WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW Becomes WWE '12, Remains a Wrestling Game

Posted by Alex (1969 posts) -

The writing's been on the wall for THQ's WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW series of wrestling games for some time now, especially after last year's WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW 2011. Over the years, the gameplay had become stale, the features set got too top-heavy with interesting, but only sometimes enjoyable new modes, and the graphics engine felt stitched together out of too many disparate parts. This issue became even more incandescent after the release of WWE All Stars, an admittedly far more arcade-inspired game that nonetheless brought wrestling games back to their risible roots.

Perhaps sensing a sea change in the wrestling audience's tolerance for the usual rejiggerings of year-to-year releases, THQ made the audacious decision for its 2011 title to change... the title. Now re-monikered WWE '12, the series is also making some other adjustments in the realm of gameplay and design, according to a posted Q&A with longtime series Creative Director, Cory Ledesma.

Pictured: Wrestling.

Echoing the sentiments of most developers tasked with releasing a new product in a series every single year, Ledesma stated he was "pleased" with the overall reception to last year's title, but made it abundantly clear that there were a number of problems with the game. Specifically, the execution of the Road to Wrestlemania mode, and some other bugs and online issues that he felt held the title back.

Among the features and fixes he lists as new to this year's title:

== TEASER ==
  • An all new animation system that allows players to dynamically break up other players' moves mid-animation. He specifically cited John Cena's "Five Knuckle Shuffle" move, which can be interrupted mid-taunt.
  • A new submission system, titled "Breaking Point," where players enter into a new minigame to break up submissions, and also can now climb to the ropes to break out of holds.
  • Wake-up taunts, a la Randy Orton's fist-slamming taunt, where he dares a laid-out opponent to stand up, and then hits the groggy fellow with his finisher.
  • A new version of Road to Wrestlemania, which Ledesma says they "went back to the drawing board a bit" for.

Ledesma cites WWE '12 as a "true series reboot," though didn't offer up too many more details on what that actually entails beyond the info above, and a number of broad statements about "...adding new gameplay systems, completely overhauling gameplay systems and improving current gameplay systems." We do know that both longtime series developer Yuke's and THQ's San Diego studio are co-developing the title, and that Yuke's has been working behind the scenes on this new animation technology for a couple of years now.

We'll be sure to try and check out WWE '12 and its new gameplay systems, overhauled gameplay systems, and improved current gameplay systems at E3 next week, where a build of the game featuring four playable wrestlers will be shown. Based on the screenshots below, we're guessing Randy Orton and The Miz will be among the four.

Staff
#1 Posted by Alex (1969 posts) -

The writing's been on the wall for THQ's WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW series of wrestling games for some time now, especially after last year's WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW 2011. Over the years, the gameplay had become stale, the features set got too top-heavy with interesting, but only sometimes enjoyable new modes, and the graphics engine felt stitched together out of too many disparate parts. This issue became even more incandescent after the release of WWE All Stars, an admittedly far more arcade-inspired game that nonetheless brought wrestling games back to their risible roots.

Perhaps sensing a sea change in the wrestling audience's tolerance for the usual rejiggerings of year-to-year releases, THQ made the audacious decision for its 2011 title to change... the title. Now re-monikered WWE '12, the series is also making some other adjustments in the realm of gameplay and design, according to a posted Q&A with longtime series Creative Director, Cory Ledesma.

Pictured: Wrestling.

Echoing the sentiments of most developers tasked with releasing a new product in a series every single year, Ledesma stated he was "pleased" with the overall reception to last year's title, but made it abundantly clear that there were a number of problems with the game. Specifically, the execution of the Road to Wrestlemania mode, and some other bugs and online issues that he felt held the title back.

Among the features and fixes he lists as new to this year's title:

== TEASER ==
  • An all new animation system that allows players to dynamically break up other players' moves mid-animation. He specifically cited John Cena's "Five Knuckle Shuffle" move, which can be interrupted mid-taunt.
  • A new submission system, titled "Breaking Point," where players enter into a new minigame to break up submissions, and also can now climb to the ropes to break out of holds.
  • Wake-up taunts, a la Randy Orton's fist-slamming taunt, where he dares a laid-out opponent to stand up, and then hits the groggy fellow with his finisher.
  • A new version of Road to Wrestlemania, which Ledesma says they "went back to the drawing board a bit" for.

Ledesma cites WWE '12 as a "true series reboot," though didn't offer up too many more details on what that actually entails beyond the info above, and a number of broad statements about "...adding new gameplay systems, completely overhauling gameplay systems and improving current gameplay systems." We do know that both longtime series developer Yuke's and THQ's San Diego studio are co-developing the title, and that Yuke's has been working behind the scenes on this new animation technology for a couple of years now.

We'll be sure to try and check out WWE '12 and its new gameplay systems, overhauled gameplay systems, and improved current gameplay systems at E3 next week, where a build of the game featuring four playable wrestlers will be shown. Based on the screenshots below, we're guessing Randy Orton and The Miz will be among the four.

Staff
#2 Edited by cannedstingray (387 posts) -

woah , I don't believe it. I finally got the quest. 
 
On a side note, hopefully this will be good.

#3 Edited by sam1am7000 (99 posts) -

Cool, a news post by Alex

#4 Posted by Winsord (1163 posts) -

These games have felt the same for so long, so even still I'm somewhat worried this will fall into the same trappings as those before it.

#5 Posted by HumanityPlague (251 posts) -

Can someone please put a bullet in Ledesma's head?  It's the only humane thing to do.  He's approach super douche-like levels, that only Noah Heller has attained.

#6 Posted by prestonhedges (1965 posts) -

"ridiculously risible"? ugh. "rejiggering" is totally fine, though.

#7 Posted by Danteveli (1160 posts) -

wwe 12 doesnt sound good

#8 Posted by ImperiousRix (2963 posts) -

I was probably gonna pick up this year's SvR as it was, but I was certainly hoping they'd be doing an overhaul. 
 
Hopefully, it actually feels different/better this year, and all these additions aren't just a load of bullshit.

#9 Posted by crusader8463 (14413 posts) -

I love the gameplay of these games, but I just wish they would work on the animations, netcode, customization options, and add in some kind of create a federation system so groups of people can make their own belts and ranking systems to fight in.

#10 Posted by buft (3301 posts) -

I really love wrestling games but im not a big wrestling fan, the problem is none have really sated my desire for full on piledriver pleasure since the N64

#11 Posted by PKHilson (205 posts) -

WRESTLEFEST!!!

#12 Posted by Zamir (507 posts) -

  

#13 Posted by rmanthorp (3873 posts) -

DDTS AND STUFF! 

Moderator Online
#14 Posted by JustinAquarius (174 posts) -

SmackDown: HCTP and SVR06 are the best SmackDown games in the series. It all went downhill after SVR08.

#15 Posted by ScionOfThor (26 posts) -

Well, hopefully they wont have hundreds of locked moves on this one like SvR 2011.  Cant believe you have to hack the game just to use a Lionsault...
#16 Edited by GentlemanlyGentleman (319 posts) -

I like the sound of this, but what I really want is a new Day of Reckoning. As far as I'm concerned it had the right balance of arcade and sim. A lot of the stuff they're introducing in this and stuff from the last Smackdown, was done before in any of the Gamecube WWE games. I still don't understand how all the great points of the GC games never made to the main series until recently.

#17 Posted by dagas (2745 posts) -

Not a wrestling fan but SvR 2010 is pretty good. It's the only wrestling game I have ever owned as a matter of fact.

#18 Posted by PerfidiousSinn (729 posts) -

I liked WWE All Stars, but I need this series to scratch my itch for terrible, half-finished wrestling games.

#19 Posted by MysteriousBob (6272 posts) -

Its about god damn time. Hopefully this is legit and not just marketing rhetoric.

#20 Posted by Piranesi (452 posts) -

Maybe if they modelled the characters on how "real" people move rather than their plastic toys it would work.  

#21 Posted by CL60 (16906 posts) -

Never change GiantBomb. Bash a game before we even see it, when you didn't even like the other ones in the first place, and don't like wrestling at all.

#22 Posted by GoofyGoober (937 posts) -

WWE 12, I hope they change that title.

#23 Posted by AlwaysBeClothing (1446 posts) -

Annualized Wrestling game franchises are a thing

#24 Posted by WinterSnowblind (7613 posts) -
@CL60 said:
Never change GiantBomb. Bash a game before we even see it, when you didn't even like the other ones in the first place, and don't like wrestling at all.
Jeff's always been quite into wrestling.. and even as someone who generally enjoys these games, the past few have only been getting worse and worse and the big new feature they're hyping here is something that was in other wrestling games last decade.  
#25 Posted by Frank_Mann (53 posts) -
     What two grown men do in front of an audience of 30,000 is their own business. 
#26 Posted by Generiko (445 posts) -

I want to believe this will be a good wrestling game, but being burned by the same company again and again I cannot. :(

#27 Posted by Skooky (473 posts) -
@Frank_Mann: If you're going to say that that is remotely sexual, then what you do on your own time is your own business.
#28 Posted by HydraHam (1338 posts) -
@CL60 said:
Never change GiantBomb. Bash a game before we even see it, when you didn't even like the other ones in the first place, and don't like wrestling at all.
How exactly are they bashing?
#29 Edited by Vlad_Tiberius (204 posts) -

Ever since Smackdown became "vs. Raw", the series went downhill.
And the season/career mode from the very first Smackdown game was the best from the franchise.
 
Also, I hope "WWE 12" doesn't imply the age of their target customers.

#30 Posted by Kasswara (178 posts) -

More detailed graphics, clearer, but still not the kind of graphics I was hoping for. 
 
On a side note, I really, REALLY, hope that this is an actual reboot, not just some old features getting re-used. 
 
Tick tock, tick tock, the clock is ticking for WWE '12's E3 reveal, all shall be revealed then.

#31 Posted by MetalMoog (907 posts) -

If they overhaul this engine and make smoother, faster and more fluid animations and gameplay and give me the 80's gold roster of the WWF I would be in heaven. Just take the rosters from WWF Superstars & WWF Wrestlefest redo them for today's consoles and release it please.

#32 Edited by Max_Hydrogen (818 posts) -
@crusader8463: You took the words right out of my mouth! I just wish there were a big enough market for a "Wrestler Maker" game. That's literally all I care about in wrestling games so you know how frustrated I feel with the VERY limited custom modes (SvR 2007 had the fine habit of randomly erasing my belts...) 
 
Obviously these games are marketed to current wrestling fans but it sucks when those who don't follow wrestling buy these games and have to deal with a roster of wrestlers unknown to them (who the fuck is The Miz anyway?)
 
Some people want to grow up and be wrestlers, others want to grow up and be bookers...
#33 Posted by crusader8463 (14413 posts) -
@Max_Hydrogen: I would kill for a generic no brand wrestling game that had a deep character maker, move set list, and even just the basic match types people want from a wrestling game. Then supplement it every 5-6 months with $20 expansion packs that add in 20-30 new costume items, a couple match types, 10-15 new moves etc. Throw in some Blood Bowl style system where people can make their own their own leagues and tournaments. Set belts or championship cup people can win and put on the line. 
 
One can dream.
#34 Posted by laserbolts (5311 posts) -
Well this has been well overdue. Hoping that this game turns out good. It's been a long time since I bought a wrestling game.
#35 Posted by K9 (621 posts) -
#36 Posted by LegendaryChopChop (1171 posts) -

Been following this release for a while -- it's about time they made some changes to the formula.

#37 Posted by TheHBK (5463 posts) -
@CL60 said:
Never change GiantBomb. Bash a game before we even see it, when you didn't even like the other ones in the first place, and don't like wrestling at all.
This is why Jeff should have written this.  Alex's condescending attitude always gets to me.  From the changes that I read about at Kotaku and not mentioned here, the game sounds promising and bringing it back to what was there when I loved wrestling games like No Mercy and the first 3 Smackdown games.
#38 Posted by zombiesatemycereal (425 posts) -
@CL60: Alex doesn't like wrestling? Since when?
#39 Edited by CL60 (16906 posts) -
@zombiesatemycereal said:

@CL60: Alex doesn't like wrestling? Since when?

i was talking about this community you know.. not Alex.
#40 Posted by zombiesatemycereal (425 posts) -
@CL60: Sorry then, read into that wrong.  
 
Hope this game is good, at least they're trying to make it better. 
#41 Posted by ocdog45 (675 posts) -

I'll believe it when I see it.

#42 Edited by TadThuggish (904 posts) -

This is not a reboot.  It will be just as lazy and bad as all other Yuke's products have been for the past six years, but will sell if you put Triple H on the cover "cuz he is da BOMB!!!"

#43 Posted by Max_Hydrogen (818 posts) -
@crusader8463: Damn! We are of the same mind... I gotta learn how to make video games and makes this happen!
#44 Edited by bartok (2417 posts) -

I always rent the latest Smackdown game but it always seems like for every improvement THQ makes two more problems pop up.  I wish another company would get the WWE license just to drastically shake stuff up.  That said it will be fun to have Daniel Bryan and Alberto Del Rio beat John Cena repeatedly.

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