With the upcoming release of Mortal Kombat 11, Netherrealm Studios has been doing a slow burn when it comes to revealing the playable characters that will be included in the latest instalment of the franchise. Past MK games included popular horror movie monsters and characters from other popular video games. For the most part, these DLC characters have fit in rather well among the cast of Mortal Kombat, The only exception being the horrendous Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe.
These days, video game publishers have an open line of communication with fans and this sometimes lead to features or DLCs being added to a game that the fans want. This has been a pandora’s box of sorts, how do you balance the wants of decent fans, entitled shitheads, and not fall victim to trolls? In the case of Mortal Kombat 11, a petition has surfaced where fans are requesting that Shaggy from Scooby-Doo be included among the roster of DLC characters.
With this news, gaming sites have been tripping over themselves in an effort to regurgitate the same tired information about this petition, and how Netherrealm has been, at least jokingly, been considering the idea. You know, the usual “we’re going to write in third person about what we think because apparently fan communities are one collective hive mind that IGN speaks on the behalf of” kind of garbage that typically passes for “articles” on the internet these days.
Again, lots of regurgitating stuff you can easily find on Google, not really providing much of an opinion on the idea. So allow me to tell you why I think the idea is not as outlandish as you think, none of this “we/us” bullshit.
So why is the idea of Shaggy from Scooby-Doo not an outlandish idea? Here are my reasons:
It’s Legally Possible:
Simply put, Netherrealm Studios is owned by Warner Brothers. You know what else Warner Brothers owns? The entire Hanna Barbara catalogue, which also includes Scooby-Doo. All of these properties are owned by the same company. It really shouldn’t be all that hard for Netherrealm to get the rights to use the character. When you look at past licensing cross-overs, particularly DC Comics, Freddy Krueger, and Jason Voorhees, they are all owned or licensed to Warner Brothers. So, really, there is no real legal reason that would prevent them from obtaining the rights to the character.
What could stop them though, is a conflict in branding. Whoever is in charge of the Hanna Barbara brand might not like the idea of Shaggy — a children’s cartoon character — being incorporated into a extremely violent and bloody video game. The company might not want to deal with the PR nightmare if say someone’s oblivious grandmother buys five-year-old Billy Mortal Kombat 11 because it has Shaggy from Scooby-Doo on it and the parents through a shit fit. Sure, it’s rated M, and even the least observant people in the world could tell a Mortal Kombat game is not for kids, but there are always oblivious grandmothers and outrageous helicopter parents out there.
There’s Already an Mature Version of Shaggy
Since 2016, DC Comics has been publishing re-imaginings of popular Hanna Barbara properties, giving them a modern take and framing them from an older audience. Among them was Scooby-Apocalypse which put the Scooby-Doo gang in a post-apocalyptic world.
It was a title that was geared toward a teenage audience and featured the gang going up against horrifying monsters and mutants. It was violent, and bloody, and outrageous. The characters from Scooby-Apocalypse would actually fit quite well in the world of Mortal Kombat. Not only that, but the comic book series was very well received.
So really, at the end of the day, if you stop and think about it, the idea of Shaggy being in a Mortal Kombat game is not that outlandish at all. Also, there are not that many hurdles for Netherrealms to jump in order to put the character into their game. It’s all really a matter of if they want to put the character into the game.
In My Opinion:
To be honest, the idea of having Shaggy in Mortal Kombat is not as hilarious as everyone makes it sound. I write jokes for a living, trust me, I know from humor. Putting Shaggy in a Mortal Kombat game is amusing at best. It also won’t be funny if it happens. If Netherrealms even goes through with this demand, it seems exceedingly unlikely that they are going to model the character after the cartoon. He probably won’t be dispensing ridiculous Casey Kasem era bon-mots. There won’t be goofy sound effects when he runs away. If he says “ZOIKS!” it will have some kind of gravitas. They would adapt the character in a way that fits the tone of the rest of the game. It’s like when they put the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in Injustice 2. These weren’t over-the-top Saturday morning cartoon versions of the characters, but a version that meshed well with tone of that game.
Remember, this is Mortal Kombat, when it comes to jokes it’s limited to punching someone in the dick, Fatality selfie pics, and the Toasty guy. End of list.
Would I want to play the Shaggy character if he was put in the game? Absolutely. 100%. I’d probably enjoy it very much. However, how funny is the idea? In terms of it’s comedic value it’s Gallagher-smashing-a-watermellon-with-a-sledgehammer level of funny. It’s the comedic equivalent of the dumpster out back of an abortion clinic. It doesn’t matter if you paint up all those discarded little angels with clown make-up or dress them in little costumes and put on a puppet show, it doesn’t make it funny to anyone but you, you sick fuck.