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Smackdown Vs Raw ’08: Interview with Dan Ryan

Cinema Blend recently had the chance to interview THQ’s Associate Game Director, Dan Ryan in relation to a certain WWE related wrestling title. Forthcoming for the Xbox 360, the PS2 and making it’s first outing on the PS3, DS and the Wii; Ryan happily revealed the nuances of the latest title in the annual series including details on the new WWE 24/7 Mode, ECW’s inclusion and how far they will be involved, as well as much more. So with thanks to CB, here is the interview in question:

CB Games: We know that wrestlers will have up to two fighting styles this time around. So will players be able to select any kind of finisher for their created wrestler, no matter what the fighting style? or will certain finishers (i.e., Triangle Choke, Flowing DDT, etc.,) be attached to specific fighting styles?

D. Ryan: When it came to creating Fighting Styles to offer players a unique experience, depending on which Superstar they select, we wanted to go all out with it. As far as move sets go, each Fighting Style has certain moves assigned to it, in order to really differentiate between Superstars. This is all done to create the most realistic WWE experience possible, as you wouldn’t normally see a Powerhouse like the 6’11” Undertaker performing a 450 Splash on an opponent.

CB Games: Reversals always play a big part in making a match dynamic. But I notice a lot of times finishers can’t be reversed in most wrestling games…except for maybe Fire Pro games. Will players be able to reverse any of the finishers in SD vs Raw 2K8?

D. Ryan: Definitely, as has been the case in past games in the SmackDown vs. Raw series. We try our hardest to replicate the unpredictable nature of actual WWE matches, and any fan knows that Superstars can overcome even the most insurmountable odds if they have enough intestinal fortitude, or in our game’s case, enough skill.

CB Games: Will the season/career mode for SD vs Raw 2K8 feature any multiplayer support, whether it’s local or online?

D. Ryan: This year, our primary focus was making the single player story mode the absolute best that it can be by combining the Season and General Manager Modes into one cohesive experience. In fact this year it is now being dubbed WWE 24/7 Mode, as the player has a new objective to become a WWE Legend. With that being said, multiplayer is always a huge part of our game, so we made a special effort to still allow additional players to jump in at any time and battle it out in all 24/7 Mode matches.

CB Games: Is there any estimate on how many of the ECW brand wrestlers will make it into the game?

D. Ryan: Unfortunately, you’re just going to have to wait and see exactly how many ECW Superstars make it in the final roster, but be rest assured that there will definitely be a major ECW presence in WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2008. I can tell you that we not only plan on including newer ECW Superstars like Bobby Lashley, but also a good number of ECW Originals will be making their SmackDown vs. Raw debut.

CB Games: Speaking of wrestlers in the game…for the wrestlers who don’t make the initial roster, will players be able to re-create their absentee favorites in the CAW (like the Brooklyn Brawler or Mikey Whipwreck)?

D. Ryan: We pride ourselves in having the most robust Create A Superstar system possible, and with the total number of parts pushing 1,600, if players can dream up a Superstar, there’s a good chance that they can create them. Being lifelong followers of WWE ourselves, we took special care in adding certain parts that will please even the most obsessive wrestling fan.

CB Games: With submission specialist playing a bigger role in SD vs Raw 2K8, will players be able to target specific body parts and use a series of submissions to wear down that body part on an opponent?

D. Ryan: This year, we’ve completely revamped submission gameplay, and this is one of the areas of the game that we’re most excited about. In doing this, we’ve gotten rid of the typical button-mashing mechanic in order to make way for an analog-controlled submission system. Players now decide exactly how much punishment they want to inflict on an opponent’s limb, as they actually do all of the wrenching themselves via the Right Stick. In addition to this, we’ve added a specific Submission Fighting Style that takes advantage of this new element in gameplay. 

CB Games: Following up on the last question, will there be permanent damage (long-term injuries) that wrestlers will incur during the Season, in result of unnecessary roughness?

D. Ryan: In 24/7 Mode, there will be injuries that can affect how much damage the player’s Superstar has already sustained prior going into a match. This adds a new strategy as players must now take into account the physical toll that that WWE Superstars place on their bodies by merely stepping into the ring. If the player elects to play as a General Manager, injuries will play a more significant role as Superstars can end up on the shelf for weeks at a time, providing players with a true simulation experience.

CB Games: The General Manager mode was pretty cool in SD vs Raw 2K7. Given that the Season Mode and General Manager mode are now combined, has this opened up new doors as to how storylines and backstage segments will play out?

D. Ryan: First of all, what exactly do you mean by “pretty” cool? (chuckles) All joking aside, by marrying aspects of Season Mode and GM Mode, the game has definitely changed. This year in 24/7 Mode, if a player truly wants to cement their status as a Legend of the SmackDown vs. Raw universe, they not only have to master their skills inside the ring, but outside of it as well.

CB Games: Well, this just makes us even more psyched about the game. Thanks, Dan, for answering our questions. And best of luck with Smackdown vs Raw 2008!