Mortal Kombat Co-Creator Showed the First Drawing of the Dragon Icon

It almost didn't make it as it was mistaken for a seahorse.

Mortal Kombat co-creator John Tobias has shown the first drawing of the game's dragon icon and told the story behind its creation.

Tobias shared that the image was designed as both the symbol of the game and its fictional tournament. The decision to use a dragon stems from “Dragon Attack” – the game's name before Tobias and Ed Boon changed it to “Mortal Kombat.”

"The image comes from fellow MK artist John Vogel’s video taped footage used to digitize my pencil drawing. We traced over the digitized image with pixels for use in the game

It turns out the name “Dragon Attack” came from Boon’s love for Queen and their song of the same title. Tobias used the colors described in the lyrics on the eventual coin-op cabinet design.

The dragon icon’s design was inspired by a golden dragon statue on the desk of Midway’s general manager, Ken Fedesna. The statue was digitized for use in the game’s backgrounds.

Tobias also shared some sketches used for the coin-op cabinet’s side panel art. He used the dragon from there to inform the look of the dragon icon as the game's symbol.

Until Mortal Kombat II, the icon was facing both left and right, but with Acclaim’s console releases, the creators had to pick just one for trademarking purposes.

The design was supposed to replicate a yin and yang symbol, "which represented balancing of the furies – a core part of MK’s early fiction."

Interestingly, Mortal Combat could have a totally different icon as Tobias almost abandoned the idea after his sister mistook the dragon for a seahorse.

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