Netherrealm Studios Addresses Fan Outcry By Making Mortal Kombat 11’s Joker Much, Much Uglier

Netherrealm Studios Addresses Fan Outcry By Making Mortal Kombat 11’s Joker Much, Much Uglier
Credit: Mortal Kombat via YouTube

When Netherrealm Studios announced that the Joker, Batman’s greatest enemy, would be a playable character in Mortal Kombat 11, fans everyone cheered. When those same fans got their first look at the character, they booed. They booed hard and they booked loud, loud enough for the developers to hear them and take action.

It’s always nice when a developer hears feedback and earnestly takes it in and tries to address it. That doesn’t mean that developers should bend over backward every time someone doesn’t like something in one of their games, but there wouldn’t be games without gamers buying them, so it makes good business sense to keep fans happy. Clearly, Netherrealm agrees.

The original Joker design can be seen in the video above (along with several other characters). While that design isn’t exactly horrendous, it definitely has a weird cosplay look to it, making it look more like someone imitating the Joker rather than the clown prince of crime himself.

This Joker has boyish good looks, and while there certainly have been versions of the character that portray him as well-groomed and handsome, that isn’t the version fans seem to want. Heath Ledger’s iconic portrayal in 2008’s The Dark Knight seemed to cement fan’s love for a more disheveled take on the character.

The video above shows the new look (as well as Cassie Cage, looking like Harley Quinn). While he’s still well-groomed, gone is the youthful innocence, replaced by a face that’s much more wicked and vile. You no longer want to get lost in his eyes, but rather avoid his eerie gaze at all costs. This is much more like the Joker we all know and love to hate.

Strangely enough, there’s actually a possible history behind this. It isn’t simply a case of bad design if the rumors are to be believed. Back in August, before the DLC pack containing the Joker was officially announced, there were a lot of signs pointing to Ash Williams from the Evil Dead series being included as a playable fighter. Not only that, but the Joker wasn’t originally part of the plan.

For reasons nobody knows, Ash was supposedly swapped with the Joker at the last minute, leading to the theory that the original Joker design is actually just a re-skinned Ash. If this is true, it begs the question of whether or not a re-design was planned all along or if Netherrealms tried to pull a fast one, hoping it would stick.