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Mortal Kombat 11 director wishes for Pennywise DLC

It seems Ed Boon, the creative director of Mortal Kombat 11, has set his sights on a new guest character: Pennywise the Clown. For those unfamiliar with the nightmarish figure, Pennywise is the main form taken by the antagonist of Stephen King's iconic novel, TV, and film adaptations, It. A shape-shifting alien, It uses mind-control and other abilities to feed on the fears of children. 

Based on a recent tweet, Ed Boon is a fan of the devilish clown. After a fan suggested that Boon add Pennywise to MK11, he retweeted it with the caption "Me: Looking back on when I...." and a link to the Stevie Wonder song "I Wish." Though a cryptic message, it suggests that NetherRealm Studios considered adding Pennywise to the roster during development. Many fans have taken up the Pennywise torch, responding with requests that Boon add the alien clown to the game. Others were less enthusiastic, pushing for the addition of Michael Myers or the Joker instead.

As some Pennywise supporters have pointed out, adding the killer clown to the MK11 roster would be a slick marketing move. It Chapter Two, the follow-up to the 2017 film adaptation, hits theaters September 6, 2019. Fortnite's Avengers and John Wick cross-overs earlier this year were a popular move with players. Mortal Kombat 11 could run a similar promotion.

A Pennywise cameo in MK11 would not be too far out of left field. NetherRealm has confirmed the inclusion of Todd McFarlane's Spawn in Kombat Pack 1.  Keith David, the voice of Spawn in the HBO animated series, reprises his role in the game. Recent leaks have also hinted at including The Evil Dead's chainsaw-wielding hero Ash Williams and the Terminator. Pennywise would also not be the first guest character from a horror franchise to join the Mortal Kombat lineup. The Alien from the film series of the same name appears as a playable character in Mortal Kombat X. Friday the 13th's Jason, The Predator, Freddy Krueger, and Leatherface of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series also appeared in MKX DLC.

One user accused Boon of messing with fans, saying: "Don't be trolling Ed." The situation is all too reminiscent of the developer's tweets about Shaggy, the cowardly Scooby-Doo protagonist. When a petition to add Shaggy to the MK11 roster received hundreds of thousands of signatures, Boon fanned the flames through a series of tweet. This included a realistic mock-up of Shaggy as a Mortal Kombat character taking on series mainstay Scorpion. Boon continues to tease Shaggy as a playable character, despite NetherRealm Studios community manager Tyler Landsdown stating in a Q&A that he would never appear in the game. The statement came in February, while Boon's most recent mention of the teenage sleuth appeared on his Twitter feed at the end of April. 

It's clear that Boon likes to toy with fans, perhaps to the detriment of the franchise. Pennywise may be Mortal Kombat 11's next Shaggy, remaining in the public eye long enough to get players' hopes up before disappearing back into the void. As Mortal Kombat has established a precedent for adding classic horror villains, Pennywise at least makes more sense as a guest character than hippy-slacker Shaggy.

Mortal Kombat has received a mixed reception since its release earlier this year. It currently has 6/10 stars on Steam, with many players reporting quality control-related issues. "They break the game every couple updates," said one reviewer. "Constant "server is unavailable" message makes towers unplayable. Plus the krypt is nothing more than a mobile game stashed inside a fighting game," complained another.

The console versions of the game have not fared better. According to Metacritic, MK11 has a 3.1 User Score on PS4, a 2.7 on Xbox One, and a 3.3 on Nintendo Switch. Players continue to complain about microtransacations, excessive grinding, paid DLC, and performance issues across all platforms. The title received a much better reception from critics, pulling in Metascores in the high 70s to mid-80s.

Shang Tsung, the first of 6 planned DLC playable characters went live earlier this week, landing on uneven footing. His aesthetics and morphing ability struck the right notes; however, bugs and competitive variation-related issues left something to be desired. Kombat League, MK11's new seasonal ranked mode, also launched on June 18.