Mortal Kombat is the video game that triggered Congress for its display of gratuitous violence and sexy outfits, that made every “I’d like to speak to your manager” soccer mom literally shake in anger in the mid ‘90s, and it’s now trying to become every bit as tame as the frumps want it to be.
The latest title in NetherRealm’s classic series of ultraviolent fighting games comes out this week, and it has been diagnosed with a bad case of corporate wokeness.
Skin is for men
The art director of Mortal Kombat 11, Steve Beran, has bluntly stated that the outfits women wear in the game were purposely toned down to give a game where people get their spines ripped out of their backs a more “mature” and “respectful” representation. Speaking to Polygon, Beran said that the team has “a more measured approach with the art direction in MK11. That’s especially true with the game’s female fighters.”
They’re taking away the traditionally skimpy outfits, is what he’s saying. Check out the before and afters:
None of the designs are especially heinous, but players who yearn for their characters to display a bit more sexuality than that of a nun are upset by the changes.
Following internal debates on the subject, Beran admitted to Polygon that the choice to cover up the female characters was deliberate.
“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.
“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.”
The decision has prompted fans of the long-running series to start a petition on Change.org to provide alternate outfits to the existing characters. These fans argue that the designers could just as easily bring back outfits from the previous games. Brian Hughes, the creator of the petition, writes:
“I and many other long term fans are petitioning 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.
“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.”
It’s doubtful that the Change.org petition will go anywhere, as none of these things ever do, but the fanbase is trying to make its voice heard. It isn’t without criticism from feminist voices, either. YouTube commentator Liana Kerzner took issue with the character design changes, referring to it as a form of “benevolent sexism.”
The decision also flies in the face of its creator. Ed Boon’s said in 2015 that the series empowered females with its much higher percentage of female characters in its roster than most fighters out there. The females, he stated, were treated exactly like the male characters.
The game’s male characters are of course every bit as ripped and shirtless as they always were:
New leaks of the game’s character endings reveal that Jax, the African-American cyborg, has also been drinking the wokeaid. Jax Briggs’ tower ending sees the character using the power to manipulate time to force black people out of slavery and lead his people into a glorious, Wakanda-esque future.
“I’ve been lucky my family and I have lived the American dream but most people that look like me haven’t had that chance. I’m not waiting centuries for people to get woke when I’ve got the power to speed things up.”
As you can see in the scene, viewers are treated to imagery showing the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. It’s a far cry from who Jax is a character. Jax, as fans of the series can attest, is a pro-military, conservative character, who’s now become a conduit for whatever woke intentions its developers have who are using his story to preach to the masses to assuage their pathological white guilt.
Continuity and consistency in characterization be damned, the developers have to show the world how woke they are by making real-world slavery into an issue worth addressing in a game where characters get their skulls crushed and are instantly get back up to keep on fighting.
The ultimate bad guy is Trump
Corporate wokeness follows the script exactly, so of course Shao Kahn, the series’ ultimate bad guy, now has a line that makes it clear he is intended to represent President Donald Trump.