Mortal Kombat 11 is a fighting game with a surprisingly robust story mode that a lot of people have gotten mad about in the days since the game was released to the public.
The latest edition of the fighting game series deals with time travel a lot, with former versions of now-aged characters and their children dealing with a temporal paradox that threatens them all. It’s a great gimmick to bring back some characters who are dead in the game’s lore, and it works to a surprising amount.
One mode of the game the Klassic Towers mode, offers you the chance to choose a fighter to battle your way to beating Kronika, the time-controlling superbeing that serves as MK11’s main villain. If you play with different characters, you get different cutscene endings as the characters gain the power to control time and play out a particular storyline. It’s not the ending to the game, but it’s an ending to it. And it seems one particular ending has really steamed the beans of gamers who think politics should not be a part of a game where you routinely rip the spine out of an opponent if your’e good enough at it.
Let’s be clear here: Mortal Kombat 11 is ridiculously violent, to a cartoonish extent. But it’s also funny and has an interesting enough story and the narrative Jax carries out is also interesting: he ends slavery with the ability to change history through time.
“I’ve been lucky. My family and I have lived the American Dream,” Jax says. “But most people who look like me have never gotten that chance. I owe it to them to put things right.”
Jax says that he doesn’t get it right the first few times, but that eventually, he does. Which implies that he puts an end to slavery.
“I’m not waiting centuries for people to get woke when I’ve got the power to speed things up,” Jax says.
According to multiple reports, this particular ending was brought to the public and a certain segment of the population hated the fact that Jax… ends slavery? The game has been spammed with negative reviews and complaints about putting politics in a game literally about kings and rulers getting into fistfights.
It’s an insanely dumb “controversy” for what’s actually a very good story mode for a video game, and an interesting thought experiment for one of the many “endings” of the game. This is a fighting game where people routinely get life-threatening injuries and just keep fighting like nothing happens. One of the early fights in the campaign mode features two members of the same military branch fighting. If you press the right bumper at the right time, a drone shoots your opponent in the groin and then you shoot them in the back of the head.
Mortal Kombat 11 is far from high art, but it’s heady at times. And having a character explore a topic like this is, well, pretty rare for a fighting game to do. It might make some people really upset to address it, but considering many critics flatly dismiss the series as needlessly bloody and silly, it’s actually a unique way to differentiate itself from the genre.