Like many ‘90s mothers, my mom hated the video game Mortal Kombat. It seemed like everytime she’d walk into the room, I’d be using Scorpion (always Scorpion) to orchestrate either the dismemberment or barbecuing of an opponent—his signature “get over here!” followed immediately by some of the most graphic and gory deaths in video games at the time (or ever, when taken in context). Beheading, charbroiling, impaling—the fatalities in MK were impressively unique in their sadism.
To me, the gore was just cool—nay, awesome. But it would surprise me not at all to hear that my mother lived in constant fear of the day when 10-year-old me would ask for a samurai sword for Christmas, mere minutes after using one to split Johnny Cage in two at the waist. I was an impressionable kid, and the video game blood lust was very, very real.
Which brings us to Mortal Kombat X, the latest installment in the franchise that began in 1992. When someone flagged the teaser trailer—which can be seen below—for me, I was intrigued, wondering just how over-the-top the present-day gore would be. Mortal Kombat carnage plus 2014 graphics? Yowza.
But honestly? Eh.
Maybe it’s because I just watched someone crush another man’s skull with his bare hands on Game of Thrones, or that I spent my college years mowing down terrorists by the dozens in Call of Duty, but I was shocked by how underwhelming it was to see Sub-Zero’s head ripped clean off his shoulders and pinned to a tree by Scorpion’s chained-spike. It’s almost embarrassing to say, but as someone who is at least attempting to be a pseudo-adult, I was disappointed in how not-revolted I was by it.
Of course, it’s possible that I have been desensitized to that type of thing. But given the lack of controversy surrounding the game’s release—as well as an informal poll taken on a Slate email chain—it’s more likely that Mortal Kombat-style gore has just become uncontroversial. And while I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing, per se, it’s definitely something.
All that said? “Finish him” is still incredible to hear. Every single time.
Mortal Kombat X, developed by NetherRealm Studios, is due to hit shelves in 2015.