Studio Gigante was a small team established in 2000 by several former developers of Midway’s popular Mortal Kombat fighting game series. They were able to sign a contract with Microsoft to develop an exclusive “Mortal Kombat Killer” titled Tao Feng: Fist of the Lotus. Unfortunately the game received mixed reviews and in 2005 the studio closed down, after releasing their second Xbox exclusive for THQ: WWE WrestleMania 21.
As we can read on an interview made by Polygon with Studio Gigante co-founder Josh Tsui, their team also pitched a (never released) Star Wars fighting game. They develop a tech demo with Darth Maul and Anakin Skywalker fighting each other:
“Gigante was ready to roll onto a proper Tao Feng sequel, and Microsoft wanted it – but the proposed deal gave the team pause, as it didn’t quite offer the resources desired to pull off the more elaborate design, which featured wildly destructible stages. Simultaneously, THQ swooped in with an offer to develop WWE Wrestlemania 21 – a richer contract that could not only help build up the studio further, but possibly also secure a lucrative annual franchise. After much agonizing, the studio principals opted for THQ’s deal, leaving Tao Feng 2 dead in the water.
“Our team was completely crestfallen by that,” says Tsui. “We made the best of it; it’s not like we didn’t work our hearts out,” says David Michicich, another Studio Gigante principal and longtime Tsui associate. “But that was my first experience where I’m working on something that I’m enjoying, but my heart wasn’t into it. We should have found a way to do both deals.” Michicich says exclusivity deals from both publishers prevented such a move.
Not only did the team lose its passion project, but the WWE deal backfired. An incomplete build of the game was accidentally pressed and released, leading to backlash and an eventual recall and revised release. Relations between Gigante and THQ had already soured prior to release, and the poor reaction was the final nail in the coffin.
The Xbox series was dead, and the studio was running out of money. Using a proprietary engine, Gigante prototyped potential Kill Bill and Star Wars fighting games and sought new projects, but decisions weren’t being made quickly enough. By July 2005, just three months after Wrestlemania 21 shipped, the studio closed its doors.”
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