Mortal Kombat Wasted Its First Openly Gay Character

Most do not usually affiliate the over-the-top hyper-violence of the Mortal Kombat sequence with strides for inclusion and illustration. Instead, the franchise’s gory fatalities and convoluted story mode are prone to be the very first thing to spring to thoughts at any time when anyone mentions NetherRealm Studios’ iconic preventing sim. Beneath the bloody facade, nonetheless, the Mortal Kombat video games have all the time been quite sturdy on range, albeit in their very own means. The very first recreation, launched in 1992, featured a feminine fighter within the type of Sonya Blade, in addition to an Asian “protagonist,” Liu Kang. Additionally, the sequel enlarged the roster to incorporate Jax, a Mortal Kombat stalwart and the primary black character within the already increasing roster.

Because of its clear reverence for Asian martial arts tradition and cinema, Ed Boon’s mammoth franchise has all the time featured an enormous array of Chinese and Asian fighters. It’s additionally featured a robust variety of iconic feminine fighters, together with Jade, Kitana, Sonya herself and the immensely fashionable Cassie Cage, daughter of sequence common Johnny. An space the place the video games had been admittedly missing was of their LGBTQ+ illustration, one thing that the builders sought to rectify, albeit quite fleetingly, in Mortal Kombat X.

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Released in 2015, Mortal Kombat X raised the bar for what a preventing recreation could possibly be, setting the usual not just for the franchise however for its modern rivals. Tactile to play, nice to take a look at and having enough depth to assist a thriving eSports group, MKX nonetheless has gamers returning after seven years, even following the discharge of a extremely profitable follow-up. MKX additionally boasted the same old nonsensical storyline that has change into a cherished function of the franchise. Instead of the menace emanating from Shao Khan, MKX sees evil necromancer Shinnock return as the sport’s main Big Bad. Shinnock seeks to realize management of the realms by merging with the Jinsei on the Sky Temple — a enjoyable, if utterly ridiculous, narrative that manages to introduce a number of recent faces into the sequence’ already bulging roster.

Among these additions are Takeda Takahashi, Scorpion’s son, Cassie Cage, Jacqui Briggs, the daughter of Jax, and Kung Jin, the nephew of Kung Lao and considered one of Raiden’s proteges. It is the latter of those heroes who arguably boasts essentially the most compelling story. After Kung Lao’s demise, Kung Jin and his household quickly change into destitute and are compelled to maneuver to America, placing the younger man down a path of thievery and crime, main him to resent Raiden for failing to guard his household.

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When Kung Jin later makes an attempt to sneak into Raiden’s Sky Temple to retrieve considered one of his household heirlooms, his confrontation with Raiden results in one of many recreation’s most unexpectedly touching and well-handled scenes. Saddened by the trail Kung Jin has taken, Raiden counsels the errant thief by urging him to take his place on the Wu Shi Academy, the Shaolin martial arts faculty at which the likes of Kung Lao and Liu Kang had additionally been tutored. When Kung Jin implies that he will not be accepted resulting from his sexual orientation, Raiden allays his fears by saying that “they care only about what is in your heart, not whom your heart desires.”

It’s a remarkably touching scene that handles its topic with lightness and subtlety, teasing Kung Jin’s path to redemption as one of many recreation’s extra attention-grabbing subplots. Raiden’s line that “self-loathing has always been an unfortunate part of your makeup” is especially heartbreaking, nevertheless it establishes Kung Jin as a person trying to find his id each as a Shaolin and with regard to his personal sexuality.

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When Mortal Kombat 11 dropped, it was a disgrace to see that Kung Jin would not be concerned in a narrative that focuses predominantly on the previous and current variations of the sequence’ iconic heroes colliding because of a timequake brought on by Raiden’s interference in Kronika’s grand plans for the realms. Instead of furthering the character progressions of the so-called Kombat Kids, NetherRealm opted for a narrative that might focus extra closely on established favorites akin to Shao Khan, Liu Kang, Kung Lao and Scorpion, satisfying long-term followers of the franchise. It’s a superb, cinematic story and a very good recreation, however many followers can not help however really feel that Kung Jin’s omission after the good work performed by MKX in establishing his character looks like a wasted alternative.

All just isn’t misplaced, nonetheless, and followers now look to the upcoming Mortal Kombat 12 to see the place the narrative will go subsequent and which characters will likely be (re)launched to the brand new entry’s roster. Of all of the names followers need to see return, Kung Jin undoubtedly deserves one other probability, as his compelling story and unresolved character arc are greater than sufficient justification for warranting a return. If Kung Lao’s nephew does not get the invite again for MK12, the good work performed by MKX will seem to be nothing however a hole, meaningless gesture quite than a step for true illustration.

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