The crush of Space Jam marketing is upon us, as the LeBron James-led sequel to the 1996 classic is on the way later this summer. There was a time when no blockbuster movie release is complete without a video game tie-in, and perhaps it’s fitting that the video game version of Space Jam: A New Legacy has some serious throwback vibes.
Designed by fans, built for fans. Talk about full circle, eh doc?
— Xbox (@Xbox) June 23, 2021
As Microsoft detailed on the Xbox blog, an international contest was held to determine which direction to go with A New Legacy’s video game version.
The result was a throwback look and style to the game, a side-scrolling beat ’em up with a pixelated James and the Looney Toons dishing out special moves against the Goon Squad.
We were flooded with entries from around the world, and many of them were really great. It was a tough decision. To create the final game, we blended the ideas of two gamers: our youth-competition winner, Narayan from India, and our adult-competition winner, Ricky from the United States. Xbox and Warner Bros. were energized by Ricky’s idea of a classic “beat ’em up” blended with game mechanics that Narayan had suggested. The game is inspired by the upcoming live action/animated feature film with deep reverence for the lively characters in Space Jam: A New Legacy and appreciation of the Tune Squad’s pop culture influence, all while reminiscent of classic arcade games of the 1990s.
The game’s trailer gives you an idea of the silliness in store, and there are a few subtle notes that Looney Toons fans will enjoy here as well. When LeBron knocks an opponent out with a chest pass, for example, it looks like Tweety Birds circle over their heads.
As described by Microsoft, the game may or may not loosely follow the movie. But it does feature the same reported big bad: a guy by the name of Al G. Rhythm.
A rogue artificial intelligence named Al G. Rhythm has trapped our heroes inside the Warner Bros. server, with little chance of escape. The Tune Squad must fight their way through a virtual army of Al G.’s creation while also searching for four pieces of “Legacy Code” that will allow them access to the nefarious villain’s secret location. Al G. has sent two members of the Goon Squad – The Brow and White Mamba – to stop the Tune Squad in their tracks. Fortunately, our heroes have access to a variety of moves, including a special basketball, and some rather unique Space Jam cards, to help them out. But will their teamwork be enough to stop Al G. Rhythm’s evil plans?
As part of the promotion, Microsoft also announced three custom next-gen Xbox controllers to celebrate the release of the Space Jam sequel. The three controllers feature the logos for the Goon Squad, Toon Squad, and a WB-branded cyber design that’s apparently the inside of a server.
If Space Jam isn’t your, well, jam, Microsoft also announced last week it’s bringing back its custom controller workshop, Xbox Design Lab. The lab, which shut down in October ahead of the release of the Series X and S the next month, has you covered if the Goon Squad isn’t your deal.
Space Jam: A New Legacy The Game hits consoles on July 1, starting first in Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. The game will be a free-to-play through the Microsoft Store starting on July 15, just in time for the movie to hit theaters.