I think i can't enjoy MK fatalities anymore

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Giant_Gamer

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I just saw Rambo fatalities and they aren't fun anymore instead I feel quite the opposite 🤢

I think the reason is the article that I read months ago about NeatherRealm and what they force their employees to watch to spark creativity i guess and it was horrifying.

Every fatality i saw made my gut feels like a knot and I felt like it happened to an actual person and I'm seeing a close representation 😖

I don't know why NR had to ruin it like that unless this is how it all started and we are just hearing about it. I'm really confused about it all and i guess it's why I'm writing about it here. Anyone feels the same way or is it just me?

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bigsocrates

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I wouldn't say I "can't enjoy them" anymore, but honestly they started to bother me back in MK X because I feel like they jumped the shark from cartoonish violence to overly realistic. I've been playing Mortal Kombat since the first game and the digitized head rips and ludicrous "Liu Kang turns into a dragon and bites you half off" stuff was always half-gross half boring. Now with the fidelity they have it's just gross and sadistic in a way that it never really was before. I can still enjoy the sillier stuff, but too many of the fatalities are just violence for violence's sake, without any of the silliness of Raiden blowing someone into chunks that might include multiple rib cages, or Cyrax's amazing MK 4 fatality where he'd literally destroy the whole world.

Netherrealm employees having to view real violence in order to inspire the fake violence definitely doesn't help, but I was no longer enjoying many of them well before I found out about those issues.

This is far from the worst thing that's done in game development so that alone wouldn't ruin it for me, but it does just make it feel too close to the real thing. I don't like real violence, and while MK fatalities still clearly are not real, they're starting to get just a little bit too close for me to really enjoy them. I miss the days when they were more about being over the top and ridiculous than worried about capturing realistic blood and gore. There's obviously still some of that in the recent games, and I can still have fun with those, but a lot of them cross that line for me.

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ahifi

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Oh yeah, I'm totally over it. Have been for a long time. Haven't played the games in years. Used to play a lot of the Ultimate Mortal Kombat Trilogy. Have no interest in it now and a lot of what turns me off is the level of violence. It probably helps that I'm not a huge fighting game fan. I'm not saying the game shouldn't exist but, yeah... forcing your employees to watch cow slaughter, images of murder victims and so on is absolutely dreadful. 11 people diagnosed with PTSD, crunch culture and a litany of other f*cked up decisions. Worth it?

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Giant_Gamer

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#4  Edited By Giant_Gamer

@bigsocrates: That might be why because by pushing towards realism they lost the comic feel. My favourite fatality is Quan Chi's in MK4 where he rips his opponent leg and starts hammering his opponent with it. The scream loop always gets me when I see it XD

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I have liked most fatalities in MK because they have always felt cartoony like Liu Kang's arcade fatality which we have seen a lot like it in cartoons except the victim always comes out alive their.

I don't know, I'm just surprised about my strong feelings about it this time and it creeped me out.

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Giant_Gamer

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@ahifi: Yeah it is extremely dreadful!

I remember seeing in God of War commentary how the devs come out with violent ideas and it was in the meeting room and they were all laughing about the crazy things they come up with and enjoying their time.

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ShaggE

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Honestly, they're still so far from realistic that I can enjoy them just fine (doesn't hurt that I've loved gory horror films and such all my life), but I absolutely think it's a valid concern given that they've set the precedent that each sequel has to go a step further. And yeah, the development process of recent MKs need a seriously critical rethinking... instead of using real world source material, use a slasher movie or something. Ed keeps saying that he draws the line at gore that can be realistically recreated, so why put your artists through that?

Personally, I think a good middle ground would be for MK12 to fashion its fatalities after the X/11 Brutalities: Still plenty gory, but much faster and more in the style of classic MK fatalities.

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blackichigo

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They did kind of lose their luster, when I found out some of the developers now have some form of PTSD from having to do research for the fatalities.That does make them seem a lot less fun and more like the juice isn't really worth the squeeze.

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Roadshell

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I don't care too much about the development aspect and I did dig the more realistic approach at first, but I do think they're kind of running out of good ideas at this point as they're starting to feel a tad repetitive at this point. I guess there are only so many ways to explode a head.

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The_Nubster

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I've felt that the vast, vast majority of them don't have good comic timing or follow-through. It tends to feel like they just stapled together 3-5 violent actions with no purpose simply because they have to. The poor choreography, coupled with the absolutely insane realism, is too much. The fatality where Kabal drags the opponent on the ground, and you can see their face and skull and eyeballs ripping out and flying off is just..... it sucks. It's gross and not funny.

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Gundato

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#10  Edited By Gundato

I think the folk keying in on the comedy hit the nail on the head.

MK1 and even 2 are both edgy ass games looking back. "You babies like Street Fighter? We got blood, bitch". But 3 (and sort of 2) is where the finishers started being over the top and even comedic. And like most things, that got flandersed to all hell as the series went on

In a lot of ways, MK 9 to 11 (heh. did not realize how unfortunate that was until I typed it out) were a return to form and the roots. But somewhere along the way they forgot to keep things funny. So as things got more realistic looking they also became more about just beating on each other.

Which I think is why I found Injustice 1 (never played 2) so fun. Some of those ARE kind of ridiculously violent, if not gory. But they are almost all hilarious and fun to watch. Whereas even in MK9 I found myself just wanting to skip the fatalities and play another match.

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bigsocrates

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@gundato: MK was always funny. Yes there was an edge to it, of course, but they were also super cheesy digitized sprite fighters and they knew it. Johnny Cage had a move where he punched opponents in the testicles. Kano literally ripped people's hearts out. In MK 2 a designer's face would appear on screen and say "toasty" when you hit a certain upper cut. In MK 1 you could fight Reptile if certain things flew over the moon, and some of the fatalities would literally turn your opponent into a burned skeleton.

They were funny and gross. Like a horror comedy movie. Adult oriented but also openly and intentionally juvenile.

Some of that remains in the more recent MKs, of course, but many of the fatalities cross the line from funny-gross to just sadistic violence for its own sake. It's inherently funny for Sub-Zero to rip someone's head off and their spine comes with it. It's gross and over the top but it's super silly. Watching people get carved up in anatomical detail is not.

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BonOrbitz

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Agreed. Jumped the shark in X and hearing what went on behind the scenes with the devs is too appalling, sadistic, and unnecessary.

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OurSin_360

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Man, that is a crazy story but from what I read it wasn't that they were being "forced" to watch it it was that the cinematographer was surrounded with the artist who were referencing for their art and animations etc. As an artist, yes you probably have to reference some gory stuff to make some gory stuff. Maybe there is more to the story but that's what I got from the Kotaku article I read.

Crazy you can get PTSD second hand from pictures, makes me wonder how many mental illnesses have been caused by 24 hour news networks the past few years. I make sure to never watch murders and stuff they like to show now a days on the news.

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ToughShed

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#14  Edited By ToughShed

I've gotten a bit of diminishing returns on the violence and creativity of them (only so many things you can do that are really different) and yeah for me the level of detail is also a bit unsettling sometimes. I kind of feel like in 11 they fell in love with the ending snap shot of the fatalities and usually were more concerned with that than doing something really interesting or cool. I don't love looking at a person's expression and as their head is blasted through their own ass or covered in their own entrails so much. I think that part's really unnecessary and detracts in multiple ways, including making the whole personal suffering and pain more central than it should be for wacky fun violence. I don't want to see someones pain and facial expressions during fatalities please.

The Fatality is definitely not a big highlight of my MK experience really at this point. In 11 I do them for the rewards you get but the animations are very boring to watch and tedious after a certain amount of time with the game and maining a character, and if you really want to grind through what the game presents thats very quickly in your overall time with it.

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Rebel_Scum

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Don't make me laugh!

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theonewhoplays

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#16  Edited By theonewhoplays

Punting your opponent over an edge in Soul Calibur, Virtua Fighter and even DoA has always been more satisfying than any fatality. They have never seemed more than a short-lived gimmick to me, and I would rather they spent all that dev time into getting more natural fight animations, but I supposed that will never happen.

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sparky_buzzsaw

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Graphic violence without the silliness defeats the purpose of fatalities, so I'm kinda with you.

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Efesell

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I'm not up to date with Mortal Kombat releases really but it was starting to feel like the increase in fidelity was a definitely a double edged sword for them. They were fun at first but the focus seemed to be realism and the creativity to balance it out kinda became secondary and that's just not super interesting to me.

I'm sayin' I want somebody to punch 7 immaculately detailed rib cages outta some fool.

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infantpipoc

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#19  Edited By infantpipoc

I consider myself someone just love ultra violence in video games, yet I never find fatality in Mortal Kombat appealing to me. Perhaps what I enjoy falls in the high efficency high body count variaty, while MK's Gladiatorial stuff just feels bit too much. Back when MKX came out, I was painting virtual corridors red with blood of Nazi soldiers in Wolfenstien New Order and paid little attention to the then new fighting game.

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MightyDuck

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It is so nice to hear this sentiment. I thought I was the only one who felt this way and just felt bad/guilty about it.

I grew up playing MK1-3. Deadly Alliance in high school was great. Loved MK9 in college, but after MK10 I sort of tapped out. The fatalities were just too much for me. I wanted to play 11 cause I knew I would love the story mode, but the over the top violence from the fatalities just turned me off. I dig the craziness that is the MK universe.

Like others have said, comedic violence never bothers me, and maybe when it was more pixels than anything it just seemed funnier back then. Now though, it's just too realistic and off putting, at least in my mind. I've kind of stuck with Injustice 2 instead for that reason.

I've had the same issue with Resident Evil a bit. Loved the original 3 on PS1. The REmake and RE:0, Code Veronica were my jams RE7 I finished and enjoyed, but it was starting to be too much, same goes for the RE2 remake, but I did love that game still.

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colourful_hippie

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Ehh I don't mind them, the more concerning thing in all of this is what's going with devs having to research horrible shit to make all this. It's not worth it at that point.

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ToughShed

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#22  Edited By ToughShed

@theonewhoplays said:

Punting your opponent over an edge in Soul Calibur, Virtua Fighter and even DoA has always been more satisfying than any fatality. They have never seemed more than a short-lived gimmick to me, and I would rather they spent all that dev time into getting more natural fight animations, but I supposed that will never happen.

I was thinking about this discussion and thinking about how I might address and resolve the issue, and it would be very cool to see the stage/environmental fatalities be expanded greatly as far as options and reactivity and give you a lot more options that are quick and violent without so much lingering on their facial animations and stuff. Expand on the environmental fatalities of Eternal Champions, which were the most creative and expansive environmental fatalities and finishers I've seen in a game.

More funny/goofy 80s slasher film and violent Looney Tunes vibes and less torture porn, facial close up SAW vibes please. This focus would allow for faster/funnier/more surprising/creative finishers and would put a cool emphasis on the stages.

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hermes

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Yeah, I have notice that since X, I think...

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It is not that I found them too gruesome, but I think they go around for too long. It used to be a punch and it ripped your heart, your head or your spine, now it's like they are piling up one after the other. Like they brainstormed ideas and didn't choose the best, instead they implemented all of them in succession.

There is some sort of fetish fascination and weird escalation when all of them last half a minute and look like a demo of an engine they built for their characters models. It reminds me of MK Armageddon, where you had a system to "built you own fatality", with button presses corresponding to actions. It sounded great at the time, until you realize that every fatality ended up being "tear his arm, now his head, now his other arm, now his heart, now his leg, now his other leg...". Sure, it is more directed now, but they didn't learn that more fatality is not the same as better fatality.

I think in some way they are extremely proud of the different ways they can slice and dice a 3D model, so it became their personal game to overdo it until there is nothing of use in the model.

I like the brutalities better because they are just way faster. Sometimes they are not as imaginative (them being more gruesome versions of normal moves), but at least they aren't a conga line of ideas out of a hat.

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cikame

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I'm not put off by them but they lose their "entertainment" value after i've seen them once, then they're just wasting time before the next match, i feel the same about X-Ray's, i think it would be better if they were just one really stylish hit instead of having to watch two to three really drawn out scenes of bones breaking, it's just wasting my time.

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damodar

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#25  Edited By damodar

@hermes: Yeah, this is about how I feel. Very impressive tech, but too many ideas and not enough singular focus. Often enough, they're good ideas, but end up detracting from each other because they're disparate and disconnected. I think it was one of Scorpion's MKX Fatalities where he blows a cartoon hole through their chest with a fireball and their heart dangles in the newly made cavity and THEN he slices their face in profile, which slowly slides off, revealing a gross cross section of skull, brain and tongue, the brain sliding out and tongue flopping around as they slump to the ground. Two totally unconnected ideas that I think would both make quite effective fatalities on their own, but feel a bit muddled when together.

One of the first fatalities I saw in MK11 was one of Scorpion's, where he harpoons their chest, the chain glowing red hot as he flips over them and then travels back past them underground, the chain looping around them. He pops up and yanks the hot chain, cutting them in half vertically. The composition on the final shot is particularly strong, where he hits a pose, framed by the arcing chain, while flanked in screen space by the two halves of the body. It's one good idea, expertly executed with a real confidence. Seeing that, I hoped the others would follow suit but it didn't quite end up being the case. His other fatality still falls into the trap, where the first beat doesn't fit with the punchline and feels like it's only there to get Scorpion behind his opponent for the harpoon gag to work.

Anyway, fatalities are kind of a weird thing. They're an intrinsic part of the MK DNA, but I assume most players don't really bother with them after seeing them a handful of times. As much as I've rambled about my apparently STRONG FEELINGS ABOUT FINISHING MOVES and do still enjoy seeing the new batch when a new game/character comes out, I could very easily say goodbye to them for the good of the developers' mental health. They're pretty frivolous and the trauma suffered by those developers is gratuitous and indefensible.

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sombre

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The only good fatalities are the spine rip from the original, and the multiple ribcages one

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slaughts

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I'm in the same boat as you. Even though the fatalities were gory in the old games, they never were realistic in anyway and always had a comedic, '90s MTV-like edge to them that made it fun. The increase fidelity and detail of them around MK X made it very off putting for me because it was too close to reality. The story about the devs getting PTSD for researching reference material for them is also making me question "is this even worth it? Is it worth making developers that are already overworked and on edge for being in a volatile work environment like game development also get PTSD and be sick from watching this stuff just so customers can get a murder boner in a fighting game?"

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development

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Damn I didn't know about them having employees watch that shit. That's fucked up, for real. I still have horrible feelings when thinking back to watching a very graphic video online that I didn't realize was real until it was too late. I've seen war footage and that stuff is very bad, but snuff film shit is particularly evil and yeah I get why a developer got PTSD from watching it. Think I'm done with MK after knowing this, and honestly I'm less bummed about that than I probably would have thought.

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slaughts

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#29  Edited By slaughts

@development said:

Damn I didn't know about them having employees watch that shit. That's fucked up, for real. I still have horrible feelings when thinking back to watching a very graphic video online that I didn't realize was real until it was too late. I've seen war footage and that stuff is very bad, but snuff film shit is particularly evil and yeah I get why a developer got PTSD from watching it. Think I'm done with MK after knowing this, and honestly I'm less bummed about that than I probably would have thought.

The story for reference: https://kotaku.com/id-have-these-extremely-graphic-dreams-what-its-like-t-1834611691

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BisonHero

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#30  Edited By BisonHero

I kinda get MK9. They were just coming off of MK8, which was MK vs. DC and they couldn’t do really graphic stuff because of the licensing and they needed a T rating or whatever. So fine, MK9 is a return to form, where fatalities (and X-rays) are wacky executions where people are getting impaled and blown up and ripped apart in a variety of ways.

Then I think they just kinda kept going with it, and I can’t draw a clear line anywhere, but as the technology improved the vibe got weird. MKX and MK11 sure have a lot more, say, grind someone’s skin off their face or acid burn them a bunch, or do some gross bug shit. Like they’re still gross and absurd, but more like they’re for the sadism of the character than a flashy execution for the amusement of some perceived tournament audience. Though some of them are also like “chop a guy’s head off, but then keep chopping it for no good reason when the dude is already dead,” so that’s not consistent either.

Overall I just think they’ve coasted on this X-ray/internal organ tech for a long enough time. MK9->X->11 feel like they kinda blend together stylistically, so hopefully they come up with some different visual focal point for whatever the next game is. Or maybe NRS is just going to continue this breakneck pace of alternating MK and Injustice games until the heat death of the universe.

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Efesell

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I don't know that I see a huge problem with the research angle on its face, and it doesn't sound like anyone's being blindsided about the fucked up shit they'll be working with going in. It's not like someone randomly springing a live leak video on you out of nowhere.

All that being said, it doesn't sound like there were much in the way of resources available to folks who needed it and its ONLY a case of knowing what you'd be signing up for. Which strikes me as pretty damn irresponsible and shortsighted.

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MrGreenMan

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I am all for over the top goofy violence, and maybe this has to do being in my late 30s now but I just find violence at least the stuff in modern Mortal Kombat games very tasteless when it comes to the over the top violence and gore. For me there needs to at least be some kind of justification for it to make it worth while.

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Kemuri07

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@efesell: I'm of the opinion that there are things that people should not see. Not because I think violent imagery will cause people to become violent; but because prolonged engagement causes desensitization--which I think its much worse. Think about it this way: over 200k people in America have died due to a global pandemic, and there's a disturbing amount of people who not only think it's not that big of a deal--but it's normal. We have become so used to news in which large numbers of people are killed on a daily basis that it becomes normalize.

It's the Videodrome problem: In order to feel anything, we need harder and more graphic imagery to stimulate the senses. And I think where that takes us isn't a pleasant sight.

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inevpatoria

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The fatalities are tedious even within the confines of playability.

They're one of the only reliable ways to earn a specific Krypt currency. Since each character has only two fatalities, a lot of time gets filled watching the same unskippable animation ad nauseam.

But, yes. I much prefer stupid, silly, cartoonish violence to the hyperrealism slant of modern-era Mortal Kombat. That isn't to say current fatalities don't have personality or even humor, but they're definitely exercises in advanced gore-tech first and foremost.

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wollywoo

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I'm not a fan of the x-rays. I enjoy over-the-top violence occasionally, but only when it's very unrealistic, to the point where people are just big ol bags' of blood, Kill Bill style. Putting in realistic anatomy just makes me feel a little ill.

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ghost_cat

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I think making ultra violence comical or fun is an artform in itself, and how to balance that in a body of work where the violence exists in. I have no problem with most fatalities in MK 11; because, to me, they are ridiculous in some fashion, and they fit with the B-movie world of Mortal Kombat. Rambo's fatalities (along with the character itself) are surgically cold and raw, contrasting with the MK universe, and that makes everything about him feel off or bad. No matter the medium, violence done right must serve the art it exists in first in order to have some justifiable value, not the other way around.

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Fluidk

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I find the modern MK fatalities too be boring because they are just too self-indulgent. Once you cut to another camera, it loses the immediacy and transgressive nature of the old fatalities. I’m glad they included brutalities, because that’s what fatalities used to be. I also think they should not doing any “killing” moves until a character is actually dead. That ruins it, for me.

As for not liking them anymore because of the violence... I don’t feel that way. The violence was never really the appeal to begin with.

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Fluidk

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#38  Edited By Fluidk

I find the modern MK fatalities too be boring because they are just too self-indulgent. Once you cut to another camera, it loses the immediacy and transgressive nature of the old fatalities. I’m glad they included brutalities, because that’s what fatalities used to be. I also think they should not doing any “killing” moves until a character is actually dead. That ruins it, for me.

As for not liking them anymore because of the violence... I don’t feel that way. The violence was never really the appeal to begin with.

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Undeadpool

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They're so over-the-top as to be ridiculous, but I can't even laugh at them anymore precisely because they WANT to be taken SUPER SERIOUSLY.

I'm hoping the ACTUAL PTSD some devs have suffered clues them into the fact that MK Fatalities started as cool little jokes and should remain that way. As the user above points out: the Brutalities are what's kinda taken that "Oh SHIT!" guffaw in my reactions (for instance: Mileena just eating someone's head in one bite? Perfect! Funny! Unexpected!)

The whole "grimdark resurgence" really seems to have done a number on them, and I can definitely sympathize with feeling the need to top themselves again and again, but it's time to make a clean break and get back to what's FUNNY before what's SHOCKING.

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Ulfhedinn

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Graphic violence without the silliness defeats the purpose of fatalities, so I'm kinda with you.

Exactly. Mortal Kombat has always was self conscious and had a healthy dose of silliness.
Now it's like they're trying to get that shock value after every fatality, while forgetting some of their best were those that were more silly than gory.