FINISH HIM: How to Make a Killer Fatality for Mortal Kombat

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Mortal Kombat: Liu Kang fatality

Fatalities are back and better than ever in the new Mortal Kombat! Ever since 1992’s Mortal Kombat, fatalities have gotten a HUGE fan reaction. The new game’s fatalities are the most lethal, elaborate, and quite simply the best we have ever made. We are sure that the fans are going to love what we have come up with in the new Mortal Kombat.

Ed Boon and the rest of the MK team knew that returning to a Mature game rating – PLUS the tremendous graphic improvement and new technologies we now have access to – would let us take fatalities to an unsurpassed level of unimaginable brutality. Additionally, we wanted to make sure there were a ton of fatalities for all of the iconic warriors in the game (with two fatalities, minimum, for every character) as well as fatalities for some of the dynamic environments. There is a looot of content for players to uncover – and we finally had plenty of time to build it all!

Mortal Kombat: Fatality Sketch (1 of 3)

The fatality development process is extremely collaborative. In the past, we didn’t start designing and implementing fatalities until the majority of the game was finished. But with this game, the team began working on fatalities early in the development cycle in order to have the maximum amount of time to come up with ideas and polish them. Fatalities are born in the dark recesses of the designer’s minds – each fatality always starts with a general idea from [Mortal Kombat co-creator] Ed Boon and the designers. They basically lock themselves in a room for hours and lay out all of their ideas. Once the meeting begins, one brave soul is the first to share a sick and twisted way for the player to finish off their opponent, and the process begins.

Mortal Kombat: Fatality Sketch (2 of 3)

Inspiration can come from anywhere – gruesome murder news stories, old horror movies, and actual nightmares have spawned more than a few of our most disturbing fatalities. There is a usually a lot of “You know what would be cool…” and “What if…” The designers pantomime many of the motions for that fatality and the reaction of the other team members in the room determine whether a fatality is good enough for inclusion in the game. Ideas with the strongest team reactions are the ones we all build on and polish into a final concept. Ed then goes on to storyboard each fatality for the motion-capture session.

Mortal Kombat: Fatality Sketch (3 of 3)

The motion-capture sessions are a dynamic experience involving two people that act out each fatality over and over until they perfectly capture the movements needed to make the fatality look as realistic and awe-inspiring as possible. From there, our magicians in the animation and cinematics groups add the look, feel and special effects that take the fatalities from a motion-captured wire frame to a graphically intense piece of in-game content.

As a team, we review each step of the process many times in order to make sure each element looks as impactful as possible. Once the fatality meets our quality requirements, we pass it along to our audio group so that they can take the piece to the next level and create horrifying sounds to add the final touch of atmosphere to the piece. Finally, it is given back to the designers who embed the fatalities in the game in preparation for players around the world.

Mortal Kombat: Pit fatality (1 of 3)Mortal Kombat: Pit fatality (2 of 3)Mortal Kombat: Pit fatality (3 of 3)

Fatalities are truly one of the most collaborative development efforts and are a great reflection of the vast amount of talent we have working on the game. We want to ensure that fans get the Mortal Kombat they have been waiting for come April 19th. I wish I could show you some examples of our new fatalities, but because we’re bound by certain advertising guidelines we are only able to show them after you pre-order at GameStop. Once you pre-order, you will be emailed a code that you can enter that into a widget in order to view some of the great fatalities in the final game. You can see more details here.

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