A petition has been created to have NetherRealm’s Mortal Kombat 11 feature Mortal Kombat 9 costumes for female fighters.
Since previews of Jade and other female Kombants came to light at the beginning of the year. It’s been apparent that NetherRealm Studios had decided to take a much more conservative approach to how they showcase their female fighters. All in the name of “realism.”
The petition was created by Brian Hughes, who plans to send it to NetherRealm Studios, Warner Bros., Ed Boon, and WB Games. The petition calls for:
“The creators of Mortal Kombat , NetherRealm Studios, to bring the iconic female character designs from 2011’s Mortal Kombat reboot (aka MK9), as they were in MK9 (remodeled obviously, but keep the designs close) to Mortal Kombat 11 as an option for the female characters such as Jade, Skarlet and Kitana along with more idealized body shapes like the one allegedly being utilized for the “Kold War Skarlet” skin that’s being made exclusive to Russian gamers.”
Hughes then goes into detail as to why the petition was created:
“The reason we are petitioning for this is not for gratification, but because many of us are beginning to feel that NetherRealm studios has caved in to political correctness and the neutering of the Mortal Kombat franchise is well underway and it needs to be addressed. I, and many other fans, felt that the scantily clad women added to the overall, over-the-top atmosphere of MK2-MK9.”
Hughes goes on to point out what he sees as a double standard between the male and female characters in Mortal Kombat 11.
“We know the toning-down of female characters started with MKX, but MKX still had options.
Why do the male characters in Mortal Kombat 11 run around shirtless and even half-naked while female characters are decked out head-to-toe? Will the blood and gore content be toned down in MK12 to appease parents, politicians and church groups? When does the pandering and kneeling to people that more than likely will never play an MK game stop?”
Hughes then points to other games who still maintain “idealized female characters” like Soul Caliber and Street Fighter.
We know the toning-down of female characters started with MKX, but MKX still had options.
“NRS, if you do this, go all out, bring back the babes in thongs to MK11. Give us the option if we want it. After all, Soul Caliber and Street Fighter have idealized female characters, their games are still taken seriously by the public regardless and our money and time could very well go to them instead of MK11.”
Finally Hughes asks, “Will MK continue to be hollowed out content-wise and become a shell of it’s former self? That’s the decision we will leave to you.”
Mortal Kombat has been plagued with controversy surrounding its female characters. YouTuber Liana Kerzer accused the game of benevolent sexism, which she describes as “the type of sexism that reinforces an apparently positive sex role binary that men are strong and women are kind. It seems temporarily beneficial for women in the short term, but can become a real problem as things go on and women have higher aspirations and women step outside traditional binaries.”
The female character designs would come under further scrutiny after Mortal Kombat 11’s art director Steve Beran confirmed the characters were de-sexualized in order to make them more realistic.
Beran would state:
“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.”
He would add:
“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.”
But while Beran pointed to realism when discussing female outfits, he made it abundantly clear the fatalities featured in the game have nothing to do with realism.
“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.”
As of this writing, the petition currently has 392 signatures.
What do you think of the petition? Does it have merit? Is there a market for games that allow for this type of expression?
Mortal Kombat 11 will be available on April 23rd for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.