Death Rattle Game:
Legends of Wrestling series (with some help)
Having bled Turok dry with Madden-ing release dates (har har) and losing its cash-cow WWF license, Acclaim staked a substantial portion of its survival on Legends of Wrestling titles.
A who’s who of retired man-meat, wrestling fans of all generations could recreate legendary bouts between Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant and The Ultimate Warrior, on down to Jerry “The King” Lawler vs. Andy Kaufman.
Above: We defy you to find a more masculine image
But likeness fees, poor review scores, underwhelming sales and a fair amount of overestimation involved in tent poling a company around a franchise of has-been grapple-mutants sent Acclaim spiraling further towards bankruptcy. And that’s not to mention all the other litigation stemming from Acclaim’s shady dealings with its own employees.
A Developing Problem...
This publishing juggernaut spent nearly fifteen years churning out hits across an equal number of platforms. With that in mind, it’s hard to believe that a company once home to Sub-zero, Bart Simpson, Eric Cartman, NBA Jam, Shadowman, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Burnout could be torn asunder by the very licensing it pioneered. Piss-poor film/TV tie-ins across multiple platforms would sully the once might name of Acclaim.
Sure, the underperformance of the Legends of Wrestling series is partially to blame. But you've also got the Olsen Twins and an avid cyclist as honorary coffin nails. The Michelle Tanner Empire sued over unpaid royalties and pedal-phile, Dave Mirra sought $20 mil in damages after his BMX series was modified into a showcase for ugly polygonal tits.
Above: Everything that's great about America
A series of latter day PR stunts left too many layers of expensive egg on the company’s face to carry on. Acclaim, as we knew it, shut its doors in 2004.
Hope for resurrection?
Only a bittersweet one. To add insult to injury, a former Activision exec purchased the Acclaim name in 2005 for the piddly sum of $100,000 to release C grade MMOs. Ouch.
The company’s domain was stripped and unceremoniously sold off, piece by digital piece. Midway retained Mortal Kombat, Disney just unleashed a new Turok, and having acquired 150 plus Acclaim titles, Throwback Entertainment has hinted at updates to Extreme-G and Vexx.
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