Velma is the smartest and most put-together member of the Scooby-Doo gang. And while she can’t see a thing without her glasses, she’s absolutely the most likely member of the squad to solve any given mystery. However, in MultiVersus, the Super Smash Bros.-like fighting game filled with Warner Bros. characters, she’s a total narc — or, rather, she was.
One of the strangest aspects of Velma’s character in MultiVersus was her ability to summon the fuzz after solving a mystery (which simply involved collecting clues around the arena). A police car would then roll up on Velma’s victim, throw them in back seat, and attempt to drive them off the stage. Is that a funny idea in concept? Of course it is. Is it funny in practice to watch a cop car roll up and start wreaking havoc in the year 2022 in a game with Black characters, including real-world people like LeBron James? Not so much.
In America, police distrust is at an all-time high, with some cops finally facing punishments for criminal actions committed on duty, and many more getting away with obvious abuses of power because they wear the badge. It’s clear now to many Americans — although this has long been obvious to marginalized and oppressed folks in this country — that the police are not the “good guys” they are depicted as in shows like Scooby-Doo.
It’s with that slow but steady cultural shift in mind that some MultiVersus players winced at the choice to have Velma call the cops — a small group of fans even started an online petition to remove the cops from Velma’s ability, and replace it with the Mystery Machine. And that’s exactly what Player First Games did.
In Thursday’s patch, the notes included this bit about Velma’s passive ability: “Instead of calling the police, Velma now solves the mystery and calls the Mystery Inc. gang and the Mystery Machine to take the bad guys away.”
This change may seem small, but it takes away some gloom from an otherwise silly ability while still keeping its charm. Instead of the heat rolling in to do god-knows-what to Jake the Dog, LeBron James, or Steven Universe, Fred and Daphne will simply run them over in their hippie van. Same result, committed by fun cartoon characters instead of armed state employees.
As the petition calls out, the police aren’t necessary to MultiVersus’ gameplay or even the in-game spectacle of a character calling in a whole-ass car to do their bidding. So it’s nice to see Player First Games work to improve an issue that inadvertently sends the wrong message to players and makes a group of fans uncomfortable while playing an otherwise silly cartoon fighting game.