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- Mortal Kombat 11
NetherRealm has finally awakened from its post-Aftermath slumber to reveal its long-teased next chapter for Mortal Kombat 11. It’s yet another character pack that features all the characters found in the most recent datamine: ‘80s action movie hero Rambo and Mortal Kombat standbys Mileena and Rain. While there’s definitely a debate to be had regarding Rambo’s relevancy in 2020, Mileena is the more controversial fighter. It’s not because she’s a bad character (she’s great); it’s because her inclusion feels like it was a result of a successful harassment campaign.
How MK11 fans forced NetherRealm’s hand
The toxic cries for content touch all corners of Twitter, as fighting game commentator UltraDavid alludes to in the above picture. But the requests for Mileena are particularly egregious. The replies to every tweet from the official Mortal Kombat and NetherRealm Twitter accounts are filled with droves of memes demanding that the half-Edenian, half-Tarkatan clone be added to the game. It’s been that way since before the game came out and has continued even after the aforementioned datamine.
Constantly pestering faceless, official accounts is already annoying, but it spills over into harassment territory when this poison invades other personal accounts. A lot of the NetherRealm staff members are bombarded with these loud, unprompted requests whether they tweet about Mortal Kombat or a football game. Nothing is off-limits, including tweeted death threats.
“You know what’s DUMB? Not having Mileena in MK11”
There… I saved you the time to respond with that.
— Ed Boon (@noobde) August 25, 2020
Ed Boon has been at the forefront of this, enduring the brunt of the campaign with each and every tweet he puts out there. And even he’s been beginning to break his silence on the topic, lightly (and justifiably) snapping back or referencing the abuse he gets put through on a near-daily basis.
It’s a ravenous sense of entitlement that would probably even disturb a cannibal like Mileena. Given the sheer amount of characters in the series, some fighters are naturally not going to make it into the next installment. NetherRealm is not required to add every single fighter — from Meat to Scorpion — to every single game and choices have to be made.
It can be tough to see your favorite character not make the cut. NetherRealm even seems aware of this, as it gave Kitana one of Mileena’s sai in Mortal Kombat 11 and Jade’s staff in Mortal Kombat X. They were small gestures but important ones as they gave those respective games a taste of those that couldn’t be included.
But that’s where the entitlement comes in because that isn’t accepted as reality, but a form of injustice that must be corrected at all costs. Social media gives these people a platform to shout on and they take that opportunity to do so. To cry out so loudly and join others that are also crying out in an effort to bully the staff into doing what you want is a gross abuse of the direct communication channels that social media gives us.
The Mileena DLC is the latest “geek culture” harassment campaign
This has obviously happened before. Mass Effect 3’s Extended Cut DLC is the biggest example as players heckled BioWare long enough to force the studio’s hand and overhaul its controversial finale. It did patch up holes and improve the ending overall, but fans reporting BioWare to the Better Business Bureau and Federal Trade Commission made it an ugly, unequal trade-off. The Justice League Snyder Cut is not a video game, but yet another example of “geek culture” mercilessly shrieking until their requests are met.
This can all be misconstrued as passion, but passion has a limit. Passion would be the occasional tweet requesting that she be included in the game, especially during Boon’s many polls. Harassment is when hundreds of people never stop screaming memes for almost two years. The former is an acceptable means of communication between a developer and its fanbase. The latter is an uncivil way to demand what you think you’re entitled to without thinking of the other side.
After many, many months of angry tweets, it’s hard not to see the Mileena DLC as NetherRealm finally giving in to the bullying. It shows that if people scream loud enough and often enough, they’ll get what they want. It doesn’t matter if it fills Boon’s timeline with vitriol. It doesn’t matter if every post has 18 Mileena memes just after it’s posted. It only matters that Mileena is coming to the game and that, to some, justifies the means that made it happen, regardless of their hostility.