Rockstar was on the Verge of Making a Video Game With ECW in 2000

It was revealed recently in a video by Hard4Games that Rockstar Games was on the verge of making a wrestling game in collaboration with Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) back in 2000. The mentioned channel uploaded a video showcasing the pre-alpha prototype footage of Acclaim’s ECW Hardcore Revolution, released in 2000. 

The video by Hard4Games also includes an interview with the popular ECW superstar Tommy Dreamer who reveals that before Acclaim took over the ECW’s game, the company already had a deal with Rockstar Games to work collaboratively on a similar project. You can look below at the transcribed interview with Tommy Dreamer to better understand the circumstances in 1999s and 2000.

It was an amazing time in the wrestling industry, video games were key for your success as a wrestling company, and we had a lot of companies bidding for that game. And I’m going to tell you an interesting fact that I have said, but I don’t know if a lot of people realize this.

There was a fan, who worked for this company, and they were like ‘man, we want this ECW game to be our number two behind this other game, and it’s revolutionary, it’s a perfect fit for ECW.

And they met [us], they all came to an ECW Arena show and this one guy was such a big fan, and all this stuff was supposed to happen. They [went], ‘we just need our one game to hit, and if that game hits you will be our next game.

And we couldn’t wait due to financial reasons, because Acclaim had lost its license for WWE, so now they offered us money on the back end as opposed to the front end.

But that other game, if it hit, we were going to take off that game and that franchise was Grand Theft Auto. And you think about how ECW would have fit that whole genre, and that guy was Kevin Gill, who worked there, he was a big ECW fan.” 

Kevin Gill, who was credited as part of Rockstar’s production team on such titles as Smuggler’s Run and Midnight Club: Street Racing told a similar story earlier this year in a relatively unnoticed interview with Tru Heel Heat Wrestling.

I actually put together a deal for Rockstar Games to do the ECW video game. I had put together a deal with [ECW owner] Paul Heyman, we had a series of meetings, and one weekend I rented a van and brought the whole Rockstar Games team, like a 15-passenger van, and brought everyone down to the ECW Arena in Philly to see it in person.

[ECW]’s financial situation was getting very shaky and at that time, this was 1998, could have been 1999, all the talent was leaving. There were a lot of questions in the [wrestling press] about talent being owed money and those types of things.

And video games take so many years to develop, and cost so much to develop. It was put to me like, ‘do you think ECW will be around in two and a half or three years when we put out this game?’.”

Gill claims that before a million-dollar deal was done with ECW he was asked by Take-Two founder Ryan Brandt: 

If this was your million dollars right now, would you sign this check and send it to [ECW owner] Paul Heyman? And I was like, it breaks my heart to say it, but I can’t,” Gill said.

Kevin Gill Added

The funny thing was, there was a bidding war to get the ECW game, and that stuff happened behind the scenes, so they put out a public call saying ‘we’re open to bidding.

We were the top suitors, we made the top offer, and we had the signed deal back, but nobody knew publicly at that time. So, for ECW, it sucks, they wanted to work with us, we wanted to work with them.”

Although both Dreamer and Gill’s stories suggest that Rockstar was set to make an ECW game, they both give different reasons for the deal ultimately not going through. While Dreamer claims Rockstar was waiting to see if GTA would be a success, Gill claims it was unsure of ECW’s longevity.

So, what are your thoughts about this? It is fascinating to think how a game like ECW Hardcore Revolution would look like if it was made by Rockstar Games. Do you expect something like this from Rockstar in the future? Let us know in the comment section below.

All the quotes used in this article are transcribed by VGC.


Farhan Ali

Farhan is a passionate writer with an undying love for games, PC hardware, and technology. With nearly 5 years of experience in blogging and over 14 years of experience in gaming, this is what he loves and does best.
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