People Are Upset About Things That Don't Actually Happen In Jax's MK11 Ending

In keeping with series tradition, every character in Mortal Kombat 11 gets a unique ending sequence depicting what would happen if they won. This game’s big baddie is Kronika, a new villain with the power to control time. She’s got serious beef with thunder god and humanity’s pal Raiden, and she plans to do away with him by rebooting the timeline without him, which is very rude. Those who defeat her in the game’s Klassic Towers mode are granted mastery over time itself, free to reshape it as they see fit.

Special forces cyborg soldier Jax’s ending, though, has helped spur a review bomb and a flurry of plaintive conversations across the internet. But it seems like people don’t actually know what happens in the ending, so we’re here to clear that up.

Jax uses his “what if?” scenario to go back in time and prevent slavery.

This is exactly the sort of situation I would expect to encounter in one of Mortal Kombat’s non-canon, hypothetical character endings. It’s a gigantic and loaded decision, but come on—this is a game where people punch each other’s heads off. At least four of the game’s characters—including Jax—were killed and reanimated by an evil sorcerer. It’s hard to take that seriously. But some fans seem to be doing just that—and they’re getting some things wrong in the process.

Mortal Kombat 11’s PlayStation 4 Metacritic user score, as of this writing, is at 2.7 out of 10 and falling. Site users are bombarding the game with negative reviews. Many claim the game is pushing an SJW (social justice warrior) agenda, giving female characters a stronger role in the game’s story and giving Jax his particular ending. Some reviewers have gone as far as calling the Jax ending “reverse racism”:

  • “The story and the ending for Jax is frank racism. “Black Power” ... but yes, we are all blind and do not see reverse racism. I imagine if White Power would have done, how many accusations would there be against developers in racism. But when racism is on the part of blacks, that’s normal.”

  • “The story was excellent (when It comes to fighting game standards), gameplay is solid. However the game is heavily influenced by political views (that’s one thing that I hate the most when It comes to gaming or movies these days). “

Then there’s this reaction from Reddit:

  • “The guy goes back in time to end slavery of black people, but in MK universe, Shao Khan has been enslaving people of all skin colours for about a thousand years, but Jax only cares about freeing black people?”

All this to say, there’s a lot of buzz about what the ending actually does and doesn’t do, and a lot of misinformation along with it. So let’s talk about what the ending actually does.

“I’m lucky. My family and I lived the American dream. But most people who look like me haven’t had that chance. I owe it to them to put things right, and I’m not waiting centuries for people to get woke,” says Jax. As he speaks, an image of slaves in chains being led to ships dissolves in the sands of time, replaced by an image of two European men respectfully greeting African diplomats.

My immediate reaction to the ending was something along the lines of, “Oh, so we’re flipping a switch and ending racism?” But that’s not the case here. As the cutscene continues, Jax admits he doesn’t get it right the first, second or even third time. He puts in a lot of work. I am imagining him hopping back in time, making a small change, hopping forward, cursing loudly and then hopping back in time again, over and over. There is no mention of “black power.”

There is no indication that, as one YouTube video suggests, developer Netherrealm Studios is promoting “white genocide.” There’s no evidence that Jax only stopped the transatlantic slave trade from happening, despite it spurring his decision.

The actual actions Jax took and their implications are hard to envision. But is it really farfetched to imagine a black man—or anyone else, really—given the power to rewrite time would use it to right one of history’s greatest wrongs and course correct a human failing that’s caused so much pain and strife over the centuries?

Maybe going back in time and fixing a few things isn’t the worst idea.


Comments

    The stupid part is that there's actual, legit reasons to be upset about the game, like it's egregious microtransactions.

    But racists and misogynists gonna racist and misogynist I guess.

      I've read a lot of comments and to me there is basically not one instance of thinly veiled racism. Most of it is purely concerns about poor writing and the implications of the story line.

      To that, all those comments have missed the mark because as fahey says this is like a non cannon story unlock and people aren't getting it cause they haven't played the game. So they've made mountains out of molehills.

    bluntly I'm not a fan of intentional time travel stories to begin with. after all what gives you or I any right to forcibly change so many lives. what gives us the right to ensure that because of our decisions so many people may never be born. hearing that they go that far through time (As opposed to the series reboot of back to the begining of the the tournaments which have far less reaching changes makes things easier to swallow) is another reason not to bother with the game personally.

    It'd be difficult to prevent slavery, as it was practised in Africa long before white people ever set foot there. You'd have to change inter-tribal behaviour as well.

    The illustration showing white people bowing to African diplomats could also be taken to represent white people seeking to purchase slaves from African elites. It is a common misconception that white people captured slaves 'from the wild'. In practice, it was mainly the Arabs who conducted slave raids. The Europeans 'merely' traded for slaves.

    I'd be interested to know how Jax 'prevented' slavery. It sounds like the writers just made it a throwaway concept without really exploring how it could be possible. The most likely scenario would be for Jax to set up himself, or a proxy, as a supreme African ruler backed by a powerful army, which could have defended against the Arab slave raids, enacted laws banning domestic slavery (which took many different forms, including indentured servitude) and eradicating 'independent' slavers such as pirates operating on the Barbary coast. In short, only force would conceivably suffice to 'prevent' slavery in Africa.

      That would definitely be an interesting conversation to have with the writers.

    I don't think people are using "reverse racism" right. If its just racism against white folk it just plain old racism, not reverse racism

    But if he did that wouldn't that basically stop African-American people from existing in the first place (as they would still be in Africa because the slave ships never bought them over to America), thus preventing him from ever being born? Wibbly wobbly timey wimey...

    I liked Jax's ending. It's a noble way to use time travel.

    The image shows Europeans greatinf Africans as equals. Which means that they would have a future of working together as humans rather than looking to exploit the "lesser race".

    What a non issue of an ending.

    The people complaining about it are 100% people that use the term snowflake daily.

    Yeah I knew this article was coming.

    So what's your response to all the black people that find the ending offensive or patronizing?

      They'd probably point out a problematic lyric in a song on the soundtrack.

    A whole bunch of people surprised that a Mortal Kombat game has poor writing. Like the series was a contender for the Nobel prize for literature before this game, and not a thinly veiled excuse for punching out magical alien demon things with gruesome animations as a hook.

    I watched an IGN vid for the 1st time in like years (it was about MK11 coming to switch) and in a pique of masochism, scrolled the comments. Just, wow. An astonishing panorama of breathtaking stupidity, An endless vista of toxicity. A rich tapestry of bigotry racism. I was literally speechless at it all, like witnessing a chanting ("Get woke, go broke"), screeching ("White Genocide", or variations on that theme) Kool-Aid cult of asreholes. A surprising amount of hate on the switch too. Im so happy ive forsaken the skeezier corners of the internet these days. I know there's far worse sites than IGN, but thank fuck there's far better!

    People are going to look back on this period in history and shake their heads.

    I saw a Youtube video with all the endings. I thought a lot of them were pretty messed up. Jacqui Briggs erases herself from history. D'Vorah's one has giant insect people running around eating humans (or bug sized humans, it wasn't clear). Jax's one is far from the worst, in that it's actually the sort of thing someone might want to do with a magic time machine. It is still pretty dumb though, it basically has him doing exactly the same thing Kronika did; wiping out timelines until he got one he thought was good enough.

    I wonder if the next decade will be as silly as this one has been?

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