Can AEW and Yuke's Rejuvenate Wrestling Games?

Is the upcoming release of AEW Dynamite the last hope for wrestling games? I am excited about AEW’s upcoming first-ever video game and do not expect it to be perfect. Having said that, I feel as though I have heard these same promises from 2K as far as gameplay and inspiration goes, only to be let down.

It is extremely easy to say “We’re using WWF No Mercy as a guide” when creating a wrestling game. The name No Mercy by itself fills wrestling gamer fans with the nostalgia of a by-gone era not only in wrestling but in wrestling video games. No Mercy in many ways is considered the benchmark by fans to which all other wrestling games are compared to.

In interviews, Kenny Omega, who has become the spokesperson for the game, has done a tremendous job at hyping the game which is still a year away from release. However, I have heard these same words from 2K representatives in past interviews only to discover that certain modes or features were nowhere to be found upon the game’s release, or even worse, they removed fan-favorite features with no explanation or a suitable replacement.

Don’t Expect Perfection

There is not, nor will there ever be a perfect wrestling video game but in the last five years wrestling video games have become stagnate, unimaginative and at times, downright bad. Professional wrestling is a genre unlike any other, at its core, it is a simulated fight between two participants incorporating theatrics, this world seems like it’d be tailor-made for video gaming but instead, we’ve got some real duds from namely, 2K. I am not going to completely bury 2K here as I think part of the problem is, 2K is primarily known for their NBA games and the NBA is a vastly different world than WWE.

In the off-season for Basketball, changes are made, but for the most part outside of some minor physical changes players relatively stay the same so when the new game comes out 2K can take the base from the previous years’ release, make some cosmetic changes, switch some players and call it a day for the most part; the world of WWE and professional wrestling as a whole is always changing, people change alliances, attires, hairstyles, stable-mates on a regular basis making it almost impossible for any game to be 100% accurate upon release.

2K also focuses on making the games as realistic as possible and this is often to the detriment of having a fun gaming experience. One thing I hope AEW does is to have a healthy blend of realism but also embrace the wild world of professional wrestling and its vastly unique characters. Now, this too is a problem and a reason why no wrestling game can ever be perfect.

Appeal To Both Audiences

You will have a split audience, those who want the most realistic wrestling experience possible right down to the slightest hand-twitch from a wrestler, then you will have those who want the wildest, craziest, most ridiculous experience possible with over-the-top moves and builds complimented with cartoon-like gameplay so really you can’t please everybody. What AEW can do, however, is to the best of their abilities to blend realism with over-the-top arcade-style gameplay.

One thing I do hope they do is to bring back the crazy and unique backstage brawl areas. Could we see the “Broken Universe” during our campaign? Maybe we could even battle into the AEW offices? That, for me, is one thing I miss about wrestling games, the enormous backstage areas.

My all-time favorite wrestling game is WWF Smackdown Shut Your Mouth, many factors contribute to this, the roster, the time period in wrestling but most of all, the gigantic backstage area, and outside areas you could take your fight to. I will not list all of them as there are far too many to name but some of my favorites were the boiler room, the parking lot, Times Square, The Subway Station, and WWF New York. 2K had begun to embrace the over-the-top aspect of wrestling but, unfortunately, bugs and a broken game made whatever fun these things offered short-lived.

smackdown shut your mouth boiler room

Release A Quality Experience

That is another thing AEW must avoid…at all costs delivering a broken game. Now that sounds simple, right? I mean what studio wants to release a broken game. But the last few WWE 2K games have been filled with glitches, some even game-breaking to the frustration of players, even worse when asked about them, 2K basically shuts down and ignores you. Nobody expects a completely smooth experience on day-one but just do your best to ensure that nothing catastrophic happens and release patches accordingly to fix any problems.

If AEW can deliver a fun, unique experience for wrestling gamers they may just create a healthy competition in the wrestling video game market and the players will benefit from it, however, if they release a similar experience as 2K has just with AEW arenas, wrestlers, and commentary it could put out the dwindling flames of professional wrestling games.

I tried not to be overly negative in this article and point out some things I feel AEW can and should do to create a fun game. Do you have your own ideas? Do you agree or disagree with me? Sound off in the comments below!

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