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The Story Behind Mortal Kombat’s Iconic Dragon Logo

Promotional art for Mortal Kombat shows the dragon logo above cheering people.

You have probably seen the silhouette of Mortal Kombat‘s dragon logo so often that you don’t even think about how little sense it makes. There were no dragons in the original Mortal Kombat, and it plays no role in the backstory of an interdimensional martial arts tournament to determine the fate of the planet. So what’s going on? Co-creator John Tobias now explains that the iconic dragon was inspired by a statue on his boss’ desk.

Tobias recently rediscovered his original pencil sketch for the dragon logo and went to Twitter to share the backstory behind how it eventually became the central symbol for the decades-long fighting game series. Midway general manager Ken Fedesna had a gold statue of a four-toed Chinese dragon on his desk and Tobias apparently saw it one day when a colleague borrowed it to scan and upload it as an asset in one of the stages .

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“The inspiration to use a dragon as a symbol of the fictional tournament came from ‘Dragon Attack’, which was previously the title of our game [Ed Boon] and I changed it to ‘Mortal Kombat’, huh wrote yesterday on Twitter. That working title was inspired by a Queen song of the same name. Though it was eventually dumped, the colors mentioned in the original song formed the basis for the final arcade cabinet, which also featured the Chinese dragon from Fedesna’s desk.

“I had thought of creating an icon to represent the fictional tournament, but also to provide the game with a symbol… like Superman’s ‘S’ or Batman’s bat symbol,” Tobias wrote. The final design ended up being a combination of the yin-yang symbol and the profile of the dragon’s head. Tobias’ sister thought it looked like a seahorse, but 30 years later, it’s synonymous with one of the bloodiest and most popular fighting game franchises ever. The original statue is also nearby.

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Meanwhile, fans are desperate for news about the next game in the series. The last came out in 2019and so far there have been no hints as to when Mortal Kombat 12 can be expected. Director Ed Boon and NetherRealm Studios were expected to work on injustice 3, but there has been no official announcement about that either, and the messy Warner Bros. Discovery merger fears the worst. Perhaps NetherRealm can fill the gap with a 30th anniversary collection that brings the past of the series into the present.

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