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 combatdragon logo so often you don’t even think how meaningless it really is. There were no dragons in the original mortal combat, and that ignores the backstory of an interdimensional martial arts tournament to determine the fate of the planet. So what’s the problem ? Co-creator John Tobias now explains that the iconic dragon was inspired by a statue on his boss’s desk.

Tobias recently rediscovered his original pencil sketch for the dragon logo and caught on Twitter to share the backstory behind how he ended up becoming the central symbol of the decades-long fighting game series. Midway General Manager Ken Fedesna had a golden statue of a four-fingered Chinese dragon on his desk and Tobias apparently saw it one day when a colleague borrowed it to scan and upload as an asset in one of the stages.

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

“I had thought of creating an icon to represent the fictional tournament, but also branding 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 dragon’s head profile. 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 of all time. The original figurine is still there too.

Meanwhile, fans are desperately waiting for news about the next game in the series. The last was released in 2019and so far there has been no indication of when Mortal Kombat 12 we can wait each other. Director Ed Boon and NetherRealm Studios were to pivot to work on Injustice 3, but there hasn’t been an official announcement about that either, and the messy merger of Warner Bros. Discovery makes us fear the worst. Perhaps NetherRealm can fill the void with a 30th anniversary collection that brings the series’ past back into the present.