Amid the excitement of the 2015 Gaming Awards, PlayStation Experience reveals, and startling announcements for games long thought to have disappeared in the development abyss, updates on some lesser-known games inevitably slipped through the cracks. One of these updates happened to be a newly released teaser trailer for independent studio Big Deez Productions’ Indiegogo project Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn, which stars NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal as himself.
The Facebook page mentioned in the trailer can be found here.
Indeed, Big Deez has taken up the mantle to create a spinoff of one of the 16-bit era’s most notorious home fighting games, Shaq-Fu. The original Shaq-Fu was developed by a now-defunct French studio named Delphine Software International and was published in 1994 by Electronic Arts for the Super Nintendo and the Sega Genesis, with later releases on the Game Gear, the Game Boy, and Amiga computers. In the game, O’Neal enters a martial arts dojo on the way to a charity fundraising game in Tokyo (because, according to the game, he is the founder of an “extremely lethal martial art form” called “Shaqido”). According to the wizened master of the dojo, Shaq is the Chosen One who will rescue a prince named Nezu from an evil mummy named Sett Ra, so the master sends the hapless basketballer off to save the boy. Shaq is then whisked away to a mythical realm, where he must combat various monsters and supernatural beings to complete his quest.
The original Shaq-Fu is a traditional player-versus-player 2D fighting game, with each player choosing a character and duking it out with combinations of punches and kicks. While far from the worst fighting game released at the time, Shaq-Fu’s goofy premise, unintuitive control scheme, and overall slippery game feel arouse plenty of derision and ridicule from gamers young and old to this day. In fact, an entire website is dedicated to the eradication of every single copy of Shaq-Fu in existence, so that we may not repeat the mistakes of the past.
Yet from the mistakes of the past, we may also draw strength. The decade of the Shaq craze may have ended long ago, but Big Deez and O’Neal himself are determined to set the record straight with A Legend Reborn. The game’s official Indiegogo page reached its goal of $450k last year, and it promises such rewards as Super Nintendo cartridges signed by O’Neal, as well as the opportunity to luncheon with Shaq himself. Big Deez states on the Indiegogo that its team is made up of industry veterans who have worked on “HALO, Street Fighter, Final Fantasy, Alan Wake, Spec Ops: The Line, Battlefield, Killzone, Max Payne, Duke Nukem, and many other huge franchises.”
Shaq himself vows to redeem his reputation in the gaming world in the below video.
A Legend Reborn is connected to the original Shaq-Fu in name (and celebrity) only. This new title will involve hectic 3D combat in a classic beat-em-up fashion. According to Big Deez, its gameplay will be a combination of “Devil May Cry with an old school Streets of Rage feel mixed with classic Shaq humor.” Mixed with a highly exaggerated visual style and plenty of absurd humor, A Legend Reborn’s potpourri of silliness is enough to crack a chuckle from even the most cynical gamer.
Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn is set to release in 2016 for PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and Wii U platforms. The game’s official website can be found here.