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So we are over three quarters of the way through the year now, boy does time fly by. We’ve got as much as we can possibly can out of Smackdown Vs Raw 2006, barring blind folding ourselves and playing in the buff (although I am sure others have already given this a whirl), so we now sit twiddling our thumbs waiting for some new games to preoccupy our time. What a convenient time then to dust off the cobwebs and unleash some exciting news in the form of the Wrestling 101 Games Update.
Unless you have been living on another planet for the past few months, you will have heard that THQ have another Smackdown title hitting the market in the form of Smackdown Vs Raw 2007. The title will be gracing the PS2, Xbox 360 and the PSP, and a demo is already available on Xbox Live for those 360 owners eager to give the game a whirl.
The title boasts over 60 wrestlers this time around, including newcomers to the fold such as Mr Kennedy (with full entrance including his unique self intro), The Boogeyman (complete with worms), and the ‘Samoan Bulldozer’ Umaga (albeit minus his manager, Armando). Sixteen legends are onboard with the likes of Bam Bam Bigelow, Dusty Rhodes and Mr Perfect making their debuts to the franchises, being unlocked through the season mode.
The GM mode has been expanded to include Heat and Velocity, and the ability to assign writers to the feuds in which you book, while the season mode has added more branching storylines, with three paths able to be undertook relating to your choice of wrestler. The Season Mode itself has been expanding to allow the player to continue into multiple years, and the ability for to play multiplayer matches throughout the season has been implemented.
Out of ring action has been the key addition with around 20 ‘hot spots’ assigned for you to interact with, allowing the fight to spill into the crowd for the first time. Crowd interaction itself has also been included, allowing the player to steal objects such as replica titles and signs at their pleasure. The title also boasts a new control system, utilising the right trigger for grapples offering more fluid gameplay, but if that isn’t to your tastes the old control system can be selected through the option menu.
A preview with full details related to the new Smackdown game can be accessed via the previews section of Wrestling 101, and my partner in crime Fletch has posted the fully confirmed roster for the title on the news board. So have a gander if you’re that way inclined, and a review is to come in the near future.
Late last year Midway were confirm to have snapped up the rights to the TNA franchise, and while news has been quiet related to the game (under the working title of TNA Impact!), work has begun in earnest with AJ Styles and Samoa Joe called in for brainstorming. Midway are looking at a release sometime in 2007, stating that the title will be available for all the new formats including the 360 and the PS3. Those of us wishing to take a Wii gander at the title maybe left disappointed it seems, but there is hope with the promise of ‘all’ (you have to let me get away with one Wii pun at least guys). Midway has confirmed that it has official rights to develop TNA related titles for the PC and portable formats, so we could yet be poking Samoa Joe with our stylus or mouse cursor; whichever is to your preference.
In news that does not bode well for the title based on their previous work, the game is being handled by Midway’s LA Studio who were formerly Paradox Development of Backyard Wrestling development fame.
Samoa Joe has been waxing lyrical about the title on his Myspace page, and both himself and AJ have been hyping the title in the media so the promise is there, and the dynamic of a six-sided ring and the possibility of a recreation of the Ultimate X Match must excite even the most stubborn WWE fan.
New Japan News
Also late last year, Yukes (of Smackdown Series fame) bought a stake 51.5 percent stake into New Japan Pro Wrestling, bringing with it the franchise with which to create its own spin off titles related to the company. Work has already gotten underway, at current a reworking of the Wrestle Kingdom game engine; a title that was released in December last year to coincide with the Japanese 360 launch.
It will not be the first NJPW title developed by Yukes, having previously worked on titles released in the past in Japan alone so thus this title may never hit our shores and details of when it will be released or even if it will go beyond the early stages are sketchy. Early imagery released earlier this year featured former WWE favourite Brock Lesnar predominantly.
Meanwhile, a title that has been confirm is Wrestle Kingdom itself, which is being released for the PS2 in Japan after it’s afore mentioned release on the 360. I’m not the most fluent in the Japanese language, but a brief venture to Yukes own website presents some brief glimpses of PS2 Wrestle Kingdom’s screens, with the former Prince Albert now of Giant Bernard fame and Brock himself (with his new tattoo in full glory) shown. We’ll most likely never see the title either, but if you are interested enough to discover more, head to Yukes’ Japanese homepage and toogle the games menu presented in the centre of the page until a wrestling screen emblazons the screen, then you will know you are on the right track. The title was released in Japan in July, so if you are luckily enough equipped with a PS2 console with NTSC capability you can import and get playing away with the title.
An interesting project is under works in the watchful eye of Dave Wishnowski, the concept being to create a wrestling game created for the fans by the fans. Assembling a small group of developers, for the past three years Dave has set about building the title from the ground up with no prior experience in the industry himself, relying on the feedback of fans to determine where the title is headed. Under the title of Pro Wrestling X, support and funding was received in February from Telefilm Canada. Support can be shown for the project by pointing your cursor towards ProwrestlingX.com, where screenshots and other media are available.
Adam Ryland has been busy following the release of Wrestling Spirit 2 earlier this year, with Total Extreme Wrestling 2007 announced for release in the fourth quarter of 2006, so essentially just around the corner. Again taking the role of wrestling promoter, the games follows the toils of running a promotion and the perils and pitfalls it brings. Mr Fletch has snapped up an exclusive interview with Adam to take place in the near future, so be sure to email Fletch your queries to get your answers from the master in chief of TEW. Also look out for a Wrestling Spirit 2 review in the near future.
- Smackdown Vs Raw 2007 (PS2, PSP, Xbox 360), 10th November
- TEW 2007 (PC), Quarter 4, 2006
- TNA Impact! (Working title, Formats TBA), TBA 2007
Debuting is a tough job, especially with my predecessors being over like hot cakes, so I hope this month’s update was to your tastes. Remember that I am always open to any feedback you wish to send my way, positive or negative; just send an email somewhere in my direction and I’ll do my utmost to respond.
Next month will bring along some feedback from the Smackdown release including my review of the title; hopefully some more TNA related tid-bits depending on how much Midway decide to keep up their sleeves, and whatever I can garner up related to Yukes activities with it’s Japanese acquisition. I will attempt to work on my Japanese linguistics to aid the fact finding mission, so until then sayonara from me,