While NetherRealm Studios (NRS) Creative Director, Ed Boon, has been hinting at Mortal Kombat X for some time now, we finally got our first look at the upcoming fighting game. Set to release in 2015 on the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC, the team at NRS is combining everything fans know and love about the series with new gameplay elements from Injustice: Gods Among Us (primarily interactive stage elements), as well as a few twists to keep things entertaining. The result could be the best Mortal Kombat title to date, so let's take a closer look at what we know so far.

The game is scheduled to release in 2015. If past NRS releases are anything to go by, you can bet on a March or April release. With Batman: Arkham Knight already planned for Warner Bros.' current fiscal year, it's safe to assume we won't see MKX until the next fiscal year, which would mean an April release date at the earliest. Suffice to say, it will be close to a year before consumers get their hands on MKX.

Multiple Versions of Characters

Logistics aside, let's take a closer look at what we know about how the game plays. The biggest piece of information is that players will be able to choose between different versions of each character. This could be as simple as having a Street Fighter Anniversary-like setup. For example, you may be able to choose between the Mortal Kombat 1 or Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 version of a character. However, it's probably more along the lines of Deadly Alliance and Deception, in which each character had multiple fighting stances. If it's the latter, expect those stances to now be individual character selections instead of one character with multiple stances. For example, one version of Scorpion may fight with the Hapkido stance, while another variant may use Mugai Ryu.

From a competitive standpoint, this will probably mean there will be one definitive version of each character. In every other fighting game in which there are multiple versions of a character available, in the end there was always one variant that was superior, and therefore the most commonly used in tournaments. Even Mortal Kombat 9 had a small taste of this when you look at Cyrax and Sektor. It was rare to see the human versions of these characters because most of the competitive scene believed the cyber versions were superior in terms of frame data and other technicalities. While the differences between character variants in MKX should be far more significant, it gives you an idea of how the competitive scene may evolve.

All of that said, you can go back even farther to Ultimate MK3 in which Human Smoke and Robot Smoke existed in the same game. While Human Smoke was widely considered the better character, Robot Smoke still had his merits and was represented in competitive play. At the very least, having multiple versions of the same character should allow for more characters in the game, and more variety in both casual and competitive play. That's always a good thing.

Online World

One of the other big points mentioned by NRS is that every match counts in this game. That means that online plays a big role in MK10. We don't yet know exactly how far NRS will take things, but it's once again safe to assume that almost every match you play will have an impact. More than likely it will be some sort of Mortal Kombat take on a global ranking system, but expect every match you play to count toward something.

The big question here is how good will the netcode be. The netcode for Injustice was superior to that of MK9, but it paled in comparison to that of Namco's fighting game efforts (Tekken Tag Tournament 2 and Soul Calibur V), or even Capcom's fighting games (most notably Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike). Can we hope for something as good as Killer Instinct because the game will be on next-gen platforms? While next-gen architecture can help, it's not the most important factor when it comes to a solid online experience. Ed Boon and company talked up the Injustice netcode quite a bit, and it fell short of expectations, so let's hope things are finally up to par with MK10.

Character Roster

Last but not least, let's take a look at the potential character roster. We know Sub-Zero and Scorpion are back because they're highlighted in the debut trailer. What we don't know is who else is coming back. There will be all-new characters in addition to returning favorites, and the game also features an original story. This means that it doesn't necessarily pick up right where MK9 left off (which was essentially the story of MK1 through UMK3).

We can expect some characters from MK4 through Deception to return, so don't count them out just yet. Also, if your favorite character died in MK9, don't worry about that either. Even if death meant something in Mortal Kombat (or any game for that matter), with an original story there's no indication that the deaths in MK9 will even factor into this game. Sub-Zero dies in the debut trailer for MK10, but you can be sure he'll be featured in the new game.

We'll get our first public look at Mortal Kombat 10 at E3 2014. We don't yet know if it will be playable, but that seems somewhat unlikely. Injustice was playable at E3 before it released, so anything is possible, but don't hold your breath. The wording from the official press release didn't make it seem as though the game would be playable. Still, we should get more information from NRS and WB next week at E3, so stay tuned.