WWE ’12 Director On Comparisons To WWF No Mercy, Name & Control Changes

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The WWE ’12 video game, which was released this week, is getting rave reviews from many gamers. In a new ComputerandVideogames.com Q&A with the creative director Cory Ledesma, he discusses why they decided to change the name from SmackDown! vs RAW from the past few years to WWE ‘xx’, how the game compares to the WWF No Mercy video game that was released 11 years ago for the Nintendo 64 console and is still receiving rave reviews, and more. Below are a few highlights:

The reason they decided to drop the SmackDown vs RAW franchise in favor of a new name: It’s a lot of different reasons. It was long overdue for a big reboot. The franchise has been around for several years and it had gotten a little stale – whether it was the name or the game itself, it’s gotten real stale – so we thought this would be the perfect time to reboot the franchise entirely.

The reason that name came about was the game used to be called SmackDown, and then there was another game that used to be called Raw, and we decided to make one game only and so we decided to call it SmackDown vs Raw. That’s the only reason that name used to exist; there’s no other purpose behind it and it’s not like the WWE has any brand wars going on.

And it was a mouthful too, right? So it just made sense to do something simple like WWE 12, and to make it clear to consumers that we’re the WWE simulation experience.

The reason for the control changes: There are a couple of things. Complexity was definitely at the top of the list. We noticed when a lot of people picked up the game for the first time they had zero idea of what was going on.

We did some things you traditionally wouldn’t do: the A button on an 360 pad or the X button on a PS3 pad would normally be considered the primary button. The first thing a user would press. Well in our game it was an action button, which if you’re standing in the middle of the ring did nothing. So it wasn’t very intuitive.

So we decided if that’s the first button people want to press, it makes sense to make it our grapple button. The most used function in the game had to live on the most popular button, and a lot of it was born out of that.

Also, we just found some inconsistencies we weren’t happy with: a lot of combinations of buttons you had to use, or things where it felt it needed to be streamlined.

Comparisons to the No Mercy game in 2000: “e understand the nostalgic appeal to No Mercy and we understand what they did very well. Sometimes those things get put on a pedestal and get raised to a level that isn’t fair to compare with [us]. It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison.

But the things they did really well was that the game was extremely well balanced as a fighting game product. [We] Loved the back-and-forth momentum, loved the controls, loved the depth of the combat… It was really well balanced in terms of not being able to pull off strong grapples right away – you had to wear down your opponent. Things like that they did excellently. And so those were the things we look at as inspiration. But the game is dated, obviously, so we look at it just from that inspiration standpoint.

The other thing is that we don’t really want to make No Mercy. We want to make a different game. We know people want to play No Mercy again, but that’s not what WWE 12 is. So we don’t really like to look at ourselves and say let’s be like ‘this’ – we want to make our own name for ourselves, and maybe push the envelope past No Mercy. I know maybe that’s a lofty goal, but it’s one we want to rise up to the challenge rather than just resort to past success.

To view the entire Q&A session, click here.