from Kabal was first introduced in Mortal Kombat 3, sporting long, black hair, hookswords, and a respirator. He was a mysterious chosen warrior who survived an attack from one of Shao Kahn's extermination squads. And his origin was unkown. However, he was actually a member of the Black Dragon. At the time of his introduction, he appeared as a force for good, but has since reverted to his evil ways, planning to place himself as the head of the new Black Dragon clan. In Mortal Kombat (2011), Kabal is once again good, although his past as a Black Dragon member is mentioned by Kano. Before his disfigurement, he was a cop partnered up with Kurtis Stryker.
Kabal was originally going to be named Sandman, with wrist-mounted buzzsaw blades instead of hookswords. This was eventually dropped in favor for his current look, though rumors existed that Midway had briefly thought about using the discarded idea for a new character before abandoning those plans as well.
According to the MK team, in Deception they finally could show Kabal in the way he was intended to be in the 2D games: the long trench coat and the backpack. They couldn't do this because digitizing the costumes' characters was limited in 2D graphics. But create them in 3D graphics, they can build them from scratch.
Kabal's hookswords were first designed for an early plan of Baraka during preproduction of Mortal Kombat II. They were also used as generic weapons that were packaged with select characters in a line of MK action figures that briefly hit the market in 1995, which were based on the figures of G.I. Joe.
In the original plans for Mortal Kombat: Special Forces, a pre-scarred version of Kabal was to be introduced as one of the Black Dragon bosses. Screenshots were released and the character model can still be seen in the game, though he has no name or special significance. Of note is that he had a Southern accent and left the player his hookswords for use. This concept was later used in Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, where there is an optional mission to rescue Kabal in the Wastelands.