Violence goes hand in hand with the Mortal Kombat. Some might even argue if it weren't for the über-gore, the series may not be around today. The franchise utlizises it with such gusto though, it's one of the things that makes it 'special', for good or ill.
That is why it's always interesting to see Ed Boon, the game's creator, talk about it. In a recent interview with GameSpot, he talked about the use of violence in his games at length. When asked how he felt about the gore in his games, Boon said:
I think it's really a sign of an industry that's maturing. At the point when the first Mortal Kombat came out, you know, there weren't other games that had digitized graphics, in terms of that stuff. All of a sudden, video games were getting sophisticated enough to present something in a much more realistic way.
While other games have had blood in them, it was very pixelated, and all of a sudden, it jumped up and people were like "whoa, whoa." That's when it became an issue, and that's when a rating system was put in place, that we agreed with. We agreed that this content is not intended for all players. It was more for the older player who's now 29 or 30 years, that's the one that we're targeting now.
However, when is too far? I think quite a few of the fatalities I've seen so far are pretty close to the bone. Boon reflected:
Oh yea, yea. Every game, we have these brainstorming meetings, and…somebody will suggest something and it's more of a gut feeling that, you know, that's a little too far. I think every single game, [there are] those discussions where, you know, everyone's trying to push the envelope, but there's always a line that you never want to cross.
I encourage you to go read the rest of the interview. It's a really interesting read.
For me? I never quite know where I fall on the violence in Mortal Kombat. It's gross, but it's also kind of funny. Problematic, yet necessary to the game's identity. I feel it exists in a bubble where you can't really complain about it though. It's would be like getting mad at South Park for going over a taboo line. It's just part of the DNA of a fine product.
Still though. Some of the fatalities I've seen so far are really, really gnarly.