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Does NetherRealm Studios' reasoning for changing Mortal Kombat costumes hold up? True Under Dawg has his doubts

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • July 22, 2021 at 2 p.m. PDT • Comments: 72

Mortal Kombat, a franchise that's been aimed at mature audiences since day one, has consistently and conclusively earned 17+ ratings for its trademark propensity for copious amounts of blood and gore. While development studio NetherRealm Studios has only pushed the violence envelope with 2019's Mortal Kombat 11, they have conspicuously toned their approach down in one other arena: female sexuality.

As is the case when video game creators too heavily alter most any aspect of established characters, more than a few fans have expressed distaste for the migration away from the more scantily-clad versions of combatants like Mileena, Kitana, and Jade. Mortal Kombat 11 art director, Steve Beran, addressed this in an interview with Polygon during the game's release month with a few statements on the matter.

While Mortal Kombat has never been the most overt fighting game franchise when it comes to female sexuality (that title surely goes to Dead or Alive) it most certainly has gone out of its way to tantalize users in the past. Mileena's Flesh Pits attire from Mortal Kombat 9 (2011) is probably the most egregious example of this, though some others have come close.

Here's what Beran had to say to Polygon about the transition to more covered up feminine fighters.

"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," stated Beran.

"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."

In his latest video, True Under Dawg Gaming takes a closer look at this statement and questions exactly how genuine it is. To the extent that it's about wearing attire more suitable for fighting, True argues that it doesn't hold all that much water.

True moves through a few examples of character outfit changes to see if the latter examples really would be more suitable for combat than the former ones. We'll let him give you most of the details via the video below, but will note that high heels have remained consistent in MK games even in more recent titles.

He moves on to share some poll results in which he asked followers whether or not the more revealing outfits of Mortal Kombat 9 were problematic for them, keeping in mind how much fans tend to love their characters and the fact that Mortal Kombat is a decidedly mature franchise.

Give the video below a watch and chime into the comments with your thoughts and reactions to the matter. As TUDG brings up in the presentation, is NetherRealm trying to have their cake and eat it too? What direction would you hope to see the next MK entry go in when it comes to costumes and covering up?

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