejection when she formally turns against Sub-Zero. She can't stand his new Bash Brothers relationship with Scorpion.
    • Jade has one with Kotal Kahn as the two are former lovers that are happily reunited. Unfortunately, Kotal has performed many Kick the Dog moments since her death that he is no longer the hero she remembers (if he ever was). However, it's downplayed in that she continues to stay by his side and believes he can still change for the better.
    • Subverted with Liu Kang and Kung Lao who are repeatedly extorted to abandon Raiden due to the events of Mortal Kombat 9. While Kung Lao is iffy about Raiden, he still refuses to abandon his mentor while Liu Kang remains completely loyal.
    • Jacqui has a case of this to older Jax but this is subverted by younger Jax being proud of her.
    • Kuai Liang (Sub Zero II) has this when he encounters Bi-Han (Sub Zero I) in his Noob Saibot identity. Noob Saibot revels in his evil power granted by Quan Chi and dismisses his brother's leadership of the Lin Kuei as weak. Sub-Zero is disgusted that not only is his brother Not Brainwashed but that he's a Card-Carrying Villain who wants to plunge the universe into darkness.
  • Cain and Abel: Noob Saibot and Sub-Zero play this role with both of them fully prepared to kill the other.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Injuries suffered by characters hailing from an earlier point in time are shown to carry over to their older counterparts, as seen when the younger Johnny Cage suffers a cut cheek in a firefight that becomes a scar on the older Johnny. Sonya Blade later exploits this to kill Kano, by blowing his younger self's brains out. The older Kano spontaneously develops the same fatal hole in his head, just before he ends up Ret Gone.
    • There cannot be two of the same gods in any timeline. Dark Raiden is erased when Past Raiden appears and realizes Shinnok's amulet will corrupt him, and he puts this knowledge to use in the finale to finally save Liu Kang: he turns Liu Kang into a god at the cost of himself, simultaneously erasing Liu Kang's Revenant and throwing a spanner into Kronika's plans even worse than the one she bent over backwards a hundred times over to avoid.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Despite having equal importance to Cassie and Jacqui in MKX, the male halves of the "Kombat Kids", Takeda and Kung Jin, are not seen or mentioned (though Takeda does show up in a few Arcade endings); particularly egregious with Takeda as he and Jacqui wound up as love interests by the end of MKX.
    • Sonya and the two Johnny Cages vanish from the story after the Black Dragon fight club, not even showing up for the final battle. While the younger Johnny was badly injured, current Johnny only took a bullet to the leg. Sounds debilitating...except they have a god on their side who can heal wounds, plus Cassie shows up fighting fit to the final showdown right after her arm was almost scythed off by a minigun. Meanwhile, Sonya has no excuse for her absence; she's uninjured the last time we see her.
    • Half of the game's story is centered on Outworld's major political players and races, but the Centaurs aren't so much as given a nod to existing and make absolutely no appearances.
  • Continuity Nod: The past characters are most likely from 9's version of the events from II, as Raiden explains that Kung Lao had just defeated Shang Tsung and Quan Chi in the tournament, along with Skarlet being present (which was just a background cameo in 9 itself), while Jax is shown to already have his cybernetic arms since he already lost his real ones to Ermac at that point. It's also likely that not everybody ended up in the same place they were in the past, hence why Kano and Erron Black are now in the Outworld arena for the same reason why Johnny, Sonya, and Jax ended up in the Special Forces base.
  • Cool Guns: Earthrealm's Special Forces are seen fending off hordes of Netherrealm demons with what looks like a restylized M4A1 carbines. On the opposite side, Kano utilizes a freaking Minigun in Chapter 8.
    • Also, Jax is seen utilizing M79 grenade launcher in battle.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Kronika and Geras show time-controlling capabilities and general physical power that can render any hero helpless almost at will (that they spare heroes continuously is All According to Plan); of course, in the fights proper, they behave like traditional kombatants and can be beaten with the most normal of attacks.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Occurs twice during the story mode.
    • For the first two fights of Sonya's chapter she has her gloves taken away and in a case of Gameplay and Story Integration has all of her moves involving them disabled. However, attempting any of said moves will result in the animation still occuring, potentially leaving players used to Sonya wide open.
    • In Scorpion's chapter, you spend the first two fights as Hanzo and - after he dies - the last two as Past Scorpion. The issue is that Hanzo and Scorpion have different equipment, leading to Scorpion lacking a few combos that Hanzo was equipped with, which can often interrupt people who were used to Hanzo's extra combos from his previous chapter with Sub-Zero.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The game makes the player assume the role of the Cage family, but their storyline ends when past Sonya takes up past Johnny's offer for a date, and Cassie isn't the focus character. The real protagonists are past Raiden and past Liu Kang.
  • Demoted to Dragon: Shao Kahn to Kronika, who summoned his past self to the present. Given who she is and Shao Kahn knowing it, he's savvy enough to not dare object or challenge her, at least not head on.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?:
    • In Sonya's Klassic Tower ending, she's shown slaying "an omni-deity from a forgotten, unpronounceably-named realm" — a mass of tentacles, teeth, and eyes that may well be Azathoth itself.
    • In Scorpion's Klassic Tower ending he discovers that Kronika was not the only titan. There are more, each more powerful than the Elder Gods. He is shown standing on the shoulders of a giant one of these beings, choking it to death with his chain.
    • All the Tower Battles end with the characters knocking Kronika into the hourglass controlling the timelines, which results in her getting skewered and bisected by glass, trying to crawl feebly to her crown only for the hourglass to start fixing itself (due to her losing control over it), having her head split open by one of the incoming shards and being sucked into it as it finishes.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The torture scene between Skarlet and Jade is one step away from rape.
  • Don't Make Me Destroy You: Cetrion gives Past Jax and Jacqui several opportunities to stand down, as both are ultimately not enough to stand in her way.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: In both Good and Normal endings, Raiden gives up his powers to Liu Kang, who becomes a Fire and Thunder God, rendering Raiden mortal. To him, this is for the best to prevent himself from killing Liu Kang and become a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • Electric Torture: The opening cutscene has Raiden using his lightning bolts to make Shinnok suffer.
  • Empty Promise: Kronika promises a lot of factions that their's would be on top in her new era. Noob Saibot is quick to notice that given how many people she made such promises to, it would be impossible for her to actually make good on all of them.
  • Enemy Mine: Raiden and Kotal Kahn begin another uneasy alliance in order to defeat Kronika and the returned Shao Kahn.
  • Eternal Recurrence: Kronika has destroyed countless other timelines, with this timeline and the previous simply being the latest two she deemed failures. It is also revealed that in every single one of the hundreds of timelines, she has circumstances conspire to make Raiden and Liu Kang mortal enemies by the end, as she fears the combined power of The Chosen One and a god.
  • Everyone Has Standards: When Young Johnny makes an immature/perverted comment to Old Johnny about Sonya. Everyone is shocked and disgusted by this, especially when Younger-Johnny doesn't apologize. His older self is ashamed of him and drags him out of the room to discipline him.
  • Everyone Hates Hades: Averted. Kharon proves to be quite benevolent and withstands torture at D'Vorah's hands while refusing to ferry Kronika's forces, and on being rescued by Scorpion, willingly helps the heroes.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Frost, Sektor and the Cyber Lin Kuei sport Kronika's colors of Gold and White Are Divine after joining her and being upgraded with Magitek. The older Jax also gets a costume switch after his Face–Heel Turn, acquiring new cyborg arms built from Kronika's tech.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Geras is immobilized by Raiden and sent sinking into the bottomless Sea of Blood, with no hope of ever escaping.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The previous game had some pre-fight intros hinting fights between original and alternate versions of some characters. In this game, some of them (such as Liu Kang and Kung Lao) do that canonically.
  • Forever War: Kronika's end goal is a timeline where Cetrion and Shinnok are locked in one of these, under the pretense of maintaining a Balance Between Good and Evil. Every time it seems like the forces of light or darkness have gained too much of an upper hand, Kronika resets everything and makes adjustments.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: Two examples.
    • At this point, the Revenants are those that died at the end of Mortal Kombat 9 who were brainwashed to serve Quan Chi and Shinnok. By the end of MKX only Jax, Sub-Zero, and Scorpion were freed, with the others just spouting out hateful comments to their opponents when they had to fight, but were otherwise empty husks. Then when they take over the Netherrealm, they go to war with Earthrealm (where most of them were born), kill Sonya, and act like Evil Is Petty childish psychos. At this point, everyone has lost sympathy for them since they're not brainwashed anymore, and their past selves have nothing but contempt for them.
    • Past Jax admits that his future self has suffered, but he tells him it's no excuse to betray his unit and his family to side with Kronika.
  • Future Me Scares Me: Liu Kang and Kung Lao have this opinion of their Revenant selves. Raiden in particular has this reaction after finding out his future self was corrupted and wanted to prevent this from happening, ironically ensuring that Dark Raiden was erased from history before the events of the game even took place.
    • Young Jax is unnerved by the idea of his future self becoming a Shell-Shocked Veteran, and is outraged that Old Jax would become so overprotective of his daughter that he would undergo a Face–Heel Turn.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Like the previous game, it's bizarre as to why many kharacters are even remotely fighting and brutally murdering each other. A particularly egregious example is this intro with Shao Kahn and Kollector
    Shao Kahn: For twenty-five years, you've remained loyal.
    Kollector: You are the one, true Kahn.
    Shao Kahn: Let us make Outworld great again.
    • The rules of time travel in this installment are that any damage inflicted to your past self automatically gets transferred to you. This is how Sonya kills present!Kano by shooting past!Kano in the head. And yet, Mirror Match happens without a problem, and Johnny Cage kicks his younger self's ass in Story Mode without being wounded himself. Granted, Cage's self inflicted wounds were neither lasting nor fatal, unlike the scar he gets later or Sonya shooting Kano in the head.
    • In a rather bizarre example, character intros and taunts often don't match up with their default appearances in-game. Notably, Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Kitana, Jade, Kabal and Scorpion are depicted as Revenants in their default attire, but act more like their heroic (or slightly less evil, in Kabal's case) human selves, whereas the previous game made it a point to alter character dialogue slightly depending on the costume used. Similarly, Raiden's personality in intros is based on his more heroic self than as Dark Raiden; this can lead to dialogues where a match between Revenant Liu Kang and Dark Raiden - very much established to be out for each other's blood - is treated as a friendly test of strength between two good-natured friends, or Revenant Kitana rebuking Noob Saibot's attempts to take her soul for her own Revenant.
    • In story mode, Raiden establishes that gods aren't capable of meeting their alternate selves because they exist partially outside of time. For this reason, the unhinged-tyrant Raiden basically vanishes from the story early on. You can still play a Raiden Mirror Match in every single installment of the series, including this one, if you want.
    • It's established in story mode that if Cassie or Jacqui's parents' past selves were killed, it would result in a Time Paradox that would erase them from existence. This doesn't apply to versus mode and towers, where the girls can brutally kill their parents with no harm happening to them.
    • Scorpion No Sells a sustained blast from Sektor's flamethrower in a cutscene. When the controlled fight begins moments later, he's forgotten how to be immune to fire.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: While not perfect, there are a few attempts to actually explain why people fight in the pre-match dialogues. Sometimes the other characters claim to be clones, are imposters, are from an alternate timeline, or are testing each other. During one Mirror Match, Liu Kang asks who his doppelganger is and is told he's his ancestor. Liu Kang thanks his Identical Ancestor for the chance to test his skills against him.
    • A more individual example occurs during Sonya's story mode chapter. She's captured and forced to fight in the Black Dragon Fight Klub, with Kano taking away her gloves to "Make things fair". For the first two matches in the chapter, Sonya is unable to properly use any moves that require her gloves.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: Cetrion's ladder ending has her realize that while "Good" should ultimately win out against evil, Mankind fights among itself too much to get this message. She sets upon them a trial by fire where the survivors will be humbled and learn their lesson.
  • Godzilla Threshold: The entire game is this for everyone:
    • For Kronika, Raiden's tone shift combined with Shinnok's defeat means having to not only act, but pull allies across multiple timelines, including Shao Kahn himself.
    • In response to the above, Raiden and Kotal Kahn immediately join forces, since neither wants Outworld back in its former ruler's hands.
    • And yet, even the forces of Light know this may not be enough, which means Outworld's heroic characters rally the long-warring Shokan, Tarkatans, and human characters, through Kotal Kahn's and Kitana's offering of peace rather than being slaves to Shao Kahn's war should Kronika's New Era come to pass.
    • The Elder Gods, notorious for doing nothing other than sitting on their asses unless the potential return of the One Being is at stake, actually give Raiden counsel when he asks for it, and point him towards Kronika's hourglass. Given this, it doesn't bode well imagining what's in store for the MK reality if she wins.
      • And even that's taken Up to Eleven with Cetrion, who isn't content with simply dispensing wisdom, and actually takes to the battlefield. Unfortunately, it's because she's Kronika's daughter and she is not on the heroes' side.
  • Grand Finale: The story mode in MK 11 is considered as this where it likely concludes the storyline that began from Mortal Kombat 9. The story ends with the current timeline erased via time travel and Liu Kang becoming the Elder God of Fire and Thunder and the new defender of Earthrealm. However, he promises that he'll rebuild the timeline and make a better one if possible. This gives a definitive end to the rebooted trilogy and allows the developers another Continuity Reboot in the future.
    • Even the final chapter in the story mode is called "End of an Era".
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Kronika is responsible for the goings-on of both timelines - including Armageddon. Believing that the balance of the universe has been skewed too much in favor of the Forces of Light and frustrated with Raiden's attempts to influence the timeline, Kronika has decided to take matters into her own hands by restarting the timeline from scratch - and placing it back on its "rightful" course. She makes an Early-Bird Cameo by appearing to Jade in her Mortal Kombat 2011 ending (albeit with a different appearance), and is implied to be the one giving Kitana a vision of the "original" timeline in MKX.
    • Within Story Mode itself, Kronika is revealed to be the cause behind Shang Tsung's habit of collecting souls. Kronika can use the accumulated lifetimes of souls to boost her powers, and specifically cultivated Shang Tsung so a ready-made stockpile of souls would be found on his island lair whenever she needs it.
    • In a few of the ladder endings it's hinted that the MK Universe's version of The Titans are behind various bad things that happened throughout the timelines. Which only amplifies Kronika's role as this when it's revealed she's one of them.
  • Hive Mind: Frost is the Hive Queen of the Cyber Lin Kuei. Raiden destroys her control of them, rendering the Cyber Lin Kuei inert.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Both past Scorpion and future Jax. Scorpion turns to the heroes' side after the death of Hanzo, seeing as Hanzo made it his goal to remake the Shirai Ryu. He is noticeably emotional seeing the Red Garden. Jax realizes the circumstances in the war between Raiden's and Kronika's forces, and betrays Kronika's side.
  • Heroic BSoD: Raiden became very close in killing Scorpion when he offers his allegiance, and gets into a fight with Liu Kang. Once he finds out that Shinnok's amulet is corrupting him, he opts to help Scorpion.
  • Heroic Second Wind: Liu Kang finds himself overwhelmed by Kung Lao, Kitana and Jade's revenants. He is on the verge of losing until he hears Raiden urging him on.
  • Hope Spot: Comes with the Bittersweet Ending, Kronika destroys the current timeline, erasing the entire cast of characters except past Liu Kang, past Raiden, and possibly past Kitana. However, Liu Kang is now a god and promises that he'll rebuild the timeline as best as he can and make a better one if possible.
  • I Hate Past Me:
    • While 'hate' is a strong word for it, the look of exasperation and frustration from Old Johnny Cage at his younger self's flippancy below speaks volumes. Especially his sexual comments towards past Sonya, which everyone, including Old Johnny, is taken aback.
    • Several of the revenant versions of the heroes have this opinion of themselves. Revenant Liu Kang in particular despises how naive he finds his past self.
    • Scorpion is positively exasperated with his past self's Revenge Before Reason tendencies. Also, the fact that his past self doesn't consider the Shirai Ryu to be real due to not being blood descendants of the original.
    • Present Jax doesn't necessarily hate his past self but believes that he is living a life of delusion. Twenty-seven years later and a lot of that time spent being dead, committing horrors that he wanted no part of, have left him jaded and emotionally distraught. Meanwhile the younger Jax inverts the trope, utterly dismayed that his older self lacked the mental fortitute to remember what's important and instead sides with Kronika for an easy way out.
    • Present Erron Black considers his past self something of a reckless idiot. He tells Kotal that he's shocked he managed to survive for so long given his pasts self's behavior.
  • Informed Attribute: Dark Raiden is called out as a terrifying tyrant and person everyone should fear. In fact, the only person he abuses is Shinnok and the fact he seems a little gung ho about Heroic Sacrifice. Cassie even says the only thing that changed is he was grumpy and wore a lot of black. He then ceases to play a role in the story as he's replaced by an earlier, nicer incarnation of Raiden.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Jacqui's ladder ending has her change Jax's history so that he never experiences the torment of the memories of every atrocity he committed while he was one of Quan-Chi's revenants. She realizes that it was because of the previous timeline that Jax met his wife while he was in rehabilitation, knows that they will never meet, and willingly erases herself from existence to give her father the happy life he deserved.
  • I Want My Jet Pack: The younger Johnny Cage gripes to his older self that he hasn't seen a jetpack in the hour since he arrived.
  • In Spite of a Nail:
    • Despite initially seeming to improve her relationship with Sub-Zero in the new timeline, Frost still grows to resent him and crave the power and recognition of being the Lin Kuei grandmaster, which leads her to betray her mentor and side with Kronika.
    • While the circumstances are slightly different, Cyrax is once again given his free will back by Sub-Zero, only to commit a Heroic Sacrifice to shut down the Cyber Lin Kuei.
    • This trope very nearly happens with Raiden and Liu Kang, almost becoming enemies once more over Raiden's growing extremism, even to the point of echoing their dialogue from the climax of Mortal Kombat 9. Raiden also nearly becomes Dark Raiden again after being tempted into wielding Shinnok's amulet, despite knowing ahead of time what it could do to him. Fortunately, Raiden has a vision that reveals that these events are an Eternal Recurrence orchestrated by Kronika, and resolves to firmly defy the trope.
  • It Amused Me: Erron Black's arcade ending has him knocking Kronika's hourglass into the bottomless Sea of Blood to make sure that nobody will ever be able to alter time again because the sheer chaos brought about by the severely messed up timeline provides exactly the type of thrills he lives for.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Geras, Erron Black, and Kotal Kahn's arcade endings. Even though the first two are villains and Kotal is an antihero at best, all three conclude that it's wrong to alter time to suit one's own whims and decide to let the Hourglass do its own thing. In Erron's ending, he even takes it one step further by dropping it into the bottomless Sea of Blood to ensure no one else tries messing with it. It's not that he wants to prevent anyone from altering time, it's that he's having too much fun enjoying the chaos brought about by the severely messed up timeline.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The prologue shows Raiden beheading Shinnok, as seen in the final scene of Mortal Kombat X's Story Mode. Raiden's words even echo much the same of what he said to Liu Kang and Kitana in that scene, ending with the phrase: "There are fates worse than death" - his parting words to the new rulers of the Netherrealm.
  • Legion of Doom: Kronika builds one by gathering every villain from across the rebooted timeline who resents the current status quo, promising them all generous kickbacks in her custom-tailored new timeline. This earns her the allegiance of Shao Kahn's Outworld empire, the Netherrealm revenants, the Black Dragon, the Cyber Lin Kuei, Noob Saibot, Frost, D'Vorah and pre-resurrection Scorpion.
  • Light Is Not Good: Kronika and her dragon Geras both follow a Gold and White Are Divine color scheme, as do Frost and old Jax after being upgraded by her Magitek. Also, Cetrion is a Goddess of Life, Nature and Virtue, and she's not on the hero's side. Even her Arcade ending, where she opposes her mother and decides to fight for Good, she was rather ruthless about it.
  • The Lost Lenore:
    • Jax's wife passed away from illness one year prior to the events of the game. Jacqui notes that Jax hasn't left their home since then, out of grief.
    • Due to circumstances, Kotal Kahn and Jade were this to each other. Jade was killed off and resurrected as a Revenant in Mortal Kombat 9 while Kotal was a prisoner for Shang Tsung's experiments.
  • MacGuffin:
    • Kronika's control over time is revealed by the Elder Gods to be linked to her giant hourglass. They instruct Raiden to find her keep and wrestle the hourglass out of Kronika's control.
    • Kronika's crown. To expedite her rituals, she seeks to energize herself by absorbing all of the souls Shang Tsung ever stole and kept on his island - or rather, their accumulated lifetimes - into a crown she can then use to boost the power of the hourglass.
  • Merging the Branches: The different timelines started in MK9 and the alternate arcade endings are revealed to have all occurred. With each being a different timeline Kronika created and then destroyed in an attempt to craft a perfect, balanced history.
  • Mirror Match: Several characters wind up fighting their own past or future selves during the story, despite the paradoxical consequences that would result from someone killing their own past self.
  • Mooks: This game carries multiple flavours of disposable henchmen and the plot is not kind to any of them. Whether it's the Special Forces, Black Dragon thugs, Tarkatan warriors, Kotal Kahn's followers, Shao Kahn's soliders, Shaolin monks, undead guardians, Cyber Lin-Kuei or Netherrealm demons, they all get mowed down by the main cast with regularity.
  • Multiple Endings: Story mode has three different endings depending on how well you do on the Final Boss, alongside the standard individual character arcade endings:
    • Good Ending: If you win all rounds, Kronika is defeated after rewinding time to the prehistoric era. With Raiden's urging, Liu Kang summons Kitana to shape time with him, at which point Raiden bids the two new gods of time farewell, for now.
    • Normal Ending: If you lose a round, Kronika rewinds the universe to the dawn of time, leaving only Liu Kang and a now mortal Raiden to build a new future.
    • Bad Ending: If you lose all rounds, Kronika decapitates Liu Kang, and resumes her plan to reshape the timeline as she sees fit.
  • My Future Self and Me: Characters from the past are summoned to the present, leading to some interesting banters. Johnny Cage, in particular, detests his younger less mature self.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • A pre-fight interaction has Raiden surprised that Sub-Zero knows of what he's talking about.
      Raiden: I dreamt of a strange and unjust world.
      Sub-Zero: With a Dark Knight and a Caped Wonder.
      Raiden: How could you know my dream?
    • Liu Kang intervening to save Scorpion from Raiden plays out very similar to the events of Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. It would be a call-back in the main series were MK Vs DC not a non-canon entry.
    • The scene that happens shortly after Scorpion gets saved has Raiden realizing that he and Liu Kang are doomed to fight in all of Kronika's timelines. This revelation is framed as a Flashback starting from the ending of Mortal Kombat 9 and becomes something of a Clip Show where Raiden and Liu Kang end up going through the same exact fight sequence, with the only difference being costume and background changes representing every game where both characters were part of the roster.
    • Several characters paraphrase the line "choose your destiny."
    • Kronika turns the Trope Namer on its head when she declares "Shang Tsung's souls will be mine."
  • Near-Villain Victory: Kronika is not stopped in time to prevent the initiation of the timeline reset. Regardless of what happens in the final fight, she will have at least managed to initiate rewinding to the beginning of life, if not time itself. So regardless of the outcome, Liu Kang will have to reshape history and all the previous characters' actions have been erased. Should you fail at the final battle her victory is brought to bear and she kills Liu Kang and initiates the timeline reset to the outcome she was desiring.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: Averted. There doesn't seem to be any issue with time travel duplicates bumping into each other. Johnny's younger self even complains to his current version that the future isn't what he was hoping for. Played very straight for Raiden, due to the timestream affecting gods differently than mortals — when the younger Raiden appears, Dark Raiden abruptly disappears and is never seen again. This also happens to Revenant Liu Kang once his past self gains the power of a god, which involved Raiden effectively fusing the two together but leaving the Past self in control.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: In both flavors:
    • Kronika has sent past versions of the Kombatants, including Raiden, into the future. Throughout the story, Raiden's been on the edge of becoming Dark Raiden, something he doesn't want to happen, and came to blows with Liu Kang in every timeline. However, with Shinnok's amulet corrupting him, he discovers Kronika had been conspiring to have the two fight. Not only did Raiden break this cycle, he effectively merged with Liu Kang and defeated Kronika for good. Honestly, this was poor planning on her part.
    • And speaking of Raiden being on edge, Cetrion had given Raiden legitimate advice because he fears of becoming Dark Raiden. If Cetrion remained passive throughout the story, Raiden wouldn't overcome his fear of becoming Dark Raiden. Meaning she is effectively responsible for foiling her own mother's plans because of that one advice.
  • Nonstandard Game Over: If you lose to Kronika at the end of Story Mode, she replicates the opening scene by beheading Liu Kang before beckoning the beginning of the New Era.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Raiden goes to meet with the Elder Gods, which has been two games of him getting nothing but the runaround as well as outright refusal to intervene with one small exception. The Elder Gods give sensible advice and crucial details as well as have one take the field. It's a sign of how dire things are. Sadly, one is a Sixth Ranger Traitor.
    • Kotal Kahn acts sanely and rationally by teaming up with Raiden despite his usual Ax-Crazy Hot-Blooded Noble Demon tendencies. He also willingly gives up the crown to Kitana.
  • Offered the Crown: In Chapter 7, Kotal Kahn is crippled by Shao Kahn, who is subsequently killed by Kitana. As a result of this and Kitana uniting the Shokan and Tarkatans with the rest of Outworld's forces, Kotal Kahn crowns her as the new Kahn.
  • Off with His Head!:
    • At the beginning of the Story Mode, we're finally shown how Raiden decapitates Shinnok, leading to The Stinger of X.
    • Kung Lao decapitates Geras with a hat throw during their first encounter. Unfortunately, it doesn't take.
  • Oh, Crap!: Shinnok briefly shows this expression in the prologue when he realizes what Raiden is about to do to him.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Jax's wife helped him through the trauma of his time of being a revenant, bringing him back from the brink of despair. Her death shattered Jax, and reduced him to a recluse who allies himself with Kronika after she promises to rewrite his history. Whenever someone loses their Living Emotional Crutch, they don't take it very well.
    • Kitana's ladder ending has her use the Hourglass to recreate Edenia, but her joy is short-lived because she is completely unfamiliar with Edenia's traditions, languages, and cultures, having not grown up Edenian and having been forbidden to learn about it by Shao Kahn.
  • Redemption Earns Life: Baraka and the Tarkatans, big time. Baraka himself had previously perished in a flashback during X: he was slain by D'Vorah on Kotal's orders during his coup against Mileena. During 11, it's revealed that shortly after the death of Mileena in the ensuing Outworld Civil War, Kotal Kahn committed genocide upon the entire Tarkatan race for their savagery and Undying Loyalty to the previous regime. When Baraka and his tribe are reborn thanks to the Time Crash, Kotal wants them all exterminated once again, only to be called out by Jade. Kitana, meanwhile, successfully parleys with Baraka and convinces him to help pull a Big Damn Heroes-esque rescue to save Kotal from execution at Shao Kahn's hands, in order to secure a better life for his people. In the end, after Kitana herself is christened as a new Kahn, the Tarkatans are welcomed into a new, peaceful confederacy of Outworld's races.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Like Kotal Kahn before him, Kollector is introduced as a character that has always been part of the Outworld power structure. Somewhat Justified as he's literally just a tax collector - and only becomes important because he's one of Shao Kahn's last loyalists.
  • Restraining Bolt: Cyrax is programmed with behavioral inhibitors that keep him loyal to Sektor. Disabling those inhibitors is a major part of Sub-Zero's plan to take down the Cyber Lin Kuei factory.
  • Ret Gone:
    • The entire current timeline is erased from existence via time travel, only leaving a fully-revived Liu Kang, past-Kitana (good ending) and a now-mortal Raiden to oversee the creation of a new timeline.
    • If anything happens to the past incarnations of kombatants, it would jeopardize their present selves - as well as their children. Sonya manages to pull this on Kano, blowing his past self's brains out and thus erasing his present self from reality. Kano himself threatens to wipe Cassie out of existence before this by holding a gun at Johnny's younger self.
  • Ripple Effect Indicator: In Chapter 6, Past Johnny gets grazed with a bullet to the cheek, causing a scar to Present Johnny. The more vain iteration does not take it well.
    Present Johnny: [feels scar] Ooh, that's freaky like Friday.
    Past Johnny: They shot our face, Johnny... THEY SHOT OUR FACE!
  • Samaritan Relationship Starter: As with their prime relationship back in 9, Past Sonya eventually warms up to Past Johnny as he steps up to being a hero; in chapter 8, when both are trapped in Kano's fight club with assured death no matter the victor, Johnny helps them stall for time by allowing Sonya to fight him (and refuses to take a dive per her request, knowing Kano will see right through it and kill them). This allows enough time for the cavalry to arrive; as Sonya eventually saves his life, Johnny sincerely apologizes for being an asshole to her and asks her to dinner sometime to get to know each other, as they are aware they eventually spawn Cassie. Sonya agrees, as long as it's platonic to start.
    Sonya: Patience is a virtue, Cage.
  • Sequel Hook: While the story seemingly serves as the Grand Finale of at least this timeline, a few of the ladder endings hint at an Greater-Scope Villain even bigger than Kronika: The Titans.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The Special Forces efforts to destroy Shinnok's citadel in the Netherrealm is instantly undone by Kronika's time manipulation. This means that Sonya Blade died for nothing.
    • All of the battles up until the final one against Kronika since all of time is erased and has to be restarted.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Jax Briggs is revealed in the first chapter to have been honorably discharged from the Special Forces due to his physical and mental trauma, unable to cope with the stress caused by losing his arms, dying, becoming a revenant, and losing his wife to sickness a year before the story begins. Living alone on his farm, Jax is consumed by the knowledge that his daughter is out there fighting supernatural monsters, and being unable to call her during the temporal merge causes him to suffer a panic attack. His PTSD and fear for Jacqui makes him susceptible to Kronika's charisma, leading to a Face–Heel Turn under the false promise that, in the New Era, the world will be peaceful and his daughter will never have to fight. The younger Jax isn't impressed, but the older Jax insists that he's being a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • SNK Boss: Even in the grand Mortal Kombat tradition of cheap final bosses, Kronika stands out. She's immune to all your special moves, Fatal Blow, and most of your combos, and her own moves are so devastating that if she can land a single one, you'll be lucky if you only lose half your health. Luckily, she's got absolutely no idea how to deal with jump kicks or uppercuts.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: In Chapter 6, two Cyber Lin Kuei hold Past Sonya captive by clasping both of her arms as Present Johnny fights Sektor and Past Kano.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending:
    • This is the first Mortal Kombat to have any sense of closure starting from Darker and Edgier Deadly Alliance to X. Liu Kang and Raiden's arc ends on a better note than the betrayal-induced trauma both characters have had to deal with, with the latter staying uncorrupted. It also gives Scorpion's and the Cage and Briggs families' character arcs a much-needed closure to their respective storylines. Kitana puts a permanent end to Shao Kahn's tyranny, and Jade gets a heartfelt reunion with Kotal Kahn.
    • That all being said, it remains to be seen if any of that will be preserved in the new timeline Liu Kang is tasked with constructing.
  • Take That!: One of Johnny Cage vs Erron Black references the infamous "good guy with a gun" idea, with Erron dismissing it with a "that never works, Cage".
    • Shao Kahn says that he and Kollector will make "Outworld great again."
    • A more serious one is that Jax, if handed omnipotent power, prevents slavery from ever happening.
    • Played with as Johnny Cage cites Ronald Reagan as an actor who made a difference in history, which Geras reluctantly admits was true, though his "exception that proves the rule" comment implies that he's of the opinion he probably shouldn't have.
  • Temporal Duplication: Because of the time-travel shenanigans involved as the result of the Big Bad messing with time, several characters meet up with their past selves. Whatever affects a character's past self affects their present self as well.
  • Tempting Fate: In their first encounter, Kung Lao decapitates Geras with a hat throw. He even remarks to Liu Kang: "That was easy"... only for Geras to regenerate and start fighting the heroes proper.
  • The Chosen One: Liu Kang once again takes this role, but with a twist: Kronika chooses revenant Liu Kang to use the soul of his past self to defeat Raiden. The past Liu Kang however, merges with his revenant self and Raiden to become a Fire God, thus is the one who defeats Kronika.
  • Time Crash: This is Kronika's end goal, restarting history while wiping Raiden from existence so she can enforce a balance between light and darkness. She succeeds in the first half of the plan before Liu Kang defeats her.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: While the Revenants warranted sympathy in MKX due to being turned into undead slaves of Quan Chi and Shinnok, and reasonably point out to Raiden that their deaths were caused by him, this game doesn't give them any excuses for how utterly cruel and twisted they have become. They not only blame Raiden for leading them to their deaths, but extend that blame to others associated with themselves as well note . They display Green-Eyed Monster tendencies note , and act like victims despite committing horrible and heinous acts while doing so, making them seem like hypocritical and childish assholes. The sole exception being Revenant Kabal, who doesn't linger on it much like the others do.
    • Revenant Liu Kang and Jade are the biggest examples among them due to how depraved and sadistic they have become. Jade being a condescending bitch who mocks Pasts!Kung Lao and Jax over their present selves deaths and cites having followed Kitana as another reason for her death. Liu Kang actively goes against his archetype, going so low as to not only kill his former ally but even capture his past self and use Shinnok's magic to devour his soul as a means to strengthen himself and take revenge on Raiden. Even Revenant Katana and Kung Lao immediately turn their hostility toward Fire God Liu Kang., both blaming him for their inadequacies.
    • Older Jax after siding with Kronika. While it's true that he's essentially traumatized from his time as a Revenant and losing his wife while constantly worrying if his daughter will make it home each time she goes into battle, Jax's motives appear to be quite overprotective, believing that Jacqui only enlisted to honor him. Even his younger self is disgusted by how disgraceful and pathetic he's being by trying to selfishly create a alternate version of the timeline where he retires as an honored war hero and Jacqui doesn't enlist. While he does repent for his actions after Raiden tells him the truth, it still doesn't excuse Jax's actions.
    • Frost already was a Jerkass back in the original timeline, the new timeline and this game have it Up to Eleven. She has become so arrogant and twisted that she is willing to capture and kill her former clan members and turn them into cyborgs just to spite Sub-Zero. She keeps stating that no one realizes her potential, however her problem is not her power but her impatience and apathy towards others and fails to realizes that every time. Sub-Zero in one of his intros even says she would have been Grandmaster if she had better judgement and been more patient, but Frost had become too consumed by her desire for recognition and power to even care.
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • The announcement trailer spoils the presence of two Scorpions, human and hellspawn - with the human one being murdered.
    • The first bit of story revealed is the opening cutscene with Dark Raiden torturing and beheading Shinnok, freely spoiling The Stinger of X.
    • The "Old Skool vs. New Skool" trailer spoils Jax joining Kronika's army.
    • The launch trailer spoils the creation of Fire God Liu Kang in its final few seconds.
  • Unwilling Roboticization: The Cyber Lin Kuei are back, and not every one of them is a willing subject. Cyrax, in particular, resisted being cyberized, but failed, and hopes that Sub-Zero can find a way to reverse the procedure as he had returned from being a Revenant.
  • Villain Ball: Kronika reveals that the combination of Liu Kang and Raiden is the only threat to her power and then separates the two by capturing Liu Kang and allowing the Revnant version to absorb his past self's soul. At that point, Kronika was almost unstoppable — even if the allied forces reached her Keep, they would have to fight through an entire Netherrealm army, find her Hourglass, then get through her Revenant guardians and Cetrion, all while Kronika grew ever closer to resetting time. But she and the evil Liu Kang couldn't resist sending him out to find and kill Raiden one last time. By doing so, Raiden merges himself and both Liu Kangs, creating an entity more powerful than all of Kronika's forces combined that who knows exactly where the Hourglass is and how much time remains, and is immune to the time reversal once it starts.
  • Wanting Is Better Than Having: Kano's ladder ending initially has him use the Hourglass to give him everything he could ever want. After finding this boring, he uses it instead to place things he wants just out of reach. He might not win all the time, but the wins he does get, he savors.
  • Wham Line:
    • "This... this has happened before...", which Raiden says as Liu Kang is about to come to blows with him again. However, Raiden means it more than just that one incident: as it turns out, in every single timeline Kronika steers events so that Raiden and Liu Kang come to blows, ultimately resulting in Liu Kang dying. Realizing this dissuades Raiden from fighting Liu Kang, ending the cycle.
    • Followed almost immediately by Kronika revealing that it's not the first time Raiden has realized what she was doing, and that it has never stopped her before.
    • When Raiden transfers his power to Liu Kang, we don't know the full extent of what he's done until the title for the last chapter appears... End of an Era: Fire God Liu Kang.
  • Wham Shot: From the announcement trailer. Dark Raiden brutally beats and kills Scorpion, only to be approached and attacked by another Scorpion.
  • What Does She See in Him?: Amusingly, Past Sonya asks this of her prime self to Cassie, as she is understandably put off by vain Johnny Cage of the past. Cassie assures her that Johnny grows up and into responsibility as both military leader, husband, and father, from the influence Sonya had on him.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Certain characters will have this reaction. Notably Raiden and Jax:
    • Raiden does not accept Scorpion's plea to form an alliance, which escalates into a fight with Liu Kang, who didn't believe the fact that his Revenant self hated Raiden and became an extremist. Once Raiden figures out Shinnok's amulet was indeed corrupting him, he resolves to prevent Dark Raiden coming to be again.
    • Jacqui and past Jax towards present Jax for being persuaded to join Kronika's side. Past Jax in particular despises how his present self has hit rock bottom and joins Kronika in the name of protecting Jacqui, while he himself is proud of his future daughter for fighting for Earthrealm.
    • When Past Sonya discovers how her present self died in chapter 1, she angrily calls out Cassie for abandoning her. Cassie fires back, however, by pointing out that she was following Sonya's orders at the time and tells Lieutenant Blade to read the entire report. After doing so, Sonya acknowledges she was wrong to lash out.
    • When Past Jade sees that Kotal intends to execute an entire Tarkartan village (including women and children), she intervenes. When trying to talk him down fails, she takes on her lover in a fight. After winning, she tells him that his heart has been hardened since she knew him.
  • Why Am I Ticking?: After reverse-engineering the cyborg-ninja schematics from his body so that Kronika can manufacture her own Mecha-Mooks, Sektor is repurposed as a nuke by the Black Dragon and used to destroy the Special Forces base.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Played straight and inverted. Cetrion states that the time merger has weakened the Elder Gods. She, an Elder God herself, is weakened to the point where she is able to fight most of the Mortal Kombat cast through the story - and not completely Curb Stomp them. Even so, depending on the player, Jacqui or Past Jax will equip Kronika's crown when fighting her just to be sure.

Raiden: I look forward to meeting again, in the next timeline.
Liu Kang: Then I will not say goodbye.

Alternative Title(s): MK 11

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