Times change, people mature and new ideas often find themselves propagating in pop culture. For all of that however, there are some traditions in video games which never and never should change. Street Fighter should always have a Ryu, Mario should be able to bust bricks without folding his spine in like an accordion and we should always make fun of Glenn for his hatred of the superior beef and yeast extract known as Bovril. Fight me, Marmite nerds.
One other video game that wouldn’t feel right without some of its trademark blood? Mortal Kombat, because an Earth Realm sequel without fatalities would result in the fighting game icon losing some of its lethal charm.
In many ways, fatalities are the very essence of Mortal Kombat. Bloody to the extreme, so vicious that they’re actually hilarious and that little extra dig in the ribs when you’ve beaten a friend and you want to rub your victory in their face. So how does a game like Mortal Kombat 11, which already features Baraka literally ripping the face off of an opponent, come up with those pugilistic punctuation points?
“To some degree, there’s a filter we have. More often than not, we never do anything that’s terribly sad,” art director Steve Beran said to Kotaku, detailing how the key to a successful Mortal Kombat fatality was in its pacing and finding the right balance between horrific and comedic.
I don’t think it’s ever intentional. I think we’ve just done it so long that they tend to be more funny than anything. If there’s too much of a drag between beats, it’s like ‘Let’s tighten that up,’” he said. “It could look cool, but if there’s not this dah,dah, dah, we adjust it to make it feel right.
As for the tech that powers each finisher? It takes a lot of work to make them look so stomach-churningly real. “We do a lot of testing of, like, how liquid will land on carpet, how it’ll react on dirt,” Beran explained.
And we do tests and talk about them like ‘Does that look how you’d think it would look?’… If I get blood on my shirt, it’s gonna get dark, so it needs to react appropriately. Our tech artists dig into that and make it look very real. The fatality process is awesome. It’s some of the most fun work.
You could say that fatalities in Mortal Kombat 11 are a relic from a bygone era, but they’re still a blast from the past to experience. I’m loving what I’m seeing so far, from Scorpion’s bisection of opponents using his flaming chains to Geras literally donkey-punching the face off of his competition. The grossest fatality in my book so far though? Skarlet making you vomit out all of your blood through your various orifices and then using it to impale you in painful fashion.
I…I don’t think anyone would be alright after that.
Last Updated: January 21, 2019