In just under a week, the latest instalment of Mortal Kombat, one of the most iconic fighting games of all time, will be released worldwide. Members of the fighting game community across the globe are hailing Mortal Kombat 11 as one of the best additions to the series yet, ironing out numerous flaws that had been holding it back for years. So with one of the most hyped releases to the series coming down under, it’s no surprise this is looking to be the biggest launch for the community yet.

Photo Source: Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat has had a turbulent history in Australia. After the release of MK9 in 2011, the game was banned, being deemed too violent for an MA15+ rating; the most restricted at the time. Though it was eventually reintroduced after the addition of an R18+ rating in 2013, the Mortal Kombat scene in Australia was gravely wounded. Despite this, one of Australia’s top players, Aaron “GilBagz” Hong, persevered in maintaining the lifeblood of the game he is so passionate about.

“There was a really small underground community of people who imported it [MK9]” Hong stated in a recent interview. “There were articles going around saying, if you were caught importing, it was like a thousand dollar fine or something.”

This group of players that initially just started as a small online Facebook group of about eight people, were risking a lot by importing the game. As stated by long-time friend and owner of First Round Esports bar in Sydney, Frank Leung, Hong would give up his house every weekend so people could come and play the game.

“He pretty much worked it from the ground up. I remember because I was there though I didn’t really participate as much as he did, of course. But I remember him discussing how to get it working given the restrictions that he was facing,” Leung said in a recent interview.

Photo Source: First Round

Since then, the game and the community have come a long way in Australia. And while its competitive scene still isn’t as big as the likes of Street Fighter and Tekken, the reception MK11 has received from the beta alone signals that times could be changing for the ‘little brother’ of fighting games. With the confirmation that Mortal Kombat 11 will be featured at the two biggest events this year—BAM and OzHadou Nationals—it seems we could be right!

GilBagz and the team at First Round Esports Bar are just a small section of the community looking to make a name for the game amongst the FGC in Australia. For another prominent figure in the Mortal Kombat scene though, Tasman “Wazminator” Stoker, the release of a new title presents many new opportunities.

Waz at PAX Australia – Photo Source: ESL

As one of the top competitors in Australia, Stoker is well known for his guides and match analysis videos on YouTube.

“I have been competing in and making content/streaming Mortal Kombat for a few years now, using my platform to promote our scene both in Australia and internationally, competing overseas to represent, and use all of my knowledge to help newer players get in to the scene and learn how to play,” he stated in a recent interview.

Recently, he has been presented with the opportunity to represent both Australia, and his org Dark Sided, at the Summit of Time tournament in May. Held in California from the 10th to the 12th, the event will play host to the biggest names in competitive Mortal Kombat history; including the legendary SonicFox. With ten participants automatically invited, the remaining four are being determined by a community voting system. Now sitting in first after a successful campaign, Stoker was the first to secure his ticket to this exclusive event, thanks to the outpouring of support from the Australian community.

“Getting into an invitational tournament like the Summit of Time for MK11 is a huge deal for both myself and for the Australian community. The level of play at an event like this is something we don’t get to experience regularly so it’s a great way to show that we’re capable as well as giving more exposure for the region,” Stoker said, “ … I truly do think that it will be a huge milestone for the Australian scene and something that will start to pave the way towards even more opportunities for all of us,” he added.

Like many others in the scene, Stoker believes interest in the game will soar with the release of a new title. “A lot of different game scenes are looking into MK11 and really showing interest in the game, and that’s one of the most exciting things for me,” he said in a recent interview. “I think we will gauge a lot of interest early on and see many new players, or even old ones, show up to tournaments and compete in this game.”

Photo Source: Couchwarriors

With a new game means a variety of new mechanics and tweaks to old systems. For Stoker, the best change is the removal of the run button, as he believes “this forces people to play more patient in neutral and you won’t just explode after getting hit from a half screen run in.”

However, for Aaron Hong, it comes down to two things; improved animations and good netcode. “The main complaints people have always had was bad animation; the animations were blocky and just not fluid at all. It used to have bad netcode, so like a bad online connection, but because of how fast or input sensitive it is, you can’t have any lag at all.” These issues seem to be ironed out in Mortal Kombat 11, with Hong stating that during the recent stress test, there were players in Europe playing against people on the east coast of America with no issues at all.

With the launch just around the corner, make sure you have your launch day plans organised. For more information on events near you, check out the Official Australian Fighting Game Community group on Facebook and contact your local FGC. We will also be keeping coverage of future events in the FGC, so make sure to keep your eyes peeled here for updates!