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Acclaim Sports Soccer, initially Ultra Soccer, was probably Acclaim's attempt at competing with Konami's highly popular International Superstar Soccer series.
The game was also known as Major League Soccer is and not to be confused with Silicon Dreams/THQ'a World League Soccer, was being developed by UK based Probe
Entertainment who later changed name to Acclaim Cheltenham. Probe was responsible for the development of several N64 titles such as Extreme-G, XG2, Forsaken
and Bust-A-Move: Arcade Edition.
Anyway the game development was initialized sometime late 1996 and was first announced for release sometime during 1998 but in August 1998 IGN reported that the game had been pushed back to a "summer 1999"
Soccer, or football as we Europeans know it, wasn't highly popular in the US back then and therefore Acclaim Sports Soccer was only scheduled for a European
release. The reason for the new release date was that Probe had been intimidated by the competition from EA as well as Konami and decided to rewrk the game
"from the ground up" and an Acclaim source had told IGN.
We're hoping Probe will find a way to adapt Iguana's second-generation hi-res engine to deliver a graphically appealing product while maintaining fast response
times and good control. The Acclaim source told IGN, who also wrote that a complete cancelation could become reality.
In 1999 the game had been upgraded to use Acclaim's "Sports Quagmire Engine" which supposedly also was used by All-Star Baseball 2000 and then of course also
would feature high resolution graphics. A complete list of features provided by Acclaim is as follows:
On an early 1999 press meeting Acclaim happily told the press that Acclaim Sports Soccer was to be released in August 1999 release date and that a playable version
of the game would be available at E3 1999.
- 32 International teams execute their own authentic play style
- Over 700 individually classed players.
- Eight 3D rendered international stadiums.
- Award winning 640 x 480 "Hi-Rez" graphics and 3-D Quagmire sports engine.
- Commentary by seasoned professional Tony Gubba, BBC sports commentator.
- Punditry by former England manager Terry Venables.
- Motion Capture by England's top players: Goalkeeper Shaka Hislop, Defender Neil Ruddock, and Winger Trevor Sinclair.
- Over 50,000 frames of animations.
- Instant Replay lets you replay that match-winning golden goal.
- Create-A-Player and Create-A-Squad'
- Advanced artificial intelligence simulates player performance in various game conditions'
- Authentic crowd and SFX for memorable in game moments.
- Rumble Pak compatible
- Four game modes: Friendly, Acclaim Sports Trophy, Knockout, League and Knockout ladder. Customize your own tournaments, Acclaim Sports Trophy, Knockout and Leagues.
When Acclaim went bankrupt in 2004 as lot of assets were sold off, including a lot of backup tapes and CDs with Acclaim projects. These CDs/tapes were aqquired
by a collector who was able to to reveal a few details about Acclaim Sports Soccer, such as hidden 64DD hookups. The backup dates back to April 1998. The title
"Golden Boot" was also mentioned in reference to the Acclaim backups talk back in 2006, but I have not been able to confirm the title at this time or if it was a
completely other project.
On 1 September 2004, Acclaim filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of New York, which would result in liquidating all possible assets to
pay off their enormous debt which reportedly over US$100 million.
Why the game then went unreleased is a bit of a mystery, it hasn't been possible to find anyone interested in leaking a few details about the old project
unfortunately. If Acclaim in April 1999 was planning an August release, and announcing a playable version at E3 a month later, what made them pull the plug
in the eleventh hour? Maybe the game wasn't as complete as Probe would've liked it to be? or maybe the successful International Superstar Soccer 2000 was
just too much competition?
Well hopefully the answer is to be found somewhere in the future :-)
The following news snippet is from issue 11 (January 1998) of the UK N64 Magazine. If you click on the image you'll be able to view
a high resolution "readable" version.