One month back, we started hearing semi-official details that suggested fan-favorite basketball legend (and brand icon) Shaquille O’Neal was working on a sequel to his universally maligned fighting game, Shaq Fu. Then, at CES 2014, O’Neal outright confirmed Shaq Fu 2 was in development – promising that the sequel would feature “crazy graphics,” among other things. At the time, it was unclear how far Shaq Fu 2 was in the production pipeline – and there was always the possibility that the championship winning center was simply trying to get a rise out of industry reporters (it was a tech convention after all).
Now, armed with the promise that the development team “Won’t Fu’ it Up” this time, O’Neal has posted a crowd funding campaign on Indiegogo to help generate additional capital for the project – offering some genuinely unique (and fun) prizes for supporters.
Prospective backers can check out the official Indiegogo page for Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn as well as watch the pitch video below:
In standard O’Neal fashion, the video is lighthearted (and short on substantive details) – with the leading man outright acknowledging the failure of his previous foray into video games. The project’s teaser trailer (which can be viewed at the top of the page) suggests a definite improvement over Delphine Software’s virtually unplayable cash grab from 1994 – with an aesthetic that blends kung-fu tropes with modern animated exaggeration, reminiscent of recent entries in the Street Fighter series.
Additionally, where the first Shaq Fu presented a semi-serious face, the reboot appears to take advantage of a smart asset, O’Neal’s larger-than-life personality. Assuming gameplay is fluid and engaging, embracing the goofy and jovial Shaq personality could make for a pretty entertaining package – especially considering A Legend Reborn sidelines its fighting game roots in favor of a classic beat-em-up arcade experience. According to the campaign page, player vs. player battles will be included but it’s unclear, at this point, how the core gameplay will translate into competitive play.
The Indiegogo page lists over 20 features that will be included in the game and we’ve highlighted a few of the more interesting ones below:
- Intricately designed combo system that leaves room for a variety of fighting tactics. Learn the moves and let Shaq rip against his enemies
- Pimp your character with new moves and abilities. Select from different fighting styles or combine styles and create your own new discipline (Shaq FU is what you make it)
- Battles against hordes of enemies in the tradition of the lost art of the beat ‘em up. I mean, who could take Shaq one on one?
- Take the challenge up to an entirely new level in unforgettable smack downs against awesome bosses. Once you beat a boss you unlock him and can play as him in the game.
- Modifiers that change your appearance and enhance your skills. Transform into the monstrous Big Daddy O and crush your enemies. Twirl into the Big Baryshnikov and pirouette your enemies like a tornado tearing through Kansas. Power up into the Big Diesel and steamroll your enemies into Kobe-Patties. A power-up for every nickname Shaq has ever had, and a few new ones for good measure.
- Co-op Gameplay. Grab a friend and battle it out in tandem. Play as Shaq’s identical twin (no he doesn’t sell insurance) or select from a host of other playable characters with different skills and power-ups. Split screen action available, baby! Co-op’s not your bag? Build up your character and fighting style and duke it out online or on the same machine against another player.
A Legend Reborn also features standard brawler game staples: destructible environments, a variety of melee weapons as well as projectile items, hidden areas, and power moves. To developer Big Deez Productions’ credit, it certainly sounds as though the team is creating a quality game – centered on O’Neal rather than rushing a poorly designed product then stamping O’Neal’s name on it. It’s probably not going to be game of the year material, but based on these early details, A Legend Reborn could offer a lot of fun for gamers and O’Neal fans, alike.
To that end, the team is providing a variety of incentives to raise funds for the project – everything from free DLC to more unique (and expensive) opportunities including a trip to play basketball with Shaq, a personally recorded voicemail, or a followback on Twitter. Prizes range from $15 (a copy of Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn) to $35,000 (lunch with O’Neal and an evening at the TNT Studio), so there are numerous ways that dedicated fans can contribute to the project’s initial goal of $450,000.
That said, there’s one key fact that potential supporters should know before they plunk down hard-earned cash – unless A Legend Reborn hits select stretch goals, the game is only going to be available to PC players. Porting a game to other platforms costs extra money and, for that reason, the studio has listed a breakdown of benchmarks the campaign will need to hit – should players want to see the game on current or next-generation consoles.
Here’s the full breakdown of stretch goals – specifically what funding levels will be required to get the game ported to new platforms:
- $500,000 – We add a challenge mode!
- $550,000 – Two additional levels and an additional playable character!
- $650,000 – iOS and Android feel the thrill of Shaq Fu!
- $775,000 – Shaq Fu gets the Xbox and PS3 treatment!
- $960,000 – Shaq in your pocket with PS Vita and 3DS versions!
- $1,080,000 – Nintendo lovers get the action on Wii U!
- $1,620,000 – Shaq goes turbo on XBOX One and PS4 Platforms!
By asserting the game is PC-only, instead of coming out the gate with a higher goal and promising to deliver the title to multiple platforms, Big Deez Productions has significantly limited the amount of people that can contribute (at least at this point). Even if a console player wanted to contribute $15, there’s no guarantee they’ll get anything in return – resulting in understandable hesitance to support the actual game campaign.
Still, for those who are on the fence, there’s reason to trust that the new game could be a worthwhile investment. Aside from some unfunny stabs at French developer Delphine Software for dropping the ball on the original Shaq Fu, the studio pitch video is pretty encouraging:
We’ll keep you up to date if we hear any further updates on Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn – especially if they reevaluate the funding strategy to include console gamers.
Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn does not currently have an official release date.
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