Sindel is about to scream her way into Mortal Kombat 11, but a recent leaking of her story-mode ending has many fans of the character confused and upset. Since 1995 there has been a clear story for Sindel, and her character has faced extreme situations in games since that time, but at her core there was always an understanding of her being a good, kind person that Kitana fought to save. That notion is effectively scrapped now, with only evil Sindel remaining.
Sindel's Original Story
Fans of Sindel have long-since known of her backstory, which begins over 10,000 years before the events of Mortal Kombat 11 when her kingdom lost its tenth consecutive Mortal Kombat tournament, and was thus conquered by Outworld emperor Shao Khan.
A key point in this story was that Sindel was always portrayed as the helpless victim. She watched the murder of her husband, King Jarod, witnessed her people become slaves, and finally, had her infant daughter Kitana stolen and raised by Khan. This was all so much that Sindel took her own life rather than live in subjugation, only to be resurrected by Shang Tsung and brainwashed to believe that she was loyal only to Khan.
This was the story of Sindel, but the recent leaked ending for her story arc in Mortal Kombat 11 reveals a completely different series of events, and players are understandably confused and upset by the change.
Sindel As The Evil Conqueror
When a player defeats Kronika to acquire Sindel’s story completion, they are in for quite a shock. Sindel has been turned into a monologuing villain straight out of a James Bond film, describing how the story everyone knew about her life was a lie. She was never the helpless victim to Shao Khan and his forces; she was a willing participant who thought her husband weak and is shown stabbing him to death.
All of this was planned, as she describes, “By betraying him I gained a better lover, and the ultimate weapon. A conqueror to unite all realms and put them at my beck and call. Then, Kronika upended history and I found myself confronting a future in which I’d been dead for centuries. My so-called family had failed me in every way.”
Players were quick to jump onto social media and game forums to discuss the unexpected change in Sindel’s character. The change is a shock because it virtually eliminates what players have known since the events of Mortal Kombat 3, seemingly for no reason. No other characters have undergone such a drastic and fundamental shift in their characters, and so players are simply confused as to why this decision was made.
This is further a confusing direction to take Sindel as a character because she is not involved in the main story in any way. As a DLC character, she has nothing to do with the events pertaining to Kronika. To have The Terminator or the Joker come in and have some strange, outlandish story mode ending is comparatively fine because as DLC characters no one expects much from them in terms of a narrative contribution. Those characters are only stopping by for a short while, but players have certain expectations of a character like Sindel, now over two decades old within the game series, and it is difficult to accept the shift from a good character to one of the most evil in a short cinematic.
The shift from good to evil is further problematic because the dialogue in game contradicts itself. According to the various interactions, Kitana claims that Shao Khan killed King Jarod. Khan admits to the murder, as does D’Vorah who claims she did it for Khan, and now Sindel claims to have done it because Jarod was weak.
Ultimately, Mortal Kombat 11 can get away with virtually anything because it is a story about time travel and worlds with infinite variations of the realities we know. However, the Sindel change feels brash, unexpected, and most importantly, undeserved. The change fundamentally breaks with decades of cannon, and had it been a major focal point of the main story, would have been acceptable.
Instead, Sindel’s story ending feels like someone at NetherRealm Studios lost a bet and was forced to allow a sloppy, hastily written fanfiction of an evil character to take center stage in official cannon. Sindel deserved better, so let’s hope we don’t see other classic characters mistreated in this way.