There Is Going To Be Another Shaq Fu For Some Reason

By Nathan Grayson on March 7th, 2014 at 12:00 pm.

Hi there, Street Fighter IV's exact art style. How are you doing?

There are some things in this universe I will simply never understand. Mainly, I’m referring to math and this older gentleman who goes to the bar where I do karaoke every week and only ever sings Gangnam Style, but the idea that a sequel to the universally reviled Shaq Fu could exist in the year 2014 is up there too. As if that’s not enough, it gets even more bewildering: Shaquille O’Neal, American household name and multi-millionaire basketball star, is hoping to garner $450,000 of gamerly cash on Indiegogo. Or rather, the company he’s working with is. Right? I don’t even (indie) know-know anymore. There is a trailer of Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn below, and it is certainly… something.

The game itself looks like a worse, beat-’em-up-based version of Street Fighter, and the pitch video is absolutely painful to watch. Well, aside from the Shaq pun section. They got me with BioShaq and O’Neal of Fortune. I’m sorry, everyone. I’ve let you all down.

Developer Big Deez boasts talent that – in some non-specific form or fashion – has worked on Halo, Street Fighter, Final Fantasy, Alan Wake, Spec Ops: The Line, Battlefield, Killzone, Max Payne, and Duke Nukem, and the game itself is apparently “Streets of Rage meets Street Fighter meets Devil May Cry.” Or, in more words:

“It’s a modern day take on the classic beat ‘em up. Play as Shaquille O’Neal – learn hundreds of moves and battle techniques, take on thousands of enemies with dozens of cool melee weapons, battle bosses in dynamic arenas, master cool finishing moves and play with your buddies in COOP mode or against each other in player vs player combat.”

“In Shaq Fu, dozens of unique and varied enemies await which require careful use of tactics. The game also features destructive environments, awesome power ups and a series of well-designed, beautiful levels with interesting progression.”

The concept is enjoyably silly enough, though the comedy seems rather forced so far. But then, that’s all up to taste.

To their credit, Shaq and co at least address the rationale behind rooting through fans’ pockets despite having access to a war chest deeper than many triple-A development studios. Predictably, it’s about exposure and collaboration, which is still pretty strange given that we are talking about Shaquille O’Neal, but I suppose it sort of makes sense if Big Deez is specifically trying to court an audience of hardcore gamers. Even then, though, why so much money? Why not ask for, like, $20,000 or something? The game would still garner attention (not to mention make far more than that), but without all the skepticism and scrutiny.

What’s less debatable, however, is the utter grossness of some of Shaq Fu’s backer rewards. There’s the Penny-Arcade-style $500 option to pay for the privilege of having Shaq follow you on Instagram ($1,000 for Twitter!), and you can even pay $6,500 to work as a concept artist on the game. Yes, you pay them for your job – not the other way around. (Oh, but don’t worry: if you’re actually talented, Big Deez might have an opening for you after you’ve proven your chops/ability to unwisely spend large sums of money.)

So that’s upsetting on quite a few levels. I’m all for more quality action games, and I’m a total sucker for all things Devil May Cry-esque, but there sure are a lot of red flags here. Proceed with caution, lest you be metaphorically dunked upon by the consequences of your own actions.

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49 Comments »

  1. Sidewinder says:

    Think of it this way: making a sequel to a good game runs the risk of it being really lousy. Making a sequel to a lousy game…

    • toxic avenger says:

      I seriously cannot wait. My buddy and I during one of our college drunken stupors put in hours into the original. It was soooo bad. I’m sure many of you guys overseas might not be aware of Shaq and his career in the NBA, let alone care at all bout the NBA. But for us Americans, well maybe only me and my bud in particular, are really excited at this announcement.

  2. SominiTheCommenter says:

    I can’t Shaq the feeling this will dunk.

  3. BreadBitten says:

    “universally reviled Shaq Fu”

    Take…that…back.

    • DanMan says:

      Well, he certainly has something to make up for. Let’s put it that way.

      Anyway, this has so much potential to end up nothing like DmC at all, so… I’m holding on to my money for now.

  4. Wowbagger says:

    Just makes me want to play NBA jam on the Mega drive again.. Boom SHAKALAKA!

  5. Viroso says:

    C’mon, shooting some b-ball with Shaq. That is easily the best reward ever. This game must happen.

    • Jalan says:

      Who knows, we might even see the long anticipated sequel to Ken Griffey, Jr.’s Slugfest. Just think of all the doors it could open.

      • toxic avenger says:

        Wow, I haven’t thought about that game for a couple minutes, at least! Ken Griffey’s line of games, as a kid, was one of the reasons why I got into baseball. (Especially Winning Run, which was the N64 version). I’d fund that on Kickstarter!

      • Jackablade says:

        If they add an unlockable Ken with gigantism model I’ll play it.

  6. Jalan says:

    The truth of it all is, Shaq probably keeps one of his sneakers stuffed full of cash which could easily have been used to fund this (and no doubt feed a small country with what was left over for at least a year).

  7. Evil Pancakes says:

    While I wholeheartedly cheer for the rise of Kickstarter and Indiegogo as ways to help small independent developers, as well as less small but still independent developers (Obsidian, inXile) create games that otherwise would never be funded by larger entities and/or to maintain their creative independence. This is one of those cases where I really hope this falls through.
    Shaquile O’neal is rich as all hell, rich enough to fund this thing in it’s entirety. If he is so interested in getting this game made, he can fund it himself. Now he’s using crowdfunding to check for interest.
    Guess what, making games is a risky business. You never know if something will be successful or not. You can make educated guesses, but nothing is guaranteed.
    Crowdfunding is meant to help those get a project started which could not be funded any other way, without losing at least some creative control. Not as a way to measure market interest.
    I guess I’m sounding a bit idealistic, but this just rubs me the wrong way.

    • almostDead says:

      All smart rich people use Other People’s Money(TM) when they assume any risk. It’s why they stay rich.

      I’m so glad you said ‘rich’ and not ‘wealthy’. What’s the difference? ask Chris Rock:

      Shaq is rich, the White Guy (TM) that signs his check, he’s wealthy!

      I love that sketch.

      Signed the white motherfucker that owns The Color Blue (TM).

    • Shuck says:

      Using Indiegogo for something like this is especially weird. I mean, it’s weird to use it for games in general – if you need X amount of money, and only raise 5% of that, you keep the money despite the fact that it’s not enough to do what you’ve promised to do. (I guess Indiegogo doesn’t require you to make good on any promises you’ve made?) In this case it’s doubly weird if it’s being used to indicate a level of support in order to raise further funds – if they fail, they’re really far from having the money they need to do anything.

    • Jackablade says:

      You’re assuming Shaq is still rich. I’m guessing he’s pissed his entire fortune away on hookers and blow and is looking for some income so he doesn’t have to sell his Shaq-mansion.

  8. Al82 says:

    What I find strange is that they’re targeting the PC as the primary platform. While I’m certainly not against seeing a PC version of any game (being a PC gamer), this game is surely a prime candidate for Xbox Live Arcade and the PS equivalent.

    As for crowd funding, if you can curate interest in the product and get people enthusiastic and invested in the product then why would you NOT do it, regardless of whether they have funds available or not? Personally, I will keeping my wallet closed on this one, but I don’t disapprove of what they’re doing.

  9. Spacewalk says:

    Wow, fuck.

  10. Maxheadroom says:

    I was working in a computer shop when this came out and stupidly ordered about 20 copies of it based on some sales reps recommendation. Dont think I managed to shift a single copy

    that was probably my 2nd biggest faux-pas next to ordering about 50 copies of Rise of the Robots (all of which I believe are still in that shops basement somewhere)

  11. rargphlam says:

    The stars are right.

    Poring over loathsome and ill read lore, sports enthusiasts divine foul technomancy, and as the ebbing shadowy abyss forms within their electronic viewing portal, a full and throaty voice whispers:

    “B-ball.”

    This is a necessary horror.

  12. Tridae says:

    This actually looks really really good. . . If the quality of that teaser is anything to go on I’ll play it just for the animation quality alone. . The animation timing there is spot on. Loving the feel of this already.

    I really really want it.

  13. Darko Drako says:

    Math you say? Please use maths or mathematics sheepface.

    • almostDead says:

      All Americans say ‘math’, learn some culture dude.

      • Evil Pancakes says:

        We would, if the Americans had any.
        Zing!

        What’s the difference between the USA and yoghurt?
        If you leave yoghurt alone for 200 years, it grows a culture.

        Thanks, I’ll be here all week. Try the swordfish.

        • toxic avenger says:

          Those jokes are as bad as the “French people surrender” type jokes. Why did I take the time to reply to this…ahhh f-it.

  14. ucfalumknight says:

    If, and only if, this has the same out of control humor that we find in the Saints Row serious, it may actually be…dare I say it…good. The PC is not saturated with beat-em-ups, and I think this may be funny. They have to go all in for the humor though. What I remember being worst about the original was the controls and game play. I think if they make the story even more ridiculous, and go big, it might be worth a steam sale.

    The Indiegogo thing seems strange though. You should NEVER joke about money.

  15. bill says:

    Is there some kind of American English -> British English translator that we can run all nathan’s posts through? ;-)

    • toxic avenger says:

      Totally confused, ha. For my own edification, can you give an example for a fellow PC gamer across the pond?

  16. mzlapq says:

    Also: Flexible Funding.

  17. Low Life says:

    Why wouldn’t you use this picture as the header?

  18. DumbOne says:

    Wow, I just threw up in my mouth a little bit when I saw how they are already planning 200$ worth of DLC, you know, before they even started the game. It’s okay though, because they’ll sell it to you right now for 25$.

  19. Skabooga says:

    Come on and slam! And welcome to the scam!

  20. RogB says:

    Streetfighter 4 wants its inkblots, brush strokes and overall art style back.

  21. Oozo says:

    The Magical Realms of Tír na nÓg: Escape from Necron 7 – Revenge of Cuchulainn: The Official Game of the Movie – Chapter 2 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa will be better.

    • Keyrock says:

      Sure, but that will likely hold true for some 85-90% of games released in the near future.

    • The Random One says:

      Still not sure this isn’t somehow a publicity stunt for that game…

  22. Ergates_Antius says:

    Whilst this certainly doesn’t sound like something I’d ever back I’m a little confused by:
    “What’s less debatable, however, is the utter grossness of some of Shaq Fu’s backer rewards. There’s the Penny-Arcade-style $500 option to pay for the privilege of having Shaq follow you on Instagram ($1,000 for Twitter!), “
    What’s so gross about that? Pretty pointless maybe, but I don’t see anything in bad taste there.

    • shaydeeadi says:

      I don’t see what the problem is with having silly little rewards for higher pledges rather than endless trinket tiers. Nobody actually will chip in $1500 or whatever for some golden hat but for the game anyway. I also think that the way they are gauging interest by doing the Indiegogo campaign is fine, but I am iffy on the flexible funding nature of it, is there a guarantee that they will make the game no matter what? There isn’t a statement on the site about this minor detail.

      I actually am up for a cheesy brawler and this looks dumb enough to be good. But I want some guarantee that if I chuck my money in the hat with this model they will still go through with the game. I am aware I could just cancel my pledge if it’s looking bleak on the last day but that isn’t very classy.

  23. sinister agent says:

    “Classic” beat ‘em up? Literally nobody in the world liked that awful, awful game. Wasn’t it one of the worst ever games that Amiga Power reviewed? And god did they review some awful pish.

    An utterly baffling move to make such a game at all, let alone to draw attention to the fact that it’s a sequel/remake.

    • Michael Fogg says:

      AP gave the following bottom line: “A very flawed game engine and too small, if impressive, graphics, spoil what might have been a decent little beat’em-up’, so not really that bad.

  24. geldonyetich says:

    Seems to me like some money got lost on the way over to Charles Barkley’s Shut Up And Jam Gaiden 2.

  25. shadybearfaced says:

    Not sure if anyone brought this up already but….

    Apparently there’s this website shaqfu.com — their mission is to find every copy of the original Shaq Fu and “liberate it from existence.” By which they mean destroy it.

    I’m trying to think of a Shaq-related genocide pun but the best I’m coming up with is Shaqocide. RPS pun threads, help me!