The Mortal Kombat games are best known for their over the top, brutal gameplay. Some brutalities (finishers) include punching a man so hard you can see his intestines or severing someone’s head before taking a selfie with it. The latest entry in the series, Mortal Kombat X even features some controversial microtransactions that allows people to buy easy brutalities and unlock these messy kills quicker.
But amongst that blood ‘n’ gore ‘n’ stuff, the Mortal Kombat games are also praised for their diversity as it features several playable female characters (who aren’t portrayed as oddly shaped boob monsters) and there lots of characters of colour too. Mortal Kombat X also introduced Kung Jin, the very first gay character in the Mortal Kombat series.
Mortal Kombat‘s First Gay Character
Kung Jin is a Shaolin monk fighting for the Earthrealm but back in the day he was just a thief and so in a flashback, fellow character Raiden tries to convince him to help them fight the good fight. Unfortunately, Kung Jin refuses, saying that his ancestors wouldn’t approve:
Raiden: Self-loathing has always been an unfortunate part of your makeup. There lies ahead a brighter path. One that will truly honor your ancestors. One that is worthy of you. Go to the Wu Shi academy. Join the Shaolin. Like Kung Lao before you.
Kung Jin: I can’t… they won’t accept.
Raiden: They care only of what is in your heart, not whom your heart desires.
@bcharred I see people are picking up on the subtle exposition contained in Kung Jin’s flashback. Glad we have observant fans!
— Dominic Cianciolo (@domcianciolo) April 14, 2015
Seeing as the game doesn’t stick a label on Kung Jin, the reveal of his sexuality might go over some player’s heads. But Dominic Cianciolo, the cinematic director for NetherRealm Studios (Mortal Kombat‘s developer) tweeted the above message, confirming what GayStarNews and other outlets had already reported on.
As expected, everyone is complaining about something. While some people are complaining about Mortal Kombat being infected with ‘the gay agenda’, others have an issue with the way Kung Jin’s sexuality was revealed, saying that NetherRealm is dancing around the issue. I see the point – after all Cianciolo said that fans would have to be “observant” to pick up on it – but Kung Jin is gay and NetherRealm has stated that clearly. Neither the character nor the developer should have to make a song and dance about his sexuality just because some people aren’t paying attention.
Divisive as it may be, Kung Jin’s inclusion is definitely a good thing. The kombatant isn’t defined by his sexuality and he’s not just a token character either, which is exactly the type of representation that we should be striving for.