The Shokan are large creatures that dwarf Humans in size and boast incredible strength. They are distinguished by each possessing four massive arms complemented by three digits on each hand. Their skin textures vary greatly, including solid yellow/brown colors with darker spots on the back, like Goro and Sheeva, and a pattern almost identical to a tiger's stripes, as seen in Kintaro.
Their civilization and society is structured under a monarchy with a king and queen ruling their people and representing Kuatan's concerns to Shao Kahn. Their heir is usually a prince in line for the throne. In Mortal Kombat: The Journey Begins, it's shown that multiple heirs to the throne must compete with one another and demonstrate their ruthlessness by fighting to the death. The victor thus becomes the ruling crown-prince who will eventually inherit the throne. Furthermore, on a single particular day, it was customary to give the King a present.
Among the Shokan, there is one rule that surpasses all others: survival of the fittest and most ruthless.
At least two distinct Shokan racial variations have been identified: the royal Draco and the lower-class Tigrar lineage. Goro and Sheeva are from the Draco lineage while Kintaro is of the Tigrar.
For ages, the Shokan loyally served The Outworld's Emperor, Shao Kahn. One of their kind would always serve in some high capacity within Kahn's empire. They would usually face competition with the Centaurians for this role but they maintained it for generations.
After Prince Goro's supposed death following Liu Kang's first Mortal Kombat victory, Kintaro would take this role in Outworld but he too was defeated. This would be the start of their fall within Shao Kahn's eyes and their status was reduced during the invasion of Earthrealm with Motaro serving as a general, while Sheeva served as a bodyguard for Queen Sindel.
In the events immediately preceding Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Princess Kitana would be instrumental in forming an alliance with the armies of the Shokan. With the Edenian forces, they fought against Shao Kahn's forces, commanded by the dangerously adept Kano.
Years later, during the time of the Deadly Alliance, the united Edenians and Shokans marched on Shao Kahn's weakened army. Goro was exhausted from battle and was struck from behind by Noob Saibot. He was mortally wounded, apparently dying from the injury. So, Princess Kitana held and attended a royal funeral for her former ally. However, Goro was able to survive, being saved from death by Shao Kahn himself, with the promise to return the Shokans to their former glory and banish the Centaurians in exchange for his allegiance. Agreeing to these terms, Goro placed his royal seal on a nearby fallen disfigured Shokan (whom Kitana and the other Shokans found and mistook for him) and resumed his place at Shao Kahn's side. He (along with Shang Tsung) aided Shao Kahn in reclaiming his stronghold and his throne as the emperor of Outworld. In Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Goro is confronted by the half-god Taven in Shao Kahn's Fortress, as the latter wishes to kill Quan Chi but must get past Goro in order to do so. Taven eventually defeats Goro, who storms off.
Members of the Shokan
- King Gorbak
- Queen Mai
- Shokan Xenomorph (Non-canon, appears in the Alien's arcade ending as a cameo in Mortal Kombat X)
- Duroc (Non-canon Character)
- Grum (Non-canon Character)
- The Kombatant (Non-canon Character)
- Zenkaro (Non-canon Character)
- The Shokan are some of the tallest characters in the series.
- Only three Shokan are featured as either playable or NPCs in the series, Sheeva, Goro, and Kintaro. The rest appear in the comics or TV series.
- Kintaro is the only Shokan shown thus far to be of Tigrar Lineage.
- Despite his fate being unknown in MK 2011, Kintaro is so far the only character killed off in the comics. This death has been ruled as canon.
- Due to this, Kintaro is also one of the few characters to be dead in both the original and current timelines.
- Goro and Sheeva are the only two of the three to still be alive, with Sheeva's current status unknown.
- Interestingly, the three main Shokans are all sub-bosses at some point in the series.
- Goro is the sub-boss for the original Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat Trilogy, MK4, Armageddon, MK 2011, and Mortal Kombat X.
- Kintaro is the sub-boss for MKII, Shoalin Monks, Armageddon, and MK 2011.
- Sheeva is the sub-boss only for Armageddon.
- All three main Shokans are sub-bosses in only one game, this being Armageddon.
- Goro and Kintaro are also the sub-bosses for MK 2011.
- Sheeva is the only playable Shokan in MK 2011.
- Similar to humans, Shokan blood is colored red. In Mortal Kombat 3 however, Sheeva bled green blood, which she maintained throughout MK3's various revisions. In spite of this, Goro and Kintaro's blood remained red upon their return in Mortal Kombat Trilogy, and would remain so in future installments. Sheeva's blood would be colored red upon her return in Mortal Kombat Armageddon, dismissing the idea of Shokan blood being green.
- Kintaro is playable in the mobile version of Mortal Kombat X, barrowing combos and specials from Goro.
- Goro is the first character in Mortal Kombat history to be a downloadable pre-order bonus.
- In the DC fighting game Injustice 2, where Sub-Zero and Raiden appear are playable guest characters, Sub-Zero mentions Kintaro's name when interacting with Cheetah.
- Although neither Goro nor Sheeva are mentioned by either Sub-Zero or Raiden, the species' name does appear on some pieces of gear for Raiden.