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What the hell is this? If you're a gamer and you're on the internet, you have undoubtedly heard of Shaq-Fu.
Whose fault is it? Delphine Software, a very well-regarded French development team... at the time of this game's conception, anyway.
What happened? Delphine Software was fresh off of making two artistic breakout hits, Flashback and Out of This World, when EA approached them to develop a one-on-one fighter featuring the then-megapopular Shaquille O'Neal. We sure as hell don't know what compelled them to work on this one, but we think the pitch went something like this: "Hey guys, we've seen those killer cinematics and animation in your latest games. Really awesome stuff - we'll even say it's way ahead of its time. But we've got to put your name on the map as a consistent developer of megahit titles. We've got a great vehicle for you - we just got the rights to make a game about Shaquille O'Neal. See, all the kids in the States love this guy, he's a superstar. But we know you guys don't make sports games, so, uh, we were actually thinking of a fighting game. No, really, this guy's an actor and a rapper, too, so why can't he be a fighter as well? Seriously, it'll sell a bazillion copies, and the kiddies will eat it up. Just think of the fame even the mere association with Shaq will earn you!"
If only they knew back then just what they would unleash upon the gaming public...
Aftermath: Delphine's tale, unfortunately, has an unhappy ending. While it recovered from Shaq-Fu to produce some excellent titles that performed decently in the marketplace, they never again achieved the runaway success of Flashback and Out of This World, and closed up shop in 2002. We're not saying that Shaq-Fu was the instigator of Delphine's downfall, but it sure as hell didn't help anything.
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