Mortal Kombat doesn’t officially come out until tomorrow, but that has not stopped leaks and spoilers from coming out about the game. Considering a lot of the pleasure of playing are the fatalities and getting to grind through, I have been taking a peek at some of the details and one that stood out to me was Jax’s ending from the upcoming game.
**SPOILERS FOR JAX’S ENDING MK11**
When Jax completes his story, he gains the power to fix history through the sands of time (because the big bad of the game is Kronika, the Keeper of Time) and decides that he can’t just help himself—he has to help others as well. And by others, he means Black people. Through the video, we can see that by using the power to fix time, he is attempting to both undo the slave trade, while also keeping his wife and daughter in his life. That is really freakin’ awesome and not something I would expect in a Mortal Kombat game.
Not only is it a big thing to do, but it also says a lot about Jax as a character that he would want to use this power to not only help himself, but all Black people around the world. He’s basically making Wakanda a real thing.
Still, some sad person on the internet has decided that this small really cool piece of speculative video game fiction needs to be taken in bad faith to be anti-white. One person decided to make a 14-minute video about how this ending is advocating for white genocide. Despite the person who made this video being slammed by most rational people, his tweet was one of the first you’d see when you looked up Mortal Kombat on Twitter, and the video has a ton of views. Even those who didn’t go as far as to say that this was white genocide, if you look at the response for the ending it leans negative, and that is super disappointing to me.
Whenever time travel is mentioned there is always the inevitable “should we go back and kill Hitler” quip and there is plenty of fiction that portrays alternate-histories about WWII. Why are people so quick to have such severe backlash when it comes to an alternate history where Black people thrive and Africa as a continent isn’t defined by a colonized history? And why is that seen as a threat to white people or too “woke”? I mean is it really a woke opinion to say “slavery was bad, maybe it would be great to have not had it?”
The whole “Mortal Kombat is too woke” discourse has been very exhausting throughout all of MK11’s rollout. Legitimate concerns are expressed in the same place as childish complaints about the female characters not looking hot enough, which makes it difficult for anything of worth to even be said. I already pre-ordered my copy of MK 11 and I look forward to playing it tomorrow, not just because of Jax’s ending but because it seems like they wanted to craft a great fighting game with solid graphics and a good story.
As gamers, either casual or experienced, we want good games. We want to be able to feel like the money we paid is well spent, and that the stories are moving forward in ways that are more compelling. The fact that there is so much negative reaction to what is a pretty happy and non-confrontational ending for one of the series’ few Black characters is disappointing, because why is this ending bad?
Why is this “too woke”? Why is this threatening to people, when all it does is offer an alt-reality where we didn’t have 400 years of race-based chattel slavery? People hate to be called racist, but love to walk around not being questioned about why they hate things that are pro-Black without any determent to their own lives.
(image: NetherRealm Studios)
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