The True Story Behind N64's WWF Backlash Game That Never Happened

What went wrong for THQ's follow up to the beloved No Mercy?

WWF Backlash N64

The AKI-produced and THQ-published WWF No Mercy landed with a monumental thump onto the N64's landscape in late-2000. It's still considered one of the best wrestling video games ever made, and the modding community updates character models, match types, arenas and more to this very day.

It's a labour of love.

Hell In A Cell matches have become possible because of these mods, but what if THQ's next planned project had hit store shelves in 2001? Gamers around the globe would've been able to play No Mercy's famous engine inside HIAC long before now. That match type was just one of the many new bells and whistles planned for WWF Backlash - the follow-up to No Mercy's success.

So, what happened? Why didn't the game come out, and why did Nintendo's fanbase have to wait until 2002 for WrestleMania X-8 on Gamecube instead of playing Backlash one year earlier on N64?

The truth is that AKI, the fine folks who developed those intuitive controls and smooth gameplay people still enjoy in 2020, scrapped the game when it was only 30% complete. They'd been tipped off about Nintendo's next console, the aforementioned Gamecube, and they were instructed to start building assets for that hardware rather than ploughing resources into the archaic N64.

Backlash, regrettably, ended up on the scrap heap. Could it make a comeback?

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Lifelong wrestling, video game, music and sports obsessive who has been writing about his passions since childhood.