|YMMV • Radar • Quotes • (Funny • Heartwarming • Awesome) • Fridge • Characters • Fanfic Recs • Nightmare Fuel • Shout Out • Plot • Tear Jerker • Headscratchers • Trivia • WMG • Recap • Ho Yay • Image Links • Memes • Haiku • Laconic|
The biggest reveals about the game were: a massive Animation Bump, deeper and more personalized Character Customization deals, the return of some well-loved characters that had been absent from MKX (Skarlet, Baraka, Shao Kahn, Kabal, Jade, Noob Saibot, etc.) and the arrival of new ones (Kronika, Geras, Cetrion and Kollector), etc. As of 2020, the cast has been upgraded via DLC's (including canon characters like Shang Tsung, Nightwolf and Sindel and Guest Fighters like The Joker, Terminator-800 and Spawn), and ESPECIALLY a DLC-only addition to the Story Mode named MK 11: Aftermath, which adds several chapters to said Story Mode.
Story-wise the game deals more with the concept of Time Travel, already introduced in 9 and alluded to heavily in X. The Big Bad, Kronika, is a powerful Titan who has been watching over the current timeline and wants it to beat to HER tune, rather than how it already has; and for such purposes, she and her collaborators Geras and Cetrion (the latter being an Elder Goddess and her own daughter) get ready to mess around with the cast and their actions, including bringing many characters from other points in the story... Which may or may not be her perdition, since these characters have their own minds and intentions regarding their new roles.
- Amazon Chaser: Many of the men in the cast are this. Of special note is Kotal Kahn, who absolutely adores his very physically and emotionally strong lady who's none other than Jade.
- Apocalypse How: Kronika wants a Universal Class 6, but only so she can create a better one, at least in her own vision of "better".
- Deal with the Devil: Several characters align with Kronika for her promise of creating a better history for them in the new world she will create. It becomes pretty soon obvious that someone is gonna get screwed, if not all of them, if she succeeds. And then several of the people she brought back decided to go against her. . .
- The Dragon: Shao Kahn allies him and his Outworld armies with Kronika under the promise of a new, greater Empire in the Universe Kronika desires to create.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: If the player, well, plays his/her cards right when it's time to fight Kronika... Liu Kang and Kitana will finally be happy together.
- Some of the (non-canon) Tower Endings are made of this. i.e., Jax manages to end racism (though one's only shown the "Africans and whites" side) and Johnny deliberately recreates his life as a real star and a washed-up one, so he can learn from his mistakes and become a better person.
- And then. . . In May 2020, the DLC additional Story Mode, Aftermath becomes a a Cruel Twist Ending. Right after Liu Kang and Raiden's victory over Kronika, as they're about to use the Hourglass of Time to fix the messes caused by her. . . a portal opens and three warriors arrive to stop them. One of them is a younger Shang Tsung, atop of his power and his game; the others are the Magical Native American Nightwolf and Raiden's fellow God Fujin. . . It turns out that the good guys committed a 'serious mistake when they killed Kronika without retrieving her Circlet, which let her control the Hourglass' power, so it's time for an Enemy Mine with Tsung himself so they can get the Circle itself. Whether Liu Kang or Shang Tsung becomes the ultimate winner of the whole deal, it will depend on the result of the Final Battle in Aftermath itself.
- Enemy Mine: Surprisingly, Raiden and Kotal Kahn seem to be about to pull this. And it's actually done by Jade, Baraka and Sheeva. And the DLC Story Mode Expansion will brings one between Liu Kang, Raiden and Shang Tsung.
- Face Heel Turn:
- At Chapter 4, Frost reveals herself as the leader of the Cyber Lin Kuei and aligned with Kronika, saying Sub-Zero was holding her back and Kronika will fulfill Frost's dreams.
- Jax also joins Kronika's side, after she promises to restart the time line in a way better benefits him and his family - and especially Jacqui, since his wife/Jacqui's mother Vera died off-screen. He isn't too happy to do so, however, and returns to the heroes' side once Raiden explains Kronika's objectives involves keeping the forces of light and darkness fighting forever..
- Fusion Dance: In the end of his chapter, Raiden fuses with both past and future Liu Kang after the latter absorbed the first's soul, since he realized killing Liu Kang always lead to a doomed timeline Kronika manages to restart.
- Future Me Scares Me: The trailers and then the Story Mode include Liu Kang and Kung Lao meeting their Revenant selves and being... displeased.
- Additionally, when a Past Jax arrives to the plot and finds out about Future Jax's Face Heel Turn, he is just as displeased - if not even more.
- Groin Attack: In a Story Mode trailer, Johnny deals one to MK3!Kano... in slow motion and with close-ups included... Logically, it's included in the Story Mode and it's just as awesome.
- I Fight for the Strongest Side: Sheeva refuses to join Kotal because he and Shao Kahn's conflict is in a stalemate, so she simply sees no advantage in forming an alliance with either side.
- Keystone Army: In Chapter 11, the Cyber Lin-Kuei are deactivated by Raiden by frying Frost's brain, since she commands them via radio.
- Multiple Endings: Depending in how the player beats the final boss, the Story Mode can have these:
- Boss beaten in two rounds: Kronika only manages to reverse time until the age of the dinosaurs, and Liu Kang decides to reshape the timeline with Kitana at his side, since Raiden says he must have a partner.
- Boss beaten in three rounds: Kronika manages to reverse time until the dawn of the Universe. Raiden decides to help Liu Kang in shaping the new Universe as long he can, since he's now a mortal.
- And then, Aftermath play ths straight again since its end will depend on whether Liu Kang or Shang Tsung wins its Final Battle.
- Not Quite Dead: Noob Saibot reveals he never was really destroyed by the Soulnado thanks to Quan-Chi's design.
- Official Couple: Surprisingly, it's revealed that Jade and Kotal Kahn were together in the past, and when she died she became his Lost Lenore.. And then the Jade brought by Kronika still loves Kotal, and he loves her back just as much. . .
- The Starscream: Frost betrays Sub-Zero in favour of Kronika because she believes he is holding her potential back, but Kronika will help her fulfill it.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Whether Kitana and Liu Kang play this straight or not, like in the whole franchise, it heavily depends on the circumstances. In their Kombat Tower endings? Yes (in Liu's ending both of them, Bo´Rai-cho, Raiden and Kung Lao become full-blooded Elder Gods, but in exchange he and Kitana are separated; in Kitana's, she chooses Edenia and then the Outworld over everything so she can make them flourish). In the Story Mode? It depends on whether Kronika is beaten in two rounds or not, and if she is, Liu Kang and Kitana finally can be and stay together.
- Subverted by Jade and Kotal Kahn. While she was The Lost Lenore to him after her murder in 9, when her younger and non-revenant self is brought into the story, she and the Kotal of this line get back together.
- Take a Third Option: Each Kombat Tower ending features the chosen character pondering what to do with the Hourglass of Time after defeating Kronika, and some of them invoke this trope. i.e., Jade is faced with choosing between enthroning her best friend Kitana or her beloved Kotal as Kahn of the Outworld - with Kotal's encouragement, she decides to restore neither of them, and uses the Hourglass to both revive her parents (thus ensuring that she and Kitana will be raised by them) and rebuild Edenia. (Though she eventually ended up as Kronika's sort-of Avatar and, after challenging and eliminating Cetrion and Shinnok, became the Protector Goddess of Eternia)
- Time Travel: The bread and butter of the story. Technically, some Mirror Matches had implied its existence: now it's a vital part of the plot, since the Big Bad Kronika is a Goddess who claims that the timeline has been messed with and she wants to "set it straight".
- Victorious Loser: Shinnok considers himself as one, and he tells so to Dark Raiden before the other subjects him to the infamous Fate Worse Than Death the players saw at the end of MKX's Story Mode.
- Would Hurt a Child: Kotal isn't willing to offer the Tarkatans any mercy in the past because in the future they followed Mileena in her rebellion. No matter how young they are. Fortunately, Jade stops him from wiping them out.
- Your Soul Is Mine
- In Chapter 11, Revenant Liu Kang does it to himself so he can be strong enough to defeat Raiden. Predictably, he fails to defeat Raiden in the end.
- In Chapter 12, Kronika absorbs Cetrion so she can strong enough to defeat Fire God Liu Kang. Predictably, she fails to defeat Liu Kang in the end.
- In Aftermath, if Shang Tsung wins the Final Battle, he kills Liu Kang like this. And not before he does it to Shao Kahn, Sindel and Kronika in the Aftermath story itself.
- Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Shang Tsung is the one who kills Kronika this time around (right after doing the same to Shao Kahn and Sindel). This is in fact invoked by Fire God Liu Kang, to get rid of Kronika before taking the Crown from Shang Tsung.
- Batman Gambit: Fire God Liu Kang knows that Shang Tsung is going to get the crown, and betray everyone in his way - so he acts as if he can't leave the Hourglass' side. In doing so, he makes Shang Tsung believe he's one less rival he'll have to deal with, and simply waits for Shang Tsung's plan to be near fruition - then shows up to take the Crown from him.
- Crazy Prepared: The reason why Liu Kang stayed on the sidelines until the end of the story, he is smart enough to see Shang Tsung betraying his allies once it's all said and done. Thus, allowing Liu Kang to tie up loose ends.
- Eviler Than Thou: Shang Tsung, full stop. As Kronika, Shao Kahn, and Sindel found that out the hard way.
- Guile Hero: Liu Kang. In fact, he has the audacity to outsmart Shang Tsung by staying behind guarding the Hourglass for the remainder of the story until the climax. Once Tsung finally put Shao Kahn, Sindel, and Kronika out of their misery, Liu Kang shows up to tie up loose ends.
- Properly Paranoid: Both Kronika and Liu Kang show this as far as Shang Tsung is concerned.
- The reason why Kronika banished Shang Tsung into the Void shows that she's well aware how treacherous the sorcerer really is and will stop at nothing at betraying anyone until there's no one left to betray, as exemplified by Tsung's murder of Shao Kahn and Sindel.
- And the reason why Liu Kang chose to stay behind while letting Shang Tsung acquire Kronika's Crown is because Liu Kang is smart enough to know that Shang Tsung's Enemy Mine was merely a ruse so he could harness Kronika's crown as his own.