He also revealed that the game is not related to the Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe game, and that they were again aiming for a "Mature" rating, contrarily to the "Teen" rating attained by the previous game
The story retells the events of the first three games, in a new timeline where Raiden receives a message from himself in the prime future after the Battle of Armageddon has happened and Shao Kahn became the supreme leader of all the realms. Because of this plot, characters and scenarios present are the classic ones, bringing the old to new and starting a new conflict.
The story mode of Mortal Kombat is told in 16 chapters, with one character being playable in each chapter. The order of each chapter is listed below:
- Johnny Cage
- Sonya Blade
- Cyrax (As Human)
- Liu Kang
- Jax Briggs
- Kung Lao (the final battle of the chapter, however, is fought by Liu Kang due to Kung Lao's death)
- Kurtis Stryker
- Cyber Sub-Zero
The normal blows have changed a lot. Instead of having a few punches and kicks divided between high and low, there's now a button for each limb: front arm, front leg, back arm, and back leg. This combines with most martial arts techniques. The player can also execute many special moves with little effort. Also new are intro and outro animations. Each character will have a different intro and outro, depending if they decided to do a Fatality or not.
The controls also refer a lot to Mortal Kombat 3, with the clash limited to a single plane, the fastest pace of struggle. Many attacks will throw the opponent into the air, and several others that take advantage of aerial combat. The "run" button is no longer in, but there is quick dash the player can use to inflict even more damage to their opponent if they're quick in getting their combo. Also out is the infamous system "Dial-a-Kombo", which was introduced in MK3 and used pre-defined sequences of buttons to execute "ready" combos. The combos are more akin to those found in MK and MKII, consisting largely of chaining regular attacks and special moves together. In the words of Ed Boon: "You're making your own combos. We aren't programming them in as much". This brings a lot of freedom to play and with the speed of return, as it is very easy to improvise a few effective beatings.
Another welcome return are the "real" Fatalities. Mortal Kombat: Armageddon used the infamous Kreate-a-Fatality and Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe used toned down versions of the finishers. Now violence is back with great pride. This time, the team began creating the game for Fatalities, an element that was before the end of the development cycle. From this process emerged ideas on how to combine fatalities. "Before, Kung Lao had a fatality in which he cut a guy in half and another in which he beheaded a person, now he has one where he does both", claims Ed Boon in an interview with Giant Bomb. Surprisingly, Babalities have also returned from MK3.
One new feature that has drawn much attention and keeps very well the climate of brutality is the introduction of X-Ray Moves. With them, the player can see the internal damage caused by the blows on the opponent. The player must wait until their special bar is full before they can use such moves. Players can also use their special bar to execute combo breakers or to enhance their special attacks. There is also distinct damage done to the characters during the matches.
The game features three different single player modes: Story Mode, in which the player assumes the role of several different pre-designated characters and the main plot is told; a tournament ladder reminiscent of the earlier MK games which features a sub-boss, boss, and an animated ending for each character; and a training mode which allows players to hone their skills with their chosen character.
Mortal Kombat (2011) also includes several mini-games, like the classic Test Your Might, and Test Your Sight, as well as the new Test Your Strike and Test Your Luck. The game also includes a massive 300 mission challenge in a new mode called The Challenge Tower.
Another new feature is the Fatality Practice Mode, where the button combinations for the Fatality are shown above, and a green square on the ground indicates the correct distance for the Fatality to work. If the player moves away from the square, it turns red, indicating that the Fatality will not be executed.
An online feature called King of the Hill, is a spectator view, in it observers are given the ability to interact directly with those currently engaged in battle.
It seems that NetherRealm Studios are going to take advantage of the PS3 custom soundtrack feature. It will allow players to listen to the music they want while playing the game.  
The game features 28 playable fighters for Playstation 3 users, and 27 playable characters for Xbox 360, in addition to 4 downloadable (DLC) characters, 3 unplayable bosses, and 4 secret character battles. Cyber Sub-Zero is unlocked upon defeating him in chapter thirteen in the Story Mode, and Quan Chi is unlocked upon completing the Story Mode, while Kratos from the God of War series is an exclusive character for Playstation 3 and Playstation Vita.
- Liu Kang
- Kung Lao
- Johnny Cage
- Noob Saibot
- Sonya Blade
- Jax Briggs
- Kurtis Stryker
- Shang Tsung
- Cyber Sub-Zero (Story Mode Unlockable)
- Quan Chi (Story Mode Unlockable)
- Skarlet (Once a rumored red ninja from Mortal Kombat II. Avaliable for free in the Komplete Edition and PSVITA versions.)
- Kenshi (The blind swordsman.. Available for free in the Komplete Edition and PSVITA versions.)
- Rain (The prince of Edenia. Available for free in the Komplete Edition and PSVITA versions.)
- Freddy Krueger (Freddy from the Nightmare on Elm Street Franchise. Available for free in the Komplete Edition and PSVITA versions.)
- Kratos (Kratos from the God of War video game Franchise. An exclusive playable character in PlayStation versions.)
- Goro (Playable in Challenge Tower)
- Kintaro (Playable in the PSVITA version's exclusive 2nd Challenge Tower)
- Shao Kahn (Playable in the PSVITA version's exclusive 2nd Challenge Tower)
Other characters in Challenge Tower and Story Mode:
- Unit 5
- Stunt Man
- Director (Also playable in Fight Mode)
- Tarkatan Soldier
- Tarkatan Leader
- Tarkatan General
- Cage Twin
- Tremor (Playable in the PSVITA version's exclusive 2nd Challenge Tower)
- The original arenas from Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat II and Mortal Kombat Trilogy didn't return Palace Gates, Warrior Shrine, Kombat Tomb, Portal, Bank, Balcony, Pit 3, Smoke's Portal, Noob's Dorfen, Kahn's Kave, Scislac Busorez and Star Bridge.
- This is the first game in the series to introduce guest characters. It is also the first fighting game in the series to feature more than one guest character from other franchises. In this case, Kratos from God of War Series, and Freddy Krueger from the Nightmare on Elm Street movie series.
- This is the first Mortal Kombat game to not have a manual, as well as the only fighting game to not have a manual on the PS3 or Xbox 360.
- This is the first fighting game in the franchise to include battle intros.
- This is the first Mortal Kombat game where the original secret characters are playable in their original outfits.
- This is the only game to feature the Bell Tower without a stage fatality.
- This is the first game to introduce characters Quan Chi and Kenshi in a 2-D plane fighting game.
- This is the developers' first Mortal Kombat game designed under Netherrealm Studios.
- This is the only game to show all Lin Kuei cyborgs in their human forms, before their automation.
- This is the only game Sub-Zero has a cyborg form, as he was the only Lin Kuei ninja to not have one.
- This is the first game where Kintaro has fatalities of his own.
- This is the first game where every character has their very own in-game voice.
- Despite showcasing past moments in the original timeline, every moment, including the immediate outcome of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, showcases characters wearing their outfits debuting in the game rather than their older outfits, with the exception of Liu Kang (represented as his zombie form), Raiden (represented as Dark Raiden), Kenshi (as his new DLC design had not been finalized at the time) and Shao Kahn (wearing his Armageddon armor).
- Although commonly listed as the first Mortal Kombat game to have a tag team mode, this is not strictly true. Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition and Mortal Kombat Trilogy also had this feature, as well as Mortal Kombat: Deception's double enemy stages.
- However, this is the first game where two players can work together (Online/Offline).
- Mortal Kombat Trilogy had a 3 fighter team mode, however, it was not possible to switch out, characters only changed after one died, similar to Endurance Matches in the early games
- The announcer voice for this game is Jamieson Price, who is also the announcer for Super Street Fighter IV. Therefore, both rival franchises share an aesthetic element with each other.
- The demo for the game was hacked not far from its release, revealing everything about the game. (Characters, Stages, Etc.)
- At an early development stage, the finisher theme was originally the same one used in Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, before it was changed as the game's development progressed.
- Footage of the game was shown in a scene from the Warner Bros. film, Project X.