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Creating Fatalities For Mortal Kombat


Ever wondered how the Mortal Kombat development team comes up with ideas for the grotesque Fatalities the series is known for, or how they illustrate them? The answer’s simple than you think.


NetherRealm Studios’ Director of Art, Steve Beran, writes on the PlayStation blog that the process simply involves locking a bunch of team members into a room for Fatality meetings. The designers then come up with ideas for Fatalities that they act out for each other, and the ones that draw the strongest reactions are chosen for being put into the game.


Mortal Kombat co-creator, Ed Boon, then creates simple concept images using stick figures for each Fatality, which are used as reference by the motion capture studio. Here’s a look:


Beran says that, while Fatalities were only added at a fairly late stage during the development of previous Mortal Kombats, for the upcoming game, the team began working on Fatalities early on in the development cycle.

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.