Gaming - News
What Mortal Kombat Looks Like Without Special Effects
When mocap was still a new technology, the first “Mortal Kombat” used it to bring real-life actors into the game. This risky move paid off, as fans loved the look and feel of the game — and the unique graphics even led to concerns about the game’s violence in the U.S. Congress, which would result in the creation of the Entertainment Software Rating Board.
While the technology may be called mocap today, the techniques Midway Games used to capture their characters looked much different. Actors were dressed up in the actual costumes and filmed with a stationary camera — then the frames were digitized, color corrected, and strung together to make the characters’ moves.
Van Damme
Co-creator Ed Boon told Polygon that the team behind "Mortal Kombat" originally wanted action star Jean-Claude Van Damme to be part of the game as Johnny Cage. This dream wouldn’t come true, and instead co-creator John Tobias would hire local martial artists, whom he'd wanted to work with on a film project that never came to fruition.
The costumes worn by the actors were also locally sourced from the closets of the martial artists and of Tobias, with other supplies and sports gear pulled from stores in the area. Boon shared a story of costuming woe on Twitter, recounting how Raiden's hat would fly off his head during most maneuvers, even with a rubber band helping to keep it in place.
Inventing Moves
Working with the actors meant that moves could be created on the fly such as Raiden’s ability to teleport after getting knocked down, which was created after the actor’s hat kept falling off when trying to leap to his feet. Scorpion’s iconic spear move came into existence when Boon said, "You know what would be a cool-a** move?" and the team worked it out from there.