This piece contains SPOILERS for Mortal Kombat 11!
So there I was over the last two weeks, doing my daily routine of scrolling through my vast subscriptions on YouTube and I stumbled across the likes of The Quartering and Geeks + Gamers, all calling out Mortal Kombat 11 on going woke. I watched their videos with an open mind, being the MK fanboy that I am, and I realized that I just couldn’t stomach the truth about it. I had been waiting for this game for a long time, and even preordered it on Amazon (which is another story in and of itself – needless to say I ended up having to purchase it outright on the Nintendo eShop).
The claims coming from the Fandom Menace were outrageous. Fully clothed female combatants, a woke ending for Jax, female empowerment shoved down our throats, sexied-up men; it was too much! Then, I spoiled myself and watched someone’s full play through of the story mode, and I just kept staring at Cassie Cage’s digital arse, and I realized something…
The Fandom Menace (God bless them all) got this one wrong!
Taking the image and story of Kitana (pictured) into account, I don’t find anything “woke” about her.
First, if you follow the lore of Mortal Kombat then this won’t come as a surprise. Kitana was the daughter of Queen Sindel and King Jarrod of Edenia. When the King was violently deposed by Shao Kahn after conquering Edenia in Mortal Kombat, the Outworld Kahn took Sindel as his trophy, but ended up inheriting Kitana as well. Kahn didn’t want Kitana succeeding him, so he had Shang Tsung create Meleena in the Flesh Pits to take Kitana’s place. After the fall of Shao Kahn in the new timeline set in Mortal Kombat (2011), Meleena was the new Kahn of Outworld, leaving Kotal to lead a rebellion against Meleena, fearing that Meleena would be Shao Kahn 2.0. The rebellion would be successful and Kotal Kahn’s First Minister, D’vorah, would kill Meleena. Kotal’s reign was born out of conquest/rebellion, not of lineage.
Flash-forward to Mortal Kombat 11 and Kotal’s hand is forced by Kronica and a Shao Kahn from the past, brought forward while Kronica works on destroying the current reality. Kotal gets his handed to him, and the forces of Shao Kahn are defeated by Kitana, who unified the peoples of Outworld against Shao and Kronica. Knowing that Outworld won’t follow a defeated ruler, Kotal surrenders the Kahn-ship to Kitana, restoring Outworld to the Shao Kahn lineage it has known for tens of millennia.
I ask, what is woke about that? Here are some things to consider. 1: Kotal was no match for Shao. Shao had millions of years, as a demigod, of combat training and soul stealing under his belt. Lieu Kang was the champion of Mortal Kombat, yet Shao could not be killed unless the Elder Gods deemed it. Having Kotal get his arse kicked by Shao was perfectly in line with MK Lore. 2: Kitana’s lineage was the true ruling blood of Outworld since Shao conquered it. The Kahn-ship passed, illegitimately, to Meleena, and thus Kotal was right to rebel in the first place. It also made Kotal right in surrendering the Kahn-ship to Kitana at the end of the epic fight in the Arena against Shao Kahn.
If fandom got upset over Kitana ending up being Kahn of outworld, then there’s something wrong with those fans – not Mortal Kombat.
In Jax’s tournament tower ending, we get Jax who reflected on his family (wife and daughter, Jaqi). We also get him going woke and eliminating the African slave trade from existence, as having defeated Kronica, he becomes time lord and can reshape history the way he wanted to. This sparked serious outrage throughout the fandom menace, including Jeremy from Geeks + Gamers claiming, “It’s out of [Jax’s] character” to want to do something like this.
While I can clearly go all political and site that the African slave trade is still alive and well in the Middle East, regardless of what the history books and fake news tell you, citing sources, I will dismiss this outrage simply as, “It’s not canon.”
Because it’s not.
Tower tournament endings are, for the most part, not canon. Only the story (Konquest) mode is the canon story. In it, it’s Lieu Kang, merged with Raiden to become a fire god, who defeats Kronica and reshapes the timeline once and for all. If you don’t like Jax’s ending then just don’t play a tournament tower as Jax. If you like Jax, then just be assured that his ending isn’t canon.
Cassie Cage has never been a “sexy” character. She’s always been depicted as the spoiled Beverly Hills brat-turned badass special forces soldier, ready to kick serious ass wherever she goes. She was never depicted as super sexy to begin with.
But, I’m sure the fandom isn’t complaining about that.
What the fandom is complaining about is one of the character designers for MK11 going on record, saying that girls are dressing up because they don’t go into battle wearing swimsuits, or something like that.
Sexied-up ladies has always been a staple of fighting games since the 16 bit era. I can see where the fandom would get upset with MK wanting to “break from tradition,” given the following examples below.
To be quite honest here, this particular complaint is bunk. Okay, so there aren’t any scantly-clad women in MK11.
And? Your point?
Look, I’m not jumping on the SJW bandwagon, demanding that wahman be respekted in video games and calling everyone who was upset over the decision to dress-up MK females as misogynists or whatever buzzword you wanna throw out there. All I’m asking is, so what? Why is it important that Kitana return to the time from MK 2011 when her tits were six sizes disproportionately huge and she was basically wearing nothing while still chopping off heads with her fan blades? For me, for a fan of MK, the big tits and half-naked Kitana wasn’t doing it for me.
Not so much so as she appears now in MK11 – ten times sexier than she ever was, period-end! I mean, if this version of Kitana does it for you from MK9, then more power to you. She just didn’t do it for me at all. Her voice actor was too manly, her character model was trash, and I cringed every time she came on the screen. If porn is your thing, she’s perfect. But, I don’t need porn in Mortal Kombat – I play MK for the killing and for the story. This version of Kitana served no purpose to the overall arc of MK.
It’s not a game breaker. Many were complaining over the remarks of the character designer on MK11, and that’s fine. Freedom of speech means that people who disagree with us are free to mock the living crap out of us on social media. That’s fine.
My gripe is, to shoot down MK11 as having gone totally woke because of a costume design change, a non-canonical ending, and a women-powered story that isn’t even woke to begin with… I mean, others have committed far worse atrocities in popular culture than this. Really, I’ve seen a video dedicated to women being “covered up” while men go “shirtless” in MK11… as though they’ve never seen a WWE wrestling match or an MMA cage fight ever in their lives…
It has no merit.
MK11’s sales are down because of the micro transactions, which I’m not even griping about either. If you don’t wanna grind through and actually play the game, but want everything NOW, you can spend your hard earned money and double WB’s profits by buying all of the unlockables up front. Everything that you can buy in the store you can unlock during normal gameplay. If you don’t wanna play, you can buy it. Either way, there’s still nothing wrong here as far as I can see.
Side note to end this piece: I’m a HUGE fan of The Quartering and Geeks + Gamers, and am a frequent Super Chatter on G+G’s live streams. This piece is NOT intended to “call them out,” but to simply introduce a counterpoint to the fandom’s outrage over MK11. I simply disagree with their assessments. There are plenty of other things to get outraged over, and I’m going to be writing about them on this website, so stay tuned!