Shaquille O'Neal Wants To Make Another Video Game [UPDATE]

Indie developer Shaquille O'Neal is taking to IndieGoGo for his latest project, a sequel to the critically-panned Shaq Fu.

O'Neal and crew want us all to give them $450,000 to make it happen. A trailer:

And now for the obvious question: why is a multi-millionaire asking for money? Can't he fund it himself? Here's their explanation:

He is the best center ever to play the game. Of course he's got money, and yes he will be investing a lot of his own time and money in this project. We will be investing considerably more of our own money in the game than we are asking for.

The purpose of bringing the game to the public is to see how much interest there is in becoming Shaq's partner and in seeing the game happen. In exchange for your help, Shaq, is offering unprecedented access to his life with incredible perks. Here are some highlights:

  • Bag a signed original size 22 Shaq Attack sneaker!
  • Play basketball with Shaq, on his own court, at his house!
  • Have Shaq, become your personal secretary by recording your voicemail!
  • Have lunch or dinner with the big man for you and your friends!
  • Be part of the taping of a TNT show at an NBA game!

This isn't about a celebrity giving away a trinkets for cash, this is a true partnership. We think it is unprecedented. Shaq is ready and willing to work for your support and you can bet that he'll be grateful for every cent and every plug he gets. He loves his fans and to be able to collaborate with them on something like this has him (and us!) really excited.

Do you buy that explanation? Yeah, I dunno if I do either—I reached out to the folks at Big Deez Productions this morning with some follow-up questions about why they need $450,000 when Shaq has earned $292 million playing basketball, but they didn't get back to me today. In the meantime, I'll hold out for Barkley: Shut Up And Jam Gaiden 2.

UPDATE: And here's a statement from Big Deez boss Matt Karch:

The money that is being funded on Indiegogo covers only about 20% of the development costs. What we're doing with crowdfunding isn't very different from what any game publisher does with pre-orders of games. It is a way of generating buzz, gauging excitement for what we want to do and getting feedback to make the best game possible. Indiegogo is actually the ultimate pre-order tool (in contrast to boxed titles) as it allows us to modify our plans based on fan input.

From my perspective, it's a smart move to use crowdfunding to see if the idea is one that people want to see happen before we invest the lion's share of the dev costs. I sense skepticism but I think that is because we have a different way of looking at the goals of crowdfunding. I don't think that crowdfunding should be exclusively viewed as enabling small projects to succeed. I think it can also be used as a way to validate an idea and modify it to suit the needs of the public. Once the campaign is done, the process of engaging our partners begins. It becomes a collaborative effort - for us that is the purpose of Indiegogo.

Also, what fans are funding is a group of really talented developers who have taken risks and struck out on their own in order to work on videogames that they are passionate about. For them, it's about engaging the fans, getting feedback and allowing the team to create the game that gamers want to see — this gives us our best chance at success.