Mortal Kombat 11’s Art Director Steve Beran confirmed the game purposely desexualized their female Kombatants.
Since the reveal of Jade and other fan-favorite Mortal Kombat characters over the last few months, many fans have been quite concerned with the art direction the latest Mortal Kombat game has taken with its female Kombatants.
Jade and Skarlet were radically redesigned in Mortal Kombat 11 to remove much of their sex appeal. Jade was nearly completely covered up and didn’t show hardly any skin. In fact, in screenshots and game play, she doesn’t even appear to be wearing her trademark green. Instead they appeared to be opting for a reddish brown color.
Skarlet would suffer much of the same fate. However, they would showcase the character wearing a hijab-inspired look with an outfit that appears to be from Assassin’s Creed’s Ezio Auditore’s closet.
In photos where she isn’t wearing her hijab-inspired hood, she sports a pixie cut with all of her hair having been cut off.
Sonya Blade would suffer a similar fate with only her face, neck, and parts of her forearms revealing any skin.
One Angry Gamer also reports that similar redesigns were done to Kitana.
NetherRealm’s art director Steve Beran confirms these changes were deliberately made. Beran spoke with Polygon where he discussed the radical character design changes pointing to giving players more realistic combat.
“Our character lead, Brendan George, has been a breath of fresh air of just introducing new ideas. Our design is just getting more mature and respectful. You’re not going to wear a bikini to a fight. You’re not going to be showing so much skin. I think it’s just what the game is about: You’re going in to fight for your life, and you’re not going to be wearing such scantily clad items.
This is the biggest load of crap, I’ve ever read. They radically changed the female character design in order to make it more realistic? This is Mortal Kombat we are talking about. They feature time travel, gods, insane powers, aliens, and more. If Mortal Kombat players wanted realism, they wouldn’t be buying Mortal Kombat.
But it makes me wonder if realism was really the intended goal. If it was wouldn’t that be something we’d see with the male Kombatants?
Well, let’s take a look!
Yeah, it’s difficult to spot the realism in the male Kombatants. Shoulder pads, being shirtless, and Asian/fantasy inspired armor that doesn’t provide much tactical use. Their designs don’t scream realism to me.
It definitely looks like NeatherRealm just wanted to tone down their female characters instead of providing realism in Mortal Kombat 11.
In fact, earlier in the interview with Polygon, Beran discusses the fatalities featured in the game and how they are not realistic whatsoever.
“Designing fatalities is always a tricky thing. They’re so over the top and exaggerated that, even though the graphic quality is very realistic […] it tends to be more on the ludicrous side and a laughable side.”
I thought the game was about realism now? Ludicrous and over the top and exaggerated doesn’t sound very realistic to me.
Beran is at least honest when he acknowledges that fans will be disappointed by their activism in the game.
“I’m sure that will disappoint some fans. We don’t have bathing suit fighters, and I think that’s fine. If people are disappointed, I don’t regret making that change by any means.”
Mortal Kombat 11 launches on PC, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One on April 23rd.
What do you make of Beran’s explanation? Do you think the changes were made because they wanted more realism? Do you plan on purchasing Mortal Kombat 11?