NetherRealm Studios, the developer of the upcoming Mortal Kombat 11 has radically altered their female character designs specifically Jade, Skarlet, and Sonya Blade.
Nether Realm Studios revealed a new Kombatant, Jade, for the upcoming Mortal Kombat 11. The trailer showcases a radically new design of Jade that abandons her traditional sex appeal for a much more modest look.
When looking at the trailer we can see several changes to the character. First, the skin tone is much different. Jade in the past had a more olive or caramel look to her, but now she comes into the game with a more Zombie, undead skin tone. Then you have the case of her armor unlike previous iterations her chest is pretty much completely covered. The only parts that are bare are the top of her face and her shoulders.
It’s a sharp contrast to previous versions. You can see what I mean below:
However, that isn’t Jade’s only costume. Mortal Kombat 11 will have costume customization for their characters and they showcased two more of Jade’s outfits in gameplay footage. Mortal Kombat 11’s series creator Ed Boon revealed that players can “create modify, and collect multiple versions of every character.” PCGamer indicates this customization will involve “different skins, or outfits, for each character, and the characters also have three costume pieces.”
Here’s a screen shot of the first one. As you can see she is even more covered up. She looks more akin to a desert ninja. Both her head and arms are covered even more than her first outfit. Unfortunately here Jade loses a great deal of her trademark green. Her outfit is more red than than green.
And a screen shot of the third outfit variation seen in the video below. This third outfit shows Jade’s hair and her neck, but that;s about it. It too also features a lack of green trading it in for a muted red color.
You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. Check out Jade’s Fatal Blow in #MK11: https://t.co/1JfiaXY8kP pic.twitter.com/y1itn3IbsX
— Mortal Kombat 11 (@MortalKombat) February 14, 2019
Jade isn’t the first character Motral Kombat 11 will radically alter. As One Angry Gamer reports Skarlet has also been completely altered. In fact, if one didn’t know it was Skarlet it would be hard to determine that’s who the character was.
Mortal Kombat revealed the new character design on Twitter.
The deadliest blood mage and Imperial Bodyguard, Skarlet, returns to #MK11! See her in action: https://t.co/ArJITxDowG #MK11Reveal pic.twitter.com/3tZOhUGv2j
— Mortal Kombat 11 (@MortalKombat) January 17, 2019
Here’s a side by side of a previous design of Skarlet versus the new one, where the character appears to be wearing a hijab-inspired look. She looks like Ezio Auditore from Assassin’s Creed.
Not only did they change her costume design, but the character’s physical features were also altered. Her long has been cut off and her hair is no longer red, but brown with a little streak of red. As you can above, the opposite was true. Her hair was primarily red with brown streaks.
Skarlet and Jade weren’t the only female characters to get radically redesigned. Sonya Blade also features a much more covered up look. They revealed the new design and announced Ronda Rousey was the voice behind the character.
It’s official – @RondaRousey is Sonya Blade! https://t.co/ArJITxDowG #MK11 #MK11Reveal pic.twitter.com/YuWVT6ZKih
— Mortal Kombat 11 (@MortalKombat) January 17, 2019
Here’s a side by side of the current design versus a previous design.
It seems that NetherRealm Studios has chosen to take a new, and covered up approach to the female Kombatants in Mortal Kombat 11. This is a sad turn for a game that lives off of exaggerated fighting, powers, and gore. Ramping down the women to make them look either neutral or more manly is a disservice to fans of the long-running franchise. One could argue it’s counter to the Mortal Kombat brand.
NetherRealm Studios’ production manager Spiro Anagnostakos spoke to GameSpot in 2015 about Mortal Kombat X and the character designs:
“The mantra for this game has always been realism; heading towards a more realistic look. So the same thing applies to the proportions where we try to bring things back in per se to where they should be.”
It looks like they’ve taken that idea and run with it.
As you would expect fans of the classic fighting franchise weren’t too enthused about the new character designs and took to Twitter to let NetherRealm Studio’s community manager know.
she looks disgusting !!! Make girls look sexy if u want my money and respect.
— Eugene Solop (@Galaxis_Mel) February 14, 2019
Lansdown would decide to insult the potential customer saying, “I don’t want your respect. Truly awful comment.”
I don’t want your respect. Truly awful comment.
— Tyler Lansdown (@tylerlansdown) February 14, 2019
This type of comment is eerily similar to what we saw from Battlefield V’s Chief Creative Officer Patrick Soderlund at the time. Soderlund would tell potential customers, “you have two choices: either accept it or don’t buy the game. I’m fine with either or. It’s just not ok.”
That decision turned out to be an extremely poor one. EA admitted during their most recent financial report that Battlefield V did not meet earnings expectations, and there were reports that Battlefield V only sold “half the number of physical copies of its predecessor Battlefield 1.”
The debate surrounding character designs has been a hot topic. Dead or Alive series producer Yohei Shimbori noted the upcoming Dead or Alive 6 would be less “extreme” and “more natural” with its character design.
Mortal Kombat 11 will make its debut April 23rd on X-Box, PlayStation, Nintendo, and PC.