I wanna thank all of you of the SDH Hotel for all the questions you submitted, it was a really hard choice but I'm sure you will enjoy this second exclusive interview with Bryan Williams more than the first one!

Q: Can you give us more details about the revamped grapple system and the control scheme? What's changed, what stayed the same?

Bryan: I couldn’t think of a better way to start out this Q & A than with this question. The controls themselves haven’t changed drastically. You’ll still be using the right analogue stick to grapple and actions such as striking, Irish whipping, reversing and performing Signature/Finisher moves are performed the same as last year’s title. The only actions that have been changed significantly are dragging and pinning. Pins are now mapped to the B/Circle button and you’ll now be using the left trigger to drag standing and grounded opponents. The biggest change that we’ve made to the grapple system itself is the removal of the grapple modifier and the inclusion of a new upright grapple attack position. The type of grapple that you’re able to perform on a standing opponent will be dependent upon the condition of your opponent. If you grapple a non-groggy opponent you’ll grab hold of them in one of four different chain grapple holds (front facelock, side headlock, waist lock and wrist lock). Similar to previous titles you’ll be able to perform grapple moves (by moving the right analogue stick up, down, left or right) strikes and struggle submissions from each one of the four holds. If you pull and hold the left trigger while in a chain grapple hold your Superstar will transition into a drag state. While keeping the left trigger held you’ll be able to drag your opponent by moving the left analogue stick. If you release the left trigger you’ll transition back into a chain grapple hold. This time around grapples performed out of chain holds will be your weaker set of grapple attacks. In order to perform strong grapples you’ll need to get your opponent into an upright groggy state. This upright groggy state is a brand new attack position and transitioning opponents into this state can be accomplished multiple ways. Strike combinations, consisting of four strike attacks, have been re-implemented in SmackDown Vs. RAW 2011 (rapidly pressing the strike button will unleash your strike combination). If all four strikes within the combination hit your opponent it’ll make them transition into an upright groggy state wherein you’ll be able to strong grapple them or perform any other type of attack (springboard, top rope dive attack, strong strike, etc). While you won’t be able to move in an upright groggy state you’ll still be able to reverse/counter an opponent’s attack. Also, if you lift up an opponent from a grounded state they’ll transition into an upright groggy state. Oh, you can also strong grapple your opponent by striking them in the gut (by moving the left analogue stick diagonally down and pressing the strike button) and grappling them as they’re bent over in pain. There are a few other ways to get an opponent into this position but I’ve listed the quickest and most common methods. Lastly, when facing an upright groggy opponent it’ll still be possible to drag them (via the left trigger) and initiate struggle submissions. You can even turn them 180 degrees and perform strong grapples to their back.

Q: Which abilities are gone and how many new abilities are in? (Could you describe any of them?)

Bryan: I’ll first mention the abilities that have been completely removed. Evasive Dodge, Lock Pick, Referee Sheild, Taunt Thief, Hardcore Resurrection, Possum Pin and Fan Favourite have been removed from SmackDown Vs. RAW 2011. Object Specialist, Exploder TB Attack, Pull-Back Attacks and Strong Strikes will now be made available to all Superstars and created characters. The only new ability that’s been added to this year’s title is the Leverage Pin (my new favourite). Superstars equipped with the Leverage Pin are able to counter standing groggy grapple and running attack attempts into leverage type pins. For example, if a standing groggy opponent successfully reverse an opponent’s grapple attempt they’ll roll the attacker into a small package or some other type of leverage pin counter. Another cool aspect of the Leverage Pin is that the defender will have an opportunity to counter the pin attempt into a pin of their own. A second target zone will appear within the pin meter further down from the kick-out zone. If the defender is able to reach the second zone they’ll be able to turn the tables on their opponent and roll them up in a pin. It’s really cool because you’ll get into situations where you and your opponent will trade pins back and forth. It gets pretty damn exciting!

Q: Will the new physics prevent us from doing non-lifting moves, like Pedigree, DDT and so on through tables or there will also be the opportunity to do table finishers SVR2010-Style? And what about Chair Finishers?

Bryan: Superstars will not be able to stand on top of tables in SmackDown Vs. RAW 2011 and table finishers have been removed. There are also no chair finishers but you’ll still be able to perform chair grapples and other chair related interactions.

Q: You mentioned in an interview that there will be the possibility to execute for instance a running RKO, or a Codebreaker. So, are they going to be listed as separate moves, or will we be able to execute the same move in different situations? (Example... RKO: Front, Running, Ground)

Bryan: These are my favourite type of questions. Whereas in previous iterations you were only able to perform Signatures and Finishers from one situation, in this year’s wonderful title you’ll be able to execute the same move from more than one situation. Right off the bat I’d just like to mention that this doesn’t apply to every Signature and Finishing move in the game. The functionality has only been applied to those moves that make sense. The Codebreaker and RKO are frequently performed from a standing position as well as from a run which is why I used those two moves in my initial explanation. So if you’re playing with a Superstar that has the Codebreaker as their Finisher you’ll be able to perform it in two different situations (standing in front and running toward your opponent) but the move will still count as one finisher. You’ll still be able to have another Finisher in addition to the Codebreaker. This functionality has also been applied to Sheamus’ Brogue Kick (Bicycle Kick) Finisher. You’ll be able to perform the Brogue Kick running toward your opponent as well as from an Irish whip rebound.

Q: Is the pin system fixed? In 2010 online people could kick out of an infinite number of pinfalls, no matter what overall they had, with just crazy button mashing...

Bryan: Yes, the pin system has been fixed. There was a bug in the pin system. We found the cause and it has been fixed. I offer my sincerest apologies to everyone who was negatively affected by this bug. I give you my word that this will not occur in SmackDown Vs. RAW 2011.

Q: Can you choose a pre-set WWE Superstar Minitron in Create an Entrance separatedly from the Titantron?

Bryan: Not this year but it’s something that we’re definitely interested in doing. I’m sure you’ll see this functionality implemented sooner rather than later.

Q: What changes/improvements have been made to AI?

Bryan: AI opponents will be a lot more competitive this time around. If anyone reading this considers themselves an experienced SmackDown Vs. RAW player I highly recommend that you play the game on Legend difficulty. If you want to experience an epic back and forth match with near falls and drama on par with that of Undertaker and Shawn Michaels’ epic bouts at WrestleMania playing on Legend is the way to go.

Q: Interrupting moves DOR Style: will the Havok physics be able to do that in the near future?

Bryan: This is an ongoing discussion within the team. I definitely think it’s a good idea and I think it would make multi-man matches a lot more unpredictable and realistic. I think you’ll see some form of this in the near future.

Q: We know that the amount of online players has been increased to six. So... Armageddon Hell In A Cell, 6-Man Ladder Match, Scramble Match, 6-Man Battle Royal, 6-Man Tag Match (and Elimination Tags Survivor Series Style), Elimination Chamber... All available Online?

Bryan: Right now, I can’t confirm nor deny any of the above matches. We’ll be doing a big reveal of our online features in the coming weeks.

Q: Will we be able to edit entrance attires in Superstar Threads?

Bryan: You will not be able to edit entrance attire in Superstar Threads this year.

Q: Will we be able to keep our custom advanced entrance when entering with a title?

Bryan: Title entrances (single title entrances and the new multi-title entrance) are separate from non-title entrance scenes so the answer to your question would be a no. However, you’ll be able to choose a distinct single title entrance as well as multi-title entrance for your CAS or default WWE Superstar.

Q: Can we put titles on the line at the Elimination Chamber again?

Bryan: Yes, you will be able to hold title matches in the Elimination Chamber match.

Q: Will we be able to copy Save Datas this year? If not, what's the reason behind it? You know, we might need a backup of our saves every now and then...

Bryan: The answer to this question comes courtesy of Antonio Herrera, one of the producers on the SmackDown Vs. RAW franchise. Take it away Antonio.

The reason the save file is locked from copying is due to community creations. It’s done for both legal and security concerns on both PS3 and 360 consoles. The legal issue is due to the user downloading content that may have been removed from the server if was considered objectionable. The security issues is related to a similar concern from the first party companies. They want to avoid having the user copy this data to other users if it’s flagged. Microsoft also recommended to have us remove the content directly from the user’s hard disk, which we refused since this is a violation of their own user privacy agreement. This was the compromise we settled on last year. We have the same system in the game this year.

Thank you Bryan for the great and detailed answers, it has been a pleasure. You are the man!

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