The creator of 'Mortal Kombat' explains how they keep coming up with gross new fatalities

‘Mortal Kombat 11’/NetherRealm Studios‘Mortal Kombat 11’ will have no shortage of eye-popping fatalities.
  • Since its release in 1992, the “Mortal Kombat” video game franchise has garnered controversy for its violent finishing moves, coining the term “Fatality” to describe the fatal attacks characters could inflict on one another.
  • With each new game in the “Mortal Kombat” series, the fatalities have gotten more grotesque, pleasing fans and horrifying parents the world over.
  • In a recent video from Noclip, “Mortal Kombat” co-creator Ed Boon discussed how the development team designs each new fatality and keeps the violence from becoming too morbid or realistic.

Ed Boon, one of the original creators of “Mortal Kombat,” has spent more than 25 years designing some of the most violent video games ever created. Back in 1992 the very first “Mortal Kombat” game earned the series a reputation for over-the-top gore with savage finishing moves called fatalities.

In the years since, the franchise has become ubiquitous with video game violence and each new fatality has only gotten more outrageous. “Mortal Kombat 11” is due out in April 23rd and will feature more than 50 vicious new finishing moves. In a recent video with Noclip, Boon sat down to discuss how the “Mortal Kombat” development team at NetherRealm Studios continues to come up with fresh ideas to feed their bloodthirsty fans.

Speaking to Noclip, Boon said that he usually designs the first fatality for each new “Mortal Kombat” game to help set the tone. Every playable character in “Mortal Kombat” can choose from multiple fatal finishing moves after they win a match, and each game in the series introduces brand new fatalities for each individual cast member.


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In many ways, the fatalities help define the personalities of the “Mortal Kombat” characters. Some fatalities are sadistic and unrestrained, while others feel precise and dispassionate. While the tone of “Mortal Kombat” is unquestionably dark, Boon says the gore has reached the point of parody. The game is working to outdo itself, rather than inspire new ways of killing people.

“The more outrageous the better, but not realistic,” Boon told Noclip. “Nothing that somebody could think ‘Oh, I’m gonna repeat that.'”

Sub Zero Mortal Kombat 11‘Mortal Kombat 11’/NetherRealm StudiosCreator Ed Boon says he wants ‘Mortal Kombat’s’ fatalities to be ‘outrageous, but not realistic.’

New fatalities are often designed to emphasise certain types of visual flair, like intense blood splatter or fiery particle effects. This helps the design team show off the graphical improvements of the new games, and keeps the violence visually engaging. Boon said the NetherRealm team would have regular meetings to brainstorm ideas for fatalities. Once they were in agreement, they would request a basic sketch from the concept artist. With the drawn design in hand, the team then uses motion-capture technology to get a basic walkthrough of the scene.

The walkthrough helps the developers see where the action is most intense and where additional effects can be added. Fatalities make use of cinematic camera angles to focus on the violence and the cutscenes allow for extra effects. Using the motion captured models, the development team can alter the pace of the scene and create greater moments of impact.

Mortal Kombat 11 Sonya Blade‘Mortal Kombat 11’/NetherRealm StudiosNetherRealm uses cinematic camera angles during fatalities.

Noclip’s video offers just a glimpse at the dozens of new fatalities that will appear in “Mortal Kombat 11” next month. The game will be available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC on April 23rd. Those who pre-order on Xbox One and PlayStation will be able to play in an exclusive weekend beta session from March 28th to March 31st.

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