Joe Budden Theorizes Why ‘Def Jam Vendetta’ Hasn’t Been Rebooted

Why haven’t fans received a new Def Jam Vendetta fighting game? Well, Joe Budden has a theory.

During an episode of Carmelo Anthony and The Kid Mero’s 7PM in Brooklyn podcast, Budden was asked about the fan-favorite franchise

He admitted that he wasn’t and has never been involved in those talks. However, that didn’t stop Budden from guessing why Vendetta has never been remade, rebooted, or remastered for modern gaming consoles. Joe argued that money could be the major roadblock for Def Jam and everyone else involved. 

“I’m not involved in those talks but I imagine that would be the hold up. Gaming is big. If the business is right, we should definitely do that. Music should have more of a presence in the video game world outside of ni**as just going round your house for a 2K party or whatever,” he expressed.

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“It seems like they’re trying to redline this sh*t and keep it to themselves. If they gonna do that, then f**k ’em, I’m not with it. But if they’re down to come talk [business]…They gotta get it right.”

Ice-T spoke on this issue in early January. After he caught wind of a fan reposting clips from the game, he offered his thoughts. The West Coast legend implied that licensing agreements and negotiating rights to characters and music could be a potential hurdle. “So many people ask me why this game hasn’t been brought back for the newer consoles,” he typed. “Maybe because they’d have to pay for voice and music rights again. Maybe?”

A fan then asserted that whichever gaming company remasters or remakes Def Jam Vendetta or Fight For NY would “make millions.” Ice-T continued speaking on likeness and intellectual property. He told the fan that Def Jam didn’t pay any rapper from the game for their likeness, admitting that, at the time, it was worth it to just appear in the game—regardless of money. Things have obviously changed over the last 20 years.

“Here’s the BIG problem,” he responded. “I don’t think they paid ANY of us ANYTHING to be in that original game. I know I didn’t get any type of substantial money. It’s was a situation where you didn’t want to be left OUT of the game. Well, yesterday’s price is not today’s price..!”

Def Jam Vendetta was originally released in April 2003. The game appeared on the Nintendo GameCube and the PlayStation 2. It was developed by syn Sophia and EA Sports BIG, the latter of which is now defunct. 

If you’ve never played the classic cult game, Def Jam Vendetta was an extreme wrestling/fighting game. Instead of playing with wrestlers, fans could play as their favorite rappers and video vixens. The game included appearances from DMX, Method and Redman, Ludacris, Lil’ Kim, Carmen Electra, Ghostface Killah, Capone, Funkmaster Flex and more.