Mortal Kombat 11 achieves some of the series' most incredible and elaborate visuals, but scratch beneath the surface of these high quality graphics and you'll find a study in economic resource management. The latest edition of webseries Boundary Break has gone out of bounds to highlight some of the game's clever tricks. Watch:
The sprawling environment of Shang Tsung's Island in Krypt mode actually doesn't have a lot to hide, but the detached camera can offer a closer look at background fighters Blaze and Rain, whose fight above The Pit acts out an iconic reference from Mortal Kombat Ii.
Kano watches the battle from the back of the Black Dragon Fight Club, where a well stocked bar isn't far away. The bottled beverages actually have invented name labels, including: Captain Bob, Bearded Brew, Big G, City Miles, Little Cheese, and more. Only the finest cheap swill for the Black Dragon, we're sure.
The low resolution nature of background character models hides a few curious little secrets, such as the Tank Garage Bunker's Johnny Cage, who has no eyes behind his sunglasses. The cheering crowd in Kotal's Koliseum also lack literal depth as flat, two-dimensional animated textures. Both examples show smart ways designers can get more out of arenas by reserving their time and graphics for only what's seen.
The Shaolin Trap Dungeon creates a three-dimensional impression of the Wu Shi Dragon Grotto just outside the arena, but is actually a carefully arranged stack of basic backdrop and dressing elements. The Sea of Blood uses similar techniques for its distant ships, placing increasingly simple background vessels on the massive undulating ocean. Not all of the arenas use this kind of visual trickery to create their world.
The Cyber Lin Kuei Assembly arena renders the mechanical structure you see, even creating a massive tunnel for the robotic warriors to travel inside. It stops at the bend, though, so those cyber-assassins can be hidden until the next one is keyed up. The hapless human body passing through the system also uses staging to minimize its travel to visible tubing.
Some of the most interesting elements revealed by Boundary Break are the Fatality set pieces that manipulate staging in a variety of ways. Entire environments change for Sonya and Cetrion's finishing moves, while characters like Kabal and Kotal Kahn hide spawning elements outside the arena confines to create visual trickery. Kabal's super-speed Road Rash fatality is actually just a clever tube effect the players pass through. Yet when Jax winds up for Coming In Hot, the seemingly stationery fighter actually moves around the arena to suit the virtual camera!
NetherRealm's clever manipulations have made one of the best looking entries in the series! Check out the video embedded above to see all the tricks and break out into the comments below to tell us what you think! Special thanks to MK Online user ShoeUnited for submitting this video for feature.