Evidently Shaquille O’Neal didn’t appreciate his name being involved with one of the worst games in history, because combined with the forces at Big Deez Productions, an IndieGoGo campaign was launched for a game the star hopes will restore faith in his ability to perform more than a single kick and punch combo. Enter Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn, an unnecessary sequel to a game that made as much sense as a basketball player “stumbling into another dimension” to battle an evil mummy and rescue a young boy. In Japan. On his way to a charity basketball game. No, we’re not joking; that’s the storyline in Shaq-Fu, and it’s almost as bad as the gameplay.
Naturally, a large slice of the gaming community is skeptical. Before jumping to any absurd conclusions, let’s understand why:
1. Shaq-Fu was an awful, awful game. The better investment would have been to use those IndieGoGo funds to reimburse the 20 people that actually bought Shaq-Fu (and didn’t immediately burn it). I mean, there’s a website that’s dedicated to “liberating the game from existence.” Despite its clear comedic intentions, the fact that they’re calling the release of a sequel an “act of aggression” is both hilarious and partly true.
Why is it partly true, you ask? Here’s why:
2. Why would Shaquille use IndieGoGo for funding? The basketball legend has a net-worth of over $250 million. We’re talking Grand Theft Auto V development money, not some cheesy remake of a game nobody wants. The fact that he’s able to squeeze money from desperate fans only to turn around and sell the product at a profit is, or at least should be, embarrassing. Both to Shaq as a person, and to the gaming community for allowing this to happen. While they state on the funding page that plenty of Shaq’s personal cash will be tossed in the pot, and that this campaign is a simple method in which to gauge interest, I’m not buying it.
Why do I not believe that this campaign is strictly for interest assessing purposes? Here’s why:
3. The investment rewards are quite steep. Don’t get me wrong, $35,000 to have Shaq DJ your party is a steal, but it’s hardly any way to measure public interest. Wouldn’t a simple poll have sufficed? There must have been a reason that $450,000 was the funding goal. Or was that number chosen based on public interest, too? I’m not entirely blinded by cynicism, however. There’s a strong possibility that Shaq is investing a large chunk of change into this project, but that doesn’t change the fact that half a million dollars is being milked from fans that, despite every previous IndieGoGo blunder, still believe in the system.
Thankfully, the folks at Big Deez have assured us that the game only shares it’s name and protagonist with the 90’s abomination. That’s a huge relief, right? After all, the worst thing about that game was… well, everything. So how could this sequel, or “re-imagining” be any worse? It probably couldn’t be. Or won’t be, whatever. I can’t judge a book by it’s huge, awkwardly muscular cover, as I haven’t played Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn. However, I don’t believe it’ll redeem the cancerous title it lends its name from.
Why don’t I think it can fix the mistakes of its past? Here’s why:
4. Despite Shaq’s endorsement and promise to not “Fu” the game up, it’s unlikely that it’ll be anything stellar, as proven by a large portion of the crowd-funded projects we’ve seen. Of course, I do hope for the best, and I’d love nothing more than to be wrong. I want to play a good Shaq-Fu game. But there are other issues plaguing the release, too. One such issue is DLC, something that’s already been mapped by the company. While there’s DLC for everything nowadays, proven once again when Nintendo’s Mario Golf received a Season Pass, it’s still quite shocking to see a Shaq-Fu sequel being crowd-funded on IndieGoGo, claiming that the campaign’s purpose is to gauge public interest, and using “free lifetime DLC” as a reward for funders.
As you may or may not know, Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn has been funded. For that matter, it surpassed its goal by nearly $25,000, ending at a generous $473,884. This, of course, means that the game will likely see the light of day, because after the humiliating Shaq-Fu release of the ’90s, I truly doubt that Shaq would voluntarily involve himself in another gaffe of sorts. Here’s hoping it’s as good as Shaq’s confidence in the project suggests. I’ll just leave you with a friendly reminder: be careful what you wish for.
In the meantime, watch “Shaq Daddy” in action: