The latest installment in NetherRealm’s Mortal Kombat franchise, Mortal Kombat 11 for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC, is adding Noob Saibot to its growing roster. The game’s first downloadable content (DLC) pack will also feature Shang Tsung, a classic villain from the original game, who will be played by a very, very special actor.
At C2E2, the Chicago comic book and pop culture convention kicking off this weekend, NetherRealm’s Ed Boon, co-creator of the Mortal Kombat franchise, revealed two classic characters who are joining the game’s growing roster.
The first reveal was fan favorite character Noob Saibot, a black-clad shadow ninja introduced as a secret, unplayable character in Mortal Kombat II. In the new game, Noob Saibot returns wearing black armor and carries a sickle, which he uses to a very violent advantage. In his gameplay reveal trailer, Noob fights Sub-Zero, his blood brother and rival in the Lin Kuei ninja clan.
The second character revealed by NetherRealm Studios is none other than Shang Tsung, one of the main villains of the very first Mortal Kombat. The character will be made available as the game’s first piece of DLC.
Aside from being a playable character, Shang Tsung will also serve as the guide and narrator for players as they journey through “The Krypt,” a portal where players unlock special items, including bonus material such as concept art, background music, and videos. The Krypt has been a feature of the Mortal Kombat games dating back to 2002’s Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, and has been revamped for Mortal Kombat 11.
“Each version we’ve done has been more elaborate than the last,” Boon said on stage at C2E2 just after the reveal. “For this one we wanted to get Cary to be your guide. He’s narrating with you, going around. What’s exciting is that in addition Shang Tsung, Cary Tagawa is our first DLC character we’re gonna have.”
In 1995, Japanese-American actor Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa played Shang Tsung in Mortal Kombat, the 1995 cult film adaptation of the games. The role, alongside Robin Shou as protagonist Liu Kang, remains remembered for diversifying Asian representation in a mainstream Hollywood movie.
In a 2006 documentary The Slanted Screen, Tagawa commented on his role: “If I had to choose between playing a wimpy businessman, and playing a bad guy, I’m gonna play a bad guy. Because I got balls.” In 2011, Tagawa reprised his role for the reboot web series Mortal Kombat: Legacy, 18 years after his portrayal in the film.
Gameplay of Shang Tsung was not revealed by NetherRealm, but with the game releasing in just a little over a month, it’s only a matter of time before gamers can take away their friends’ souls just like Shang Tsung did in the film.
Mortal Kombat 11 will be released on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC on April 23. It will be available on Nintendo Switch on May 10.