Mortal Kombat Player Disqualified From Tournament For Criticizing Developers

Illustration for article titled iMortal Kombat/i Player Disqualified From Tournament For Criticizing Developers
Screenshot: NetherRealm Studios / WB Games

During an official Mortal Kombat 11 Pro Kompetition tournament on January 16, finalist Titaniumtigerzz was disqualified after jokingly calling out developer NetherRealm Studios by labeling his Sheeva variation—a personalized moveset that displays a custom name to opponents—as “WhyDidNRSdoThis.”

The disqualification made for an awkward moment on the stream. When the official broadcast cut away from the top 8 match after just a few minutes, commentators Housam “Mitsuownes” Cherif and Miguel “Darth Arma” Perez were left fumbling for words to explain what happened.

“Unfortunately, it looks like we have a little problem here, and someone is being…we got a situation,” Perez told viewers while he and his partner appeared to listen to producers in their headphones. “I don’t know what we can publicly say but we definitely have a situation here.”


Shortly after, Perez said that Titaniumtigerzz’s opponent would be advancing despite the match having not been officially decided. No reason was given, but Perez went on to remind everyone to “abide to the rules...everybody’s gotta be respectful,” implying that that was the reason Titaniumtigerzz had been disqualified without coming out and saying so. NetherRealm Studios and parent company WB Games have not responded to Kotaku’s requests for comment.

The variation name, Titaniumtigerzz told Kotaku, was supposed to be a very mild criticism of Sheeva’s strengths.

“It was meant to be funny since the character I was using is basically extremely easy,” Titaniumtigerzz explained to me via DM. “The joke was, ‘Why would they make such an easy character?’”


Sheeva has been a hot topic in competitive Mortal Kombat 11 lately due to her Dragon Drop stomp attack. Titaniumtigerzz says that the move, which is unblockable, can be used in just about any situation to put Sheeva in a more favorable position. It’s become such a problem that top players have dedicated entire videos to explaining how to beat out this one attack.

Titaniumtigerzz and his opponent weren’t told about the disqualification immediately and continued playing their set off-stream for a few minutes. After being notified, he was allegedly left in the dark as to why he had been disqualified and wasn’t given a chance to rectify or challenge the situation. Titaniumtigerzz says that a tournament moderator has since told him the decision had to do with his variation name.


“They banned me in the very first match where I used the name,” Titaniumtigerzz said. “No opportunity [to change the name] was given and no one reached out to me. I’d have changed it instantly if I had been given the option.”

While the official Pro Kompetition rules don’t specifically mention these kinds of protests, the code of conduct section does give the organizers discretion to disqualify players for just about any reason.


Since the disqualification, the hashtag #WhyDidNRSDoThis has spread through the Mortal Kombat community on Twitter, and Titaniumtigerzz told Kotaku he’s received a bunch of support from fellow players who disagree with the decision. He also said problems with Mortal Kombat 11 and last week’s disqualification won’t keep him from playing in future tournaments.

“It’s the pro competition and I’m a competitive player,” Titaniumtigerzz explained. “I might hate how they do things but at the end of the day it’s their game and I don’t have any other options.”

There’s A First-Person Mortal Kombat 11 Mod, For Some Reason

Have you ever wanted to play Mortal Kombat 11 in first-person? Probably not. But, regardless, there’s now a mod that lets you do just that.

As spotted by DSOGaming, MK11Hook is a PC mod created by Ermaccer that adds some new features to Mortal Kombat 11, including the ability to change the game’s speed and reposition the camera. This makes it possible to play MK11 using a first or third-person camera, as seen in Ermaccer’s video showcasing the mod.

As you can see, this isn’t the ideal way to play a fighting game, but it’s nice to have options. Ermaccer created a similar mod, MKXHook, for the last game in the series, which also included new camera angles.


Watching the video of this mod in action reminded me of “Way of The Hado,” a terrible first-person mode included in the Switch release of Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers that uses motion controls and has players fighting waves of enemies.

MK11Hook can be downloaded and installed using Ermaccer’s instructions.


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Malfunctioning Controls, Gross Noises, And Other Personal Video Game Hells

Illustration for article titled Malfunctioning Controls, Gross Noises, And Other Personal Video Game Hells
Image: Bethesda / Kotaku

Only two episodes in, the new Kotaku Splitscreen has already gone to hell. It was bound to happen, but I never thought we’d get there so fast. This week, we journey to the heart of hell and perform a dissection, picking apart the vaunted warm place’s past and present as it pertains to games. Do you like Hades and Satanic panics? Then you’ll be a Satanic fan-ic of this episode.


First, we talk about our personal video game hells, the miserable sections and segments that you’d want to trap us in for all eternity if you were The Devil Himself. Then we take a trip into the increasingly distant past of the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s for a speedrun of gaming’s many Satanic panics, focusing on Dungeons & Dragons, Mortal Kombat, and Doom. Finally, we discuss what our good buddy hell has been up to lately in games like Hades and Baldur’s Gate 3. Also, we review 2020, aka Hell’s Own Year.


Get the MP3 here, and check out an excerpt below.

Ash: My personal hell is games with poor collision detection. Games where you hit the button, and it doesn’t do what you’re supposed to do. Missing collision detection or eaten button presses. So I know I’m pushing the button, and my character if it’s a platformer will jump and maybe grab for the ledge they’re trying to jump to, but not grab the ledge. Or instead of jumping onto a platform, they jump off into an abyss because for some reason it just does that. That’s hell. I know I’m doing it right, but I’m still not...doing it right.

Fahey: Have you played Fall...Fall Out Boy? I wanna say Fall Out Boy. That’s great. Have you played Fall Out Boy, because speaking of hell, Fall Out Boy. No, Fall Guys. It’s purposefully made like that, so your buttons aren’t always quite exactly what you want them to do, and you might miss jumps.

Ash: That was one of the things I was thinking about. That works.

Fahey: Well thanks, Fall Guys. The most popular game in the world—you’re hell. Good job.


Ash: Well actually, Fall Guys is fun, so maybe that means I’m actually a sadist? Is a sadist the one who hits people, or are they the one who likes getting hit? I’m not sure, and I should know this.

Fahey: I’d like to apologize to sadomasochists around the world for the simplistic description. It’s not all “Hit me, OK I’ll hit you, I love hitting you, I love being hit.” It’s a little more complex than that.


Nathan: We’re misrepresenting you. There’s more nuance.

Fahey: Speaking of nuance, Nathan, what is your video game hell? It is your turn.


Nathan: I have a real one and a hyper-specific one that is rooted in recent events. So the real one is, I really don’t like doing things over and over. I especially don’t like it when it happens not during a climactic boss fight where it’s supposed to be challenging, and if you finally manage to overcome it, you get the gratification of having won, and you’re like “Yeah, I overcame this big challenge that was supposed to be a big challenge.” What I hate is when it is some random fight in the middle of a game that you can tell the developer didn’t intend to be that difficult, but for whatever reason, it plays to your exact weaknesses. And so, you end up trying over and over and over and failing repeatedly.

And let’s say, on top of that, because it wasn’t intended to be that challenging, there’s a fucking 10-second cut-scene that plays ahead of it every single time, that you can’t skip. So at that point, the cut-scene becomes this “Fuck you” to the player. And you’re like “I just want to be done with this.” But I’m not someone who has the willpower to step away from that and take a break. Instead, I must do it. So my personal hell is keeping at something like that for an hour or multiple hours, and then finally pulling it off, and feeling nothing. Because you don’t feel anything after that. You just feel like you wasted a lot of time. You feel frustrated. You’re like “Alright, I never want to do that again, but also, I’m not happy that I did accomplish it.”


Ash: So you really didn’t like that Demyx fight in Kingdom Hearts II, huh? “Dance, water! Dance!”

Fahey: You would hate Crash Bandicoot 4, because there are so many levels where you’re gonna die a hundred times. There’s a counter at the top of the screen that shows you how many times you’ve died. I got to triple digits on several of the later levels. I hated them. I kept pausing the game, putting the controller down. I’d come back an hour later and try 10, 15 more times. That was pretty hellish. But what is your other video game hell?


Nathan: Alright so, my other one comes specifically from the game Hades. Ash, you’ll be able to identify with this. So you know the little Satyr guys in Styx? The ones who make that horrible phlegmy coughing sound and spit poison on you? So like, specifically if someone were to make a level that was just 100 of those of guys surrounding me. Maybe I would still have a little pool where I could cure myself of the poison, but it wouldn’t matter because I’d just immediately get hit again. And they’d all be making that horrible, horrible noise that I cannot get out of my head.

Fahey: OK, you need to make the noise before we go on.

Ash: Please don’t do that. It’s right in my ear.

[Nathan and Fahey make horrible noises at Ash for multiple consecutive minutes.]

For much more, listen to the entire episode. New episodes drop every Friday, and don’t forget to like and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher. Also, if you feel so inclined, leave a review, or you can always drop us a line at [email protected] with comments, questions, and even episode topic suggestions. See you next week!

Mortal Kombat 11 Cheapens Its Guest Characters’ Legacies

Everything you love will eventually be corrupted in the name of capitalism.
Everything you love will eventually be corrupted in the name of capitalism.
Screenshot: NetherRealm Studios

At the end of First Blood, the 1982 movie adaptation of the David Morrell novel of the same name, John Rambo tells his former commanding officer that there’s no turning off the violence he was taught to inflict as a veteran of the Vietnam War. He breaks down. He weeps. It’s a powerful image: the quintessential action hero, broken and defeated, shepherded away in handcuffs from the carnage he spent 93 minutes creating.


And now he’ll be fighting a ninja that can turn into a puddle of water in Mortal Kombat 11.

Thanks to Mortal Kombat developer NetherRealm Studios’ acquisition by the gaming division of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, it’s been able to acquire iconic guest characters for the series’ most recent installments. 2009’s Mortal Kombat kicked things off with an appearance by A Nightmare on Elm Street slasher Freddy Krueger, and things have only ramped up from there. In just a year’s time, characters like Joker, Spawn, The Terminator, Robocop, and (come next month) Rambo have joined the cast of Mortal Kombat 11, giving the game a mainstream appeal that fighters rarely enjoy.


Since debuting in 1992, the Mortal Kombat series has treated violence with a campiness that’s almost endearing. Back then, watching a fighting game character rip out their opponent’s spine after a match was considered novel and naughty. Where those pixelated graphics make such abject violence nonsensical in hindsight, however, the franchise’s transition to more realistic models has only heightened the discomfort the original game was no doubt meant to elicit. This is all well and good for the longtime Mortal Kombat fighters that were created for such treatment, but it does an injustice to the characters the developers have pulled from other properties.

Sylvester Stallone’s gut-wrenching portrayal of the traumatized Rambo eventually spawned a number of sequels—most recently 2019’s maligned Rambo: Last Blood—none of which carry the same weight or gravitas of the original. First Blood introduced audiences to the walking embodiment of Vietnam War-induced PTSD. It brought the violence that the United States inflicted on the peoples of Southeast Asia home. But the franchise soon became just another hollow symbol of American exceptionalism bearing little resemblance to the source material.

As Rambo’s appearance in Mortal Kombat 11 is explicitly based on First Blood, I’m uneasy about the partnership. It’s important to note that he only kills one person in that initial film, and unintentionally at that. Most of the movie depicts Rambo’s attempts to evade capture, using only nonlethal methods to dispatch his pursuers. Having him behead Sub-Zero or use a bow and arrow to shoot Scorpion’s eyes out the back of his head completely undermines his character in First Blood and the movie’s underlying message. You may be thinking, “well, we don’t know if he’s going to do those things in the game yet.” And you might have a point if Mortal Kombat 11 didn’t already have a history of cheapening the legacies of its guest characters.

1987’s RoboCop is one of my favorite movies of all time. Not only is it a superb action flick, but the way in which director Paul Verhoeven satirizes the entire genre with his depiction of capitalism acting as the impetus for an increasingly militaristic police state still resonates today. And, much like First Blood, it also has a lot to say about violence, particularly its traumatizing effects and the way it’s used by those in power. That said, you completely miss out on these key details if your only knowledge of RoboCop as a character comes from his appearance in Mortal Kombat 11, which almost celebrates the themes that the movie was meant to critique.

While just appearing in a game like Mortal Kombat 11 does the character a disservice, the most egregious example of Mortal Kombat 11’s misunderstanding of RoboCop comes during one of his Brutalities, round-ending finishers during which the game unleashes its most heinous violence. In the movie, RoboCop becomes RoboCop after police officer Alex Murphy is gunned down. It’s a brutal scene. Murphy’s hand is blown off by a shotgun, then his arm. His attackers reduce him to a bloody torso before shooting him in the head. Even as a cyborg, RoboCop is haunted by memories of his death. So, naturally, Mortal Kombat 11 turns this sequence into a Brutality, allowing RoboCop players to inflict the same violence that led to his creation.

Like many Verhoeven projects, RoboCop is a violent movie. RoboCop is a violent character. He’s been programmed to dispatch crime without hesitation, which often leads to extrajudicial moments like shooting a would-be rapist’s dick off. But in turning his violently traumatizing murder into a gameplay mechanic, the Mortal Kombat 11 developers showed a complete misunderstanding for what continues to make the film relevant. It’s possible to enjoy RoboCop as a mindless piece of entertainment—believe me, I love the stupid shit in this movie—but I was blown away by the disregard Mortal Kombat 11 shows for even the most simple story beats.


I adore Mortal Kombat, even as its violence has become more and more realistic. There’s something very satisfying in the crunchiness and squishiness of its combat. The campiness for which it’s become known is a core part of the series’ identity that I don’t want to see go away. But as it stands, the devs have proven they don’t have the finesse to handle the legacies of characters like Rambo and RoboCop. It’s hard to get across the anti-war and anti-corporation themes of the source material in the 99 seconds of a fighting game match, and I’d rather they not try if this is the best they can do.

Mortal Kombat 11 Datamine Uncovers New Voices From 1995 Movie Actors

Christopher Lambert provided a unique take on Raiden in the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie adaptation.
Christopher Lambert provided a unique take on Raiden in the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie adaptation.
Photo: IMDB

It’s hard to hide anything in your game when thousands of players can search through it with a fine-toothed comb. The folks at NetherRealm Studios found this out recently when one fan uncovered a variety of unused Mortal Kombat 11 audio files that sound as if they were recorded by the stars of the 1995 cult-classic movie based on the longstanding fighting game franchise.


The audio files in question replace the voices of Raiden, Sonya Blade, and Johnny Cage with new ones that sound very similar to Christopher Lambert, Bridgette Wilson, and Linden Ashby, who played those respective characters in the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie.

While uploads of the voices have quickly been removed from YouTube and Twitter by parties claiming to represent Warner Bros., the link below will take you to a Reddit post in which original excavator, Ix, shows off what they discovered.


These findings have ignited some excitement in the Mortal Kombat community. When a fighter’s voice was changed in the past, it usually arose from using a special skin that essentially turned them into someone else.

Jax Briggs, for instance, had a special costume in Mortal Kombat X that turned him into Carl Weathers, complete with dialogue recorded by the Predator star himself. And when Shang Tsung debuted in Mortal Kombat 11, he did so with motion-capture and voice acting by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, who also played the character in the ‘90s movie.

I’m not a huge fan of Sonya or Johnny, but I would love to see Christopher Lambert’s take on Raiden given some love in Mortal Kombat 11. But hey, even if these voices aren’t ever officially released, at least players were able to peer into an alternate reality in which known asshole Ronda Rousey didn’t get to portray the series’ most prominent female character.