The story behind Mortal Kombat’s iconic dragon logo

Promotional artwork for Mortal Kombat features the dragon logo above the cheering human.

You’ve 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 doesn’t matter in the backstory about an interdimensional martial arts tournament to decide the fate of the planet. So what’s the deal? 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 tell the backstory of how it eventually became the central symbol for the now 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 loaned it out to scan and upload as an asset in one of the stages.

“The inspiration for using a dragon as the symbol of the fictional tournament came from ‘Dragon Attack’, which had previously competed for our game’s title [Ed Boon] and I changed it to Mortal Kombat, he wrote yesterday on Twitter. This working title was inspired by a Queen song of the same name. While it was eventually dropped, the colors mentioned in the original song formed the basis for the later arcade cabinet, which included the Chinese dragon from Fedesna’s desk.

“I was thinking about creating an icon that would represent the fictional tournament, but also add a symbol to the game…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 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 series of all time. That original statue is also still there.

Meanwhile, fans are desperately awaiting updates on the next game in the series. The last came out in 2019and so far there has been no indication of when Mortal Kombat 12 can be expected. Director Ed Boon and NetherRealm Studios were expected to focus on work injustice 3, but there hasn’t been an official announcement either, and the messy Warner Bros. Discovery merger has some fearing the worst. Perhaps NetherRealm can fill the void with a 30th anniversary collection that brings the series’ past into the present. The story behind Mortal Kombat’s iconic dragon logo

Curtis Crabtree

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