Mortal Kombat X Preview - Brutality and Fatality

Mortal Kombat X Preview - Brutality and Fatality

Mortal Kombat X's director of art talks about the gruesome aesthetics of the new MK.

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Announcing DLC characters already? Sweet, thats 40 saved until the GOTY/Ultimate edition is announced.

so, as someone who fell out of the mortal kombat franchise (and all fighting games really) long ago, am i seeing this correctly, it's back to "2d" fighting spaces, not circular arenas? awesome. i didn't like the circular arenas.

Mortal Wombat Y, coming to a galaxy nowhere near you.

I wanted to watch the video but instead of just showing the gameplay, we had to have a rather inane interview that was borderline vapid with really crappy music placed over the game footage. They kept cutting back from the actual gameplay to keep showing some guy I don't give a damn about talking about how wonderful the game is. The footage I was able to see before I couldn't take it anymore looked really good though. Definitely looking forward to the game.

Maybe it's a little weird, but the more I see of stuff like fully 3D modelled spikes being driven through fully 3D modelled eyeballs, the less I want to see of it. Now that it looks as "real" as it does, it just doesn't feel as funny and silly as it used to. That sort of violence in a more serious game feels fine but there's something about seeing it in such a shlocky manner that totally turns me off. Then again, I haven't been a fan of the MK games in general for a very long time so it's not like I was going to pick this one up anyway.

martyrdrebel27:
so, as someone who fell out of the mortal kombat franchise (and all fighting games really) long ago, am i seeing this correctly, it's back to "2d" fighting spaces, not circular arenas? awesome. i didn't like the circular arenas.

MK did try out the whole 3D thing for a few games but they totally left it behind with MK9. MK9 was a standard 2D fighting game just like the originals in the series.

StriderShinryu:
Maybe it's a little weird, but the more I see of stuff like fully 3D modelled spikes being driven through fully 3D modelled eyeballs, the less I want to see of it. Now that it looks as "real" as it does, it just doesn't feel as funny and silly as it used to.

An interesting point. Although the fact that they can shake off a fractured skull and a shattered kneecap as though it was a nipple cripple kind of keeps the silly and unreal factor. If they were limping, vomiting or convulsing that would be another matter.

I reckon the game looks great. My only concern is that the X-rays might interrupt the flow of the fighting. They were fairly unobtrusive in the last game, but in that video I saw Scorpion pull about three in a row. I don't know if it was canned animation or not.

sure has more xrays since they are more brutal then ever before. surely looks more detailed as well, obviously. but since they talk about DLC, i might wait until a full version is available as they did with the pc. unless the pc gets the whole lot, then no worries.

Blaine Houle:
I wanted to watch the video but instead of just showing the gameplay, we had to have a rather inane interview that was borderline vapid with really crappy music placed over the game footage. They kept cutting back from the actual gameplay to keep showing some guy I don't give a damn about talking about how wonderful the game is. The footage I was able to see before I couldn't take it anymore looked really good though. Definitely looking forward to the game.

Jup, I started skipping and muting the video. Gameplay looks nice though. And so do the fatalities. Im actually looking forward to this.

Programmed_For_Damage:

StriderShinryu:
Maybe it's a little weird, but the more I see of stuff like fully 3D modelled spikes being driven through fully 3D modelled eyeballs, the less I want to see of it. Now that it looks as "real" as it does, it just doesn't feel as funny and silly as it used to.

An interesting point. Although the fact that they can shake off a fractured skull and a shattered kneecap as though it was a nipple cripple kind of keeps the silly and unreal factor. If they were limping, vomiting or convulsing that would be another matter.

I reckon the game looks great. My only concern is that the X-rays might interrupt the flow of the fighting. They were fairly unobtrusive in the last game, but in that video I saw Scorpion pull about three in a row. I don't know if it was canned animation or not.

The X-ray moves killed MK9 for me. Allow me to preface by saying that I don't think think they were good or bad, I'm just saying that I personally didn't like them. Pulling off these moves that shattered bones, but then had no other effect in kombat other than simply "looking cool." I'm not a fan of "cool for the sake of cool." If there were some risk/reward to performing X-Ray moves ie "breaking a leg made the opponent move more slowly," or "strikes to that area deal increased damage," I would be excited for it. But as you said, Scorpion pulled about 3 in a row and, had you not witnessed it, you would have had no idea that Sub Zero had "suffered" broken bones. It ruins the immersion for me.

Still excited to see how this turns out, but will definitely wait for a GOTY edition. Not gonna get nickel and dimed on DLC.

Eh, they're focusing on the wrong kind of stuff. The gruesomeness and gore isn't what made MK9 back on top, it was the lore behind it. This is just childish and will lose the novelty value sooner than the devs would want. Unless their target demographics is 13 year old boneheads, in which case it doesn't matter anyway

tdylan:

The X-ray moves killed MK9 for me. Allow me to preface by saying that I don't think think they were good or bad, I'm just saying that I personally didn't like them. Pulling off these moves that shattered bones, but then had no other effect in kombat other than simply "looking cool." I'm not a fan of "cool for the sake of cool." If there were some risk/reward to performing X-Ray moves ie "breaking a leg made the opponent move more slowly," or "strikes to that area deal increased damage," I would be excited for it. But as you said, Scorpion pulled about 3 in a row and, had you not witnessed it, you would have had no idea that Sub Zero had "suffered" broken bones. It ruins the immersion for me.

That kind of depth to a game like MK9 would've bogged down the gameplay with meaningless complexity, in my opinion. Meter in Mortal Kombat is more efficiently built by taking damage. Can you imagine how frustrating it would be to be laying the smackdown on someone, only for him to break your leg and cripple you for the rest of the fight? "Don't get hit by X-Ray's then"? I don't think MK9 needs to slow the fight down with an obsessive-compulsive blocking meta-game to avoid getting your arms broken.

I'm also not sure why this is something leveraged only against MK9. Plenty of other fighting games feature bone-breaking grapples and moves that do nothing to impede the other fighters.

You say "because you witnessed it", but I don't think that makes sense. For example, Tekken features plenty of throws that obviously break bones. Hell, Heihachi and Lei have throws that break necks. You may not witness an actual X-Ray of these bones breaking. But you can see Heihachi squeezing the shit out of someone's neck, followed by a deafening horrible snap. But, that's okay? By your logic, shouldn't this instantly kill the other fighters? Or at the very least, paralyze them for the rest of the fight? Or in Street Fighter where several moves engulf you in flames. Should Street Fighter implement a stop-drop-and-roll system? I mean, immersion, right?

I'm not trying to be insulting here or anything. If you don't like the X-Ray concept, that's perfectly fine. I just don't understand your reasoning for it. If you want to apply that reasoning to MK9, why stop there? Fighting games in general aren't the best place to be looking for immersion. Mechanics, balance, and presentation are all far above immersion in terms of priority when it comes to this kind of genre.

Tohuvabohu:
If you want to apply that reasoning to MK9, why stop there? Fighting games in general aren't the best place to be looking for immersion. Mechanics, balance, and presentation are all far above immersion in terms of priority when it comes to this kind of genre.

I didn't stop there. I've only really played Mortal Kombat. The last Street Fighter game that I played was Super Street Fighter on the SNES. The other games you've mentioned like Tekken, and their neck-breaks, I have no opinion on it because I've never seen/played them, but I can chaulk it up to context. It's like playing a pro wrestling game and not feeling "he should have a broken back." It makes sense within the context of the universe. I played the demo for soul caliber on the 360, and I couldn't get into the gameplay in general but the fact that most of them were using edged weapons, and are supposed to be mere humans (most of them) stuck out to me. Not all games can be bushido blade. And I'm not praising bushido blade either. There is a suspension of disbelief that I can bring with me. Yes, Zangief should, by all rights, have killed the person with the spinning pile driver. But within the context of the universe, they're strong enough to "take it." You hear a bone crunching sound, but nah! "he just got hit really hard." You could even beat an opponent to the point that they became "light-headed" and would stand there helpless while seeing stars. IMO, that lends itself to "okay, there's a tangible effect to the damage that I'm delivering. He's dazed." It's like Spiderman being cut, beaten, and fatigued by Green Goblin's strikes, vs Superman not even having a hair out of place after being thrown through buildings by Zod. It gets to the point that I think "wtf is the point? He's not even fazed?" There is no tension.

Games like Marvel v Capcom get away with it for me because there's a lighthearted fantasy element to them. MK always struck me as the "grown up" fighting game with death compared to Capcom's "winner-loser screen with loser looking tattered, but alive." In MK's more "realistic" setting, the bone-breaking does too much to shatter the immersion for me. It also becomes annoying to watch the slow down over and over. It gave the fight a poor sense of pacing for me. Fight, fight, fight oh! Okay. Let's all stop and watch the painfully slow animation. I think it would have been better to have the same action take place, only at normal speed, and without the close-up.

"Oh wow! Looks like he popped his knee outta place with that one. But he's a warrior. Way to fight through it."

There should be a point to the brutality, else you have Superman and Zod crashing through buildings with no real stakes. If the camera didn't zoom in, and the action slowed for maybe just a blink when one of those moves connected in order to give you just long enough to go "Ooooooooo!", I'd be more excited about it. I loved the trailer that showed them trapping each other's strikes, and then counter attacking. The way those flowed had an impact that resonated with "nice! I just accomplished something out of the ordinary." I hope there is a "trapping" mechanic, perhaps like "tech blocking" in the later iterations of street fighter, that allows you to block and counter if timed properly. Those, to me, worked without giving you a "let's put down the controller because they obviously want us to watch this" interruption.

tdylan:
It's like Spiderman being cut, beaten, and fatigued by Green Goblin's strikes, vs Superman not even having a hair out of place after being thrown through buildings by Zod. It gets to the point that I think "wtf is the point? He's not even fazed?" There is no tension.

Well... MK9 is a bit more progressive than other fighters because it actually does display visual damage to characters. By the time a fight is over, your character might have chunks of flesh missing and exposed bones from the fighting. But this doesn't translate to an effect on performance. I think the fighting genre does well enough at developing tangible tension, and far moreso than other genres do, just by competition.

Games like Marvel v Capcom get away with it for me because there's a lighthearted fantasy element to them. MK always struck me as the "grown up" fighting game with death compared to Capcom's "winner-loser screen with loser looking tattered, but alive." In MK's more "realistic" setting, the bone-breaking does too much to shatter the immersion for me.

Okay, I understand that. MK's context is fairly unique among the rest of the fighting game genre. I'd say it's extreme violence, while mature in a sense, ends up being more puerile and humorous. Sort of like the difference between the violence in Saving Private Ryan, and Kill Bill.

It also becomes annoying to watch the slow down over and over. It gave the fight a poor sense of pacing for me. Fight, fight, fight oh! Okay. Let's all stop and watch the painfully slow animation. I think it would have been better to have the same action take place, only at normal speed, and without the close-up. There should be a point to the brutality, else you have Superman and Zod crashing through buildings with no real stakes. If the camera didn't zoom in, and the action slowed for maybe just a blink when one of those moves connected in order to give you just long enough to go "Ooooooooo!", I'd be more excited about it.

Personally, I was never bothered by the amount of time it takes for an X-Ray for play out. Most of them take around the same time as it would for super specials in many other fighting games. I've played MK9 a lot with friends, and X-Ray attacks never ceased to make us laugh or yell at each other. I guess the same can be said for super specials in any fighting game, but the presentation of X-Ray moves is a lot more amusing to me. And the slow-down sort of highlights how well placed and timed those moves can sometimes be.

But, that's just how I feel about it. I've heard others say they really don't like the pause in combat and the slowdown, and I can understand that.

I loved the trailer that showed them trapping each other's strikes, and then counter attacking. The way those flowed had an impact that resonated with "nice! I just accomplished something out of the ordinary." I hope there is a "trapping" mechanic, perhaps like "tech blocking" in the later iterations of street fighter, that allows you to block and counter if timed properly. Those, to me, worked without giving you a "let's put down the controller because they obviously want us to watch this" interruption.

I'm with you on that, I expected a sort of counter or impact-reversal system from the looks of the trailer, but I haven't seen anything like that yet. At this point I'm starting to doubt that will be in the game in any form, which is disappointing because I thought it looked interesting. I love what I've seen so far, still. But I would've liked to see that in as well.
In high-levels of play, X-Ray moves are hardly ever used. Meter is much better spent on enhancing combos, and breaking combos. Spending all 3 meters on 1 move that does 30% damage is seen as a huge waste when a perfectly executed combo utilizing a single meter enhanced move can deal over 30%. You'll see it less and less as player skill begins to rise.

Anyway, I'm not trying to change your mind or anything about all this, I just wanted to understand why you felt this way. So thanks for indulging me.

 

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