The Story So Far: Mortal Kombat X

From the past to present, join us as we run up on the bloody conflicts of the Mortal Kombat universe.

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Mortal Kombat X is scheduled to release this coming Tuesday, and given its non-linear story that jumps around across a 25 year timespan, there is good reason to familiarize yourself with what happened in the previous game. So let’s jump right in!

Warning: This article contains massive spoilers from Mortal Kombat (2011).

General Facts

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  • Mortal Kombat X is a narrative-sequel to the rebooted timeline from Mortal Kombat (2011), a game that told a condensed but altered version of the events of Mortal Kombat 1-3 through Raiden's point-of-view.
  • Two major realms in the Mortal Kombat universe are the Earthrealm (Good), and the Outworld (Bad). There are other realms besides these, but these two are the most important.
  • All of the realms are governed by Elder Gods who have complete control of all matters.
  • The Mortal Kombat tournament is the result of an honor code established by the Elder Gods for competing realms to remain balanced. If a realm is able to score ten consecutive victories against an opposing one, they earn the right to invade that realm. Anyone who violates this code will be violently punished.

So What Happened During Mortal Kombat (2011) Then?

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  • Mortal Kombat (2011) continues after the events of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon where both the forces of light and darkness have been destroyed. The evil despot Shao Kahn fights against Raiden, the Thunder god and protector of Earthrealm. Unfortunately, Raiden is about to lose.
  • Raiden uses the power that remains in his magical amulet to send a cryptic message to his past self telling him “He must win.”

Back To the Past (Mortal Kombat)

  • Time flashes back to the Mortal Kombat tournament hosted by Outworld sorcerer Shang Tsung in the first game. Raiden sees visions from his future-self that indicates that the winner of the tournament must be Liu Kang. Working in the background to ensure this result, Raiden attempts to rewrite history to prevent Armageddon.
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  • Raiden tries to convince Scorpion not to seek vengeance against Bi-Han, the first assassin to hold the code name of Sub-Zero. However, an evil Netherrealm sorcerer named Quan-Chi manipulates Scorpion into killing Sub-Zero anyway.
  • Despite this failure, Raiden succeeds in convincing an assassin named Cyrax into sparing the life of movie star martial artist Johnny Cage in the next round.
  • Liu Kang succeeds in defeating Shang Tsung and reigning tournament champion Goro. But Raiden's amulet continues to deteriorate, showing that the future remains unchanged.

Second Shot (Mortal Kombat II)

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  • Shao Kahn orders Shang Tsung to be executed due to his failure to achieve a tenth victory for the Outworld in the Mortal Kombat tournament. But Shang Tsung convinces Shao Kahn to hold a second tournament in the Outworld.
  • Kuai Liang, the brother of Bi-Han and the second man with the codename of Sub-Zero, and Smoke are pursued by their assassin clan to be converted into cyborgs. Raiden alters the timeline by intervening, but saves Smoke instead of Sub-Zero.
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  • Raiden tells Kitana, Shao Kahn’s daughter, that she isn't the daughter of Shao Kahn. She then discovers the existence of Mileena, a mutant clone of herself created by Shang Tsung. Kitana accuses the sorcerer of trying to replace her, but then learns that Shao Kahn actually ordered Mileena's creation and that he killed her real father. This causes Kitana to join forces with the Earthrealm warriors.
  • Raiden tampers with the timeline by substituting Kung Lao for Liu Kang in the final round of the tournament against Shao Kahn. But this results in the death of Kung Lao.
  • Liu Kang mortally wounds Shao Kahn, but the timeline remains unchanged.

Last Chance (Mortal Kombat III)

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  • Shao Kahn enters an alliance with the Netherrealm and has Quan Chi resurrect his dead wife, Sindel. This gives Shao Kahn the ability to access and invade the Earthrealm in order to fuse it with Outworld. The Earthrealm warriors catch wind of this and attempt to stop him.
  • Raiden prevents the death of Johnny Cage again by defeating Motaro, and discovers that Quan Chi is creating a spell that will bring billions of Earthrealmers under Shao Kahn’s control. He, along with Liu Kang, consults the Elder Gods for help, but they refuse to intervene.
  • A cyborg Sub-Zero fights Noob Saibot, a resurrected wraith version of Bi-Han, while an Earthrealm warrior named Nightwolf successfully prevents Quan Chi from completing his mind-control spell.
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  • While Raiden and Liu Kang are consulting the Elder Gods, a powered-up Sindel murders nearly all the Earthrealm warriors. Quan Chi then resurrects them and other Earthrealmers who perished in the past, as slaves to the Netherrealm.
  • Nightwolf defeats Sindel, but at the cost of his own life.
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  • Raiden realizes that the message "He Must Win" refers to Shao Kahn. This is because if Shao Kahn is allowed to merge both Outworld and Earthrealm, the Elder Gods will punish him for violating the Mortal Kombat code.
  • Raiden accidentally kills Liu Kang who blames him for the death of his Earthrealm friends.
  • In a final confrontation, Raiden surrenders to Shao Kahn, which pushes the Elder Gods to grant him the power to kill Shao Kahn for breaking the code.
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  • Raiden vows to rebuild Earthrealm with Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade. But then it is revealed that Quan Chi is an agent of Shinnok, a disgraced former Elder God who plans to take advantage of the chaos caused by Shao Kahn to conquer Outworld and Earthrealm in the name of the Netherrealm. This new evil plot is what starts off the beginning of Mortal Kombat X.

And with that, you now have all the plot details you need to start Mortal Kombat X when it releases tomorrow April 14, for PS4, Xbox One, Windows PC, iOS, and Android. If you're looking for either the PS3 or Xbox 360 version, you need to wait a little while longer, as those versions don't ship until June 2.

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