'Mortal Kombat' Co-Creator Explains Origin of Iconic Dragon Logo

It isn’t inspired by a seahorse.

Design
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30 years after the release of Midway GamesMortal Kombat, co-creator John Tobias has now revealed the origin of the martial arts fighting game franchise’s iconic dragon logo. Taking to Twitter, Tobias shared that he recently re-discovered his original pencil sketch before outlining the backstory behind the motif.

Tobias reveals that the dragon was inspired by the gold four-toed Chinese dragon statue on the desk of Midway Games’ General Manager Ken Fedesna. The statue was originally borrowed to be scanned as an asset to be used in a stage and drawn from the game’s original title “Dragon Attack.”

“The inspiration to use a dragon as the fictional tournament’s symbol came from ‘Dragon Attack,’ which was in contention as our game’s title before @noobde and I changed it to Mortal Kombat… The name ‘Dragon Attack’ came from @noobde’s love for the band Queen and their song of the same title. I used the colors described in the lyrics of that song on our eventual coin-op cabinet design.”

“I had been thinking of creating an icon to represent the fictional tournament, but also to brand the game with a symbol…like Superman’s ‘S’ or Batman’s bat symbol. I used the dragon from my cabinet side panel sketch to inform the look of the dragon icon as our symbol…Here’s my earliest icon doodle recently found by @youngsaibot while poking around an old sketchbook in my office. The eventual icon design was an attempt at replicating the yin yang symbol, which represented balancing of the furies- a core part of MK’s early fiction.”

Take a look at John Tobias’ thread outlining the origin of the iconic Mortal Kombat dragon logo below.

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