WWE '12 is a wrestling simulation game from long-time wrestling developer Yuke's Co and publisher THQ. It was promised by the developer to be a re-invention of the "SmackDown" series and as such, was re-branded with a new "WWE '(year)" naming system. It was released on November 22nd 2011 in the US (November 25th in Europe) for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii.
The following features have been shown by publisher THQ so far. Developer Yuke's has promised that this year's game will be a big change; in terms of the gameplay and the future of the franchise. Here are the new features for WWE '12:
The biggest feature of this year's iteration is new animation system built for this year's game, Predator Technology. All of the animations that have been seen in the previous games have been ripped out and replaced with new ones. Moves can now be stopped mid-animation and moves now supposedly fluidly move from animation to animation. Superstars also no longer warp around the ring when it comes to specific manoeuvres, such as John Cena's patented "5-Knuckle Shuffle". Pace also been changed with this year's game. Reflecting actual wrestling, matches start off very quick at the beginning and then begin to slow down as the match progresses when are slower and more complicated grapples. Along with new animations, Predator Technology affects many other parts of gameplay as well. Opponent AI is supposedly re-vamped. They now attack more aggressively and put up a stronger challenge. According to the developers, the Normal difficulty setting in this year's game is now the equivalent of Legend difficulty in last year's game.
Grapple moves have now been moved from the analogue stick back to the face buttons on the controller, a feature seen in WWE games since SmackDown! vs. Raw 2007. The right analogue stick is now just used to positioning your opponents. There is also no longer "strong" or "weak" grapples. Instead, moves are performed depending on how worn down your opponent is. Yuke's say this allows them to make the game easier to pick up for new players while keeping the game playing smooth for veteran's of the series.
You can now target specific limbs in WWE '12, a la the limb targeting systems seen in the classic Aki wrestling games. You can target legs, arms or the head for tactical purposes. If you are wrestling a high-flying superstar, for example, you could target their legs to slow them down. Limb targeting also helps the player soften up opponents for submission moves, which has also seen an overhaul with the new Breaking Point submission system.
"Wake Up Taunts" and Dynamic Comebacks
Just like on TV, you can now "build up" to your finishing move, which is being dubbed a "Wake Up Taunt". For example, when Randy Orton prepares his RKO finisher on TV, he lays down and thumps his fist on the mat. Now this can be done in-game, for added bragging rights. Not every Superstar has a wake up taunt but there will be specific ones for a number of wrestlers. Also replacating the WWE on television is the new "dynamic comebacks" that you can perform. Dynamic comebacks are when you have taken a certain amount of damage, you will be able to perform a one-off combo to spark a comeback. If performed successfully, you gain two finishing moves to store. This is re-created the comebacks very often seen in WWE matches and in wrestling in general. Created Superstars can have their own Dynamic Comeback chosen for them.
WWE Universe 2.0
For this year's game, the WWE Universe feature has been given an supposedly big update. The mode originally made it's debut in last year's game, WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw 2011. The mode features the player going through several year's worth of WWE television and building their own feuds, matches and storylines that are created on-the-fly based on your decisions. Changes to WWE Universe for this year's game, supposedly, the mode will "generate new and more impactful elements of unpredictability based on player decisions, while dynamic visual changes to gameplay presentation". Details on the mode are limited at this time but features like being able to defend your WWE title at any time have been confirmed.
As mentioned earlier, a new submission system has been implemented into WWE '12, named after the now-defunct PPV. It has players battle over submission moves via a button mashing "tug of war" style mini-game. Players are trying to mash buttons so that their side of the "Breaking Point" meter lights up, depending on whether your attacking or trying to break out. Players are also able to crawl around and toward the ring ropes in order to break the holds.
New TV Presentation
Graphics and in-game camera angles are being improved this year as well. All the character models in the game have seen an improved in texture quality and polygons. There also a new depth of field effect added to this year's graphics engine. This creates a slight blur effect to things in the distance and allows for a more realistic look as well as the Superstars popping off the screen a bit better. The main camera angle has also changed, moving a bit to replicate the look on television. Moves also hit harder too with the ring shaking realisticly to slams and bumps.
Create an Arena Mode
After many years of demanding it, Yuke's have finally decided to put a create-an-arena mode into this year's game. Whilst only the ringside area will be editable in it's first year, you can edit everything around the ring. It allows you to edit turn-buckle covers, each individual rope colour, announcers table, and even allows you to add custom paint tools so you can create your own entire federation if you desire.
There are several other smaller new features this year too. Here are some of the more minor improvements:
- A new pinning system that requires more quick timing.
- The return of the various creation modes.
- Championship belts have been rescaled to look more realistic.
- Improves to entrances include the use of of "tron" screens seen on the WWE HD set.
- Improved manager AI.
As part of a competition on WWE Game's Facebook page, there was a poll to decide who will be on the cover on WWE 12's limited edition. Between Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and John Cena, The Rock was the winner. Pre-ordering the game gets you the use of The Rock in-game as well as a limited edition cover with The Rock on the cover. Pre-ordering the game from GameStop also gets the buyer two alternative attires for The Miz.
The collectors edition, cleverly titled as 'The Peoples Edition' will contain:
- Special foil sleeved packaging featuring The Rock
- Copy of WWE 12
- The Rock in game playable character
- Exclusive Foil The Rock trading card
- Art image of The Rock
- WWE BluRay/DVD featuring The Rock’s WWE Raw appearances from February 14, 2011 and April 4, 2011.