WWE ’12 creative director Cory Ledesma spoke with Jon Robinson of ESPN.com last week about WWE’s new video game. Here are some highlights:
Jon Robinson: What is it about the new animation system that makes such a huge difference?
Cory Ledesma: The whole goal of gameplay is that we want to be as fluid, as smooth, and with as high-quality animation as possible. The knock on the franchise in the past has been that it’s clunky, it’s a little slow, and not as responsive as gamers wanted. With the new system, it gives us capabilities to do stuff like interrupt an animation. So for the first time, if two characters are involved in a suplex, a third character can come in and breakup that motion. We’ve never had that capability in the past, but now we allow you to do that. That boosts the multiplayer dynamic quite a bit. Then with our new renderer, we have depth of field working, and we also have higher-res models with more textures so they look more like their real-life counterparts. We actually have animated sweat and blood now, so you see everything drip on the body where before we had a clever swap when you weren’t looking kind of deal. Now it actually animates. And in terms of cameras, we now mimic the cameras WWE uses on television. They have like 24 cameras and we set them up exactly like they do for television and capture all of the big spots like you’d see on Raw with the different camera angles.
Jon Robinson: One of the things I noticed about the game the past few years is it’s actually really easy, maybe too easy. Any chance we’re going to see the difficulty increased?
Cory Ledesma: It’s funny, that’s something the hardcore fans have wanted for a while now. People like you know all the tricks of the trade now and it’s too easy. So this year, Normal is almost like Legendary difficulty now. Hopefully it’s a lot more competitive for our die-hard fans.
Jon Robinson: I see adrenaline is now tracked on the screen. What does that do?
Cory Ledesma: In years past, we let you free run and what happened is everyone used running attacks non-stop. This is something that is a huge pain online. So now we limit how long and how much you can run. We don’t do anything where you fall down or anything like that, you simply just can’t run anymore. But this doesn’t affect the Irish whip as what would happen before is you would setup the Irish whip, then your opponent who is tired would trip. That’s not very fun. So we turned adrenaline off for Irish whips.
Another thing we added is limb targeting. Say you want to go after the leg, simply hit the A button. Or if I get you in a lockup and want to target the head, I hit Y. If I want to target the arms, that’s X and B. What’s cool about this is you can work the same body part to setup submissions. We also have this working so it affects your opponent’s attributes. If you keep pounding on his legs, you can limit the amount he runs. Pound on his arms and he won’t be as strong. Keep wearing on his head and he’ll stay groggier longer. This adds a whole new element of strategy to the gameply. Like I said, our focus this year is gameplay. I know a lot of our fans have been fretting that since we added all this new technology, we must be eliminating modes., but we’ll still have all the same match types, we’ll still have a huge roster and all of the other create modes are still in here. We didn’t make any big cuts or anything like that, but when the hardcore fans finally get the chance to pickup this game, the new animation system and flow really make everything feel like a whole new game and I think they’re really going to like what they see.