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Published:March 20th, 2014 10:34 EST

Shaq Fu Reboot in Production - The Shaq Attaq is Coming Baq

By William Giorgio

On March 6, 2014, Big Deez Productions officially announced the development 
of a reimagining of the infamous Shaquille O`Neal fighting game, Shaq Fu.

Shaq first brought the game to the public`s attention in an interview with
GamerFitnation at the Consumer Electronics Show on January 8. The crew has
started an IndieGoGo fundraiser to raise $450,000 to go towards the game`s
development. At the time of writing, the team has raised $99,692 in 12 days.
The game will be released on PC, but it will also appear on consoles and
mobile phones if the project meets its stretch goals.

The concept of a game where you beat up people as one of the NBA`s greatest
players may leave many in confusion. The conception of the original Shaq Fu
lies within the fads of the early `90s and people wanting to make a quick buck
off of them.

The year was 1994, and the world went crazy for Shaquille O`Neal. After only
two years in the NBA, the young basketball legend had proved himself not only
as an amazing basketball player, but also as an amazing media icon. Appearing
in several commercials for products such as Pepsi and Reebok and releasing
two rap albums, it was clear that if it had Shaq`s name on it, it would make
a profit.

Meanwhile, on the video game scene, fighting games were all the rage. Games
like Capcom`s Street Fighter II (and the various special editions that came
after), SNK`s Fatal Fury, and Midway`s Mortal Kombat proved to be extremely
popular in arcades and on home consoles. Companies quickly sprung at the
opportunity to get their share of the pie by releasing their own two-player
arcade-style fighting games.

The popularity and profitablity of Shaq and fighting games lead to the
creation of Shaq Fu. The game was developed by the now-defunct Delphine
Software International, who are best known for creating Flashback: The Quest
for Identity and Another World (known as Out of this World in the US), and was published by Electronic Arts.
It was released for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis (Mega Drive for Europeans) on October 28, 1994, with versions for the Game Boy, Sega Game Gear, and Amiga
being released the following year.

In the game, Shaq goes on an incredibly stupid quest to enter "the Second
World" and find a boy named Nezu, who has been brainwashed by an evil mummy
named Sett Ra. On the way, he battles a demon, a catgirl, a zombie sorcerer,
a busty sorceress, and an Arabian swordsman. If you thought that was
ridiculous, the Genesis and Amiga versions add a cyborg, a fat man with tiny
horns on his head, an old kung-fu master, and the brainwashed boy into the
mix. After reading that description, you are probably either perplexed,
laughing on the floor, or both.

Despite getting average to good reviews by gaming publications upon release,
game enthusiasts have shunned the game for its bad gameplay and stupid premise,
with some even calling it the worst fighting game ever made. There`s even a
website called that is dedicated to finding and destroying every
single cartridge of the game. However, the game does have its fans, who
believe that the premise is so stupid that it`s funny and that the gameplay
isn`t as bad as people make it out to be. The fans have even made their own
website to counter called, which is dedicated to
saving every cartridge of the game.

Riding off the legacy and infamy of the original, Big Deez Productions seeks
to make a game that isn`t a quick cash grab, but a genuinely fun experience
that everyone can enjoy, even the big man himself. Shaq will be fully
involved in the game`s production. He will be voicing his character and
helping to fund the project. The company is comprised of developers who have
worked on big AAA titles, such as Halo, Street Fighter, and Final Fantasy.

The new game will abandon the original`s arcade fighting game roots and
instead seek to be a modern take on the classic beat `em up. "Think Devil May
Cry with an old-school Streets of Rage feel mixed in with classic Shaq
humor,"says Katya Maximova of PR & Marketing for Big Deez.

The IndieGoGo page boasts several of the game`s features, including hundreds
of moves to execute, customizable fighting styles, AI that adapts to the
player`s actions, tons of different weapons, like basketballs "filled with
the wrong type of gas," destructible environments that allow the player to
open up new paths, co-op gameplay, local and online versus mode, and the
ability to play as the game`s bosses upon defeating them.

When it comes to the original game, Shaq felt out of place in what was
essentially an average `90s fighter, and the ridiculousness stemmed from him
having to fight these fantasy-based characters with his fabricated kung-fu
skills. The new game, however, takes full advantage of its star and its
off-the-wall premise. The game`s depiction of Shaq has the body of an
Olympian, and he walks around Chinese towns at night wearing nothing but
his gym shorts, boxing gloves, and basketball shoes. The game`s teaser
is extremely tounge-in-cheek, showing off Shaq`s trademark commercial smile
and him stopping an attacking ninja by simply shoving his hand into the
ninja`s face.

The teaser also has Shaq fighting to the song, "Boom!" off of his first rap
album. Developer Matthew Karch confirmed on the game`s Facebook page that
they have the rights to all of Shaq`s music. The songs themselves will be
remixed by Particle keyboardist, Steve Molitz, who will also be composing
original music for the game. Since the game clearly doesn`t take itself
seriously, the addition of cheesy `90s rap music is fitting.

Some have questioned why the project needs outside funding when Shaq isn`t
exactly strapped for cash. Both Big Deez and Shaq himself have confirmed
that the IndieGoGo drive was created to see if there was any market interest
in the project, and that the game would cost more than $450,000 to make.

"The real key here is that we are approaching the public, NOT investors,
because we don`t want to lose control to people who will make short cuts and
bad decisions in order to sell more games," writer and designer Oliver
Hollis-Leick wrote on the game`s Facebook page, "Of course Shaq has money
and he IS contributing a lot more than the campaign is asking for. The point
in Indiegogo is to come to the public and say `Do you want this?` If the
public say yes, then we make it."

The IndieGoGo campaign is also offering to give back to the donators in
generous ways, many of which involve direct input from Shaq. Some of the
perks allow donators to contribute to the game`s development, such as mocapping
an attack, collaborating with Molitz and Shaq on the game`s music, and even
creating characters based off the likenesses of the donors. Shaq enthusiasts
will be happy to see that merchandise blessed with his signature will be up
for grabs, including game posters, basketballs, and some of Shaq`s Reeboks.
The ones who throw down quintuple figures will get their chance to hang out
with the man himself. They can play basketball at his house, have a nice
dinner, or even watch a taping of NBA on TNT.

The developers have been open to ideas for the game, and Hollis has responded
 to user questions and suggestions on the game`s Facebook and IndieGoGo pages.
A lot of the questions have to do with who will be appearing in the game.
People have asked about the inclusions of people associated with Shaq
and the NBA in general, such as other basketball players like Michael Jordan
 and Lebron James, and people who have beaten Shaq, such as the winners of
Shaq`s 2009-2010 reality show, "Shaq Vs." and Aaron Carter (as a reference
to his 2001 hit single, "That`s How I Beat Shaq," which lead to him getting
beaten by Shaq 12 years later.) Hollis has said that they would consider
adding these personalities to the game if they can get legal permission to
do so. Many have also asked if any of the characters from the original game
will return, to which Hollis has said that while their inclusion was a
possibility, they wanted "to create whole new characters that will be
unforgettable." Karch has mentioned that they "will definitely include
tributes to the original."

The developers are hoping to get the game finished by early 2015. Here`s
hoping that Big Deez Productions makes a fun recreation of an infamous flop
and a cult classic.