So a German video game site has released game play footage from a very early build of WWE 12. This is from a build at least 5 months old. A lot has changed since this build. Also, this video is made up of short clips that are horribly edited together making the gameplay seem much choppier than it is. You can’t take much from this video but you can see some of the gameplay features like the new wake up taunt that sets up a finisher and some reanimated moves. What do you think?
While we will have to probably wait until E3 to see more video footage of WWE ‘12 in action, there have been a few screen shots released. Lets take a look at a screen from THQ’s new game, their old game and real life.
First lets look at SVR 2011
If you look at these two shots, you will notice that every spot in the entire arena is in focus. The background is just as sharp as the foreground. The crowd is as clear as the men in the ring.
Now, lets look at a similar real life picture.
You will notice that the men in the foreground are in much sharper focus than the subjects in the background. While the Wrestlemania banner in the background of this image is a little out of focus, the Survivor Series background in the SVR 2011 screenshot is as clear as can be. This is because there is no depth of field in SVR 2011.
In real life, a lens can only precisely focus on one distance at a time. As you move away from that focal point, sharpness of focus will decrease. In the real life screenshot above, you will notice that you can barely makeout the announcers at ring side, but you cannot identify anyone in the crowd. In the SVR 2011 screenshots the back row of the crowd is just as sharp as the referee.
Now lets look at the screenshots from the new WWE ‘12
You can immediately notice that depth of field is present in WWE ‘12. Much like real life, you cannot identify individual faces in the crowd. The background banners are not as crisp and the subjects in the foreground.
I do believe the depth of field effect is a tad bit over done in WWE ‘12. The background in these screenshots are more blurred than the Wrestlemania background in the real life picture. That being said, I think the WWE ‘12 screenshots are much closer to real life than the SVR 2011 screenshots. I believe these changes will make the game look much more like real life WWE programming.
At noon today THQ announced the video game they have been teasing for weeks now. It is technically the successor to Smackdown vs. Raw 2011, it has been rebranded and given a new name. This makes sense and reflects current WWE programming. The Smackdown and Raw brands aren’t really in competition with each other anymore. WWE as whole is undergoing a rebranding of itself to try to capture the hearts and wallets of fans that are increasingly turning their attention to MMA events. This is the perfect time for the Smackdown series (which rebranded itself as Smackdown vs. Raw) to rebrand itself again. The new game will be called “WWE 12”. I like the name change. I think it suits the product well.
A new animation system that allows any move to be interrupted in progress
Better lighting, shading and depth of field
New face button grapple system based on how damaged your opponent is
Better collision detection
Better pacing to matches
Better computer AI
New dynamic comeback combo that can be done once and will allow you to turn the tide of the match
Limb specific targeting allowing you to concentrate on a specific body part
New pinning system
New wake up taunts that set your opponent up for a finisher
Ability to store 2 finishers
Ability to strike while getting to your feet
New tug of war style submission system that also allows you to get to the ropes
Improvements to WWE Universe Mode
Improved camera angles
New stamina bar
New weight detection
The list actually looks impressive. I thought that SVR11 was a huge leap forward because of the inclusion of Universe mode and it appears as though WWE 12 will be another leap forward. I like the direction the guys at THQ are taking this series.
After digesting all of the info from today, I am left with great optimism tempered by some significant concerns.
First and foremost I am concerned about the changes being made to the grappling system. It wasn’t too long ago that we changed to an all analog stick grapple system. I didn’t see any huge issues with the system. WWE 12 is going back to face button grapples. This worries me … a lot. My chief concern is the superstar’s move sets. Will superstars have fewer grapples in this new system? I have tried to contact Corey Ledesma , Marcus Stephenson and Tank from THQ about this concern to no avail. All that I want to know is if I go into edit a moveset from SVR 2011 and and WWE 12 and count the number of moves each superstar has, which game has more. If WWE 12 has fewer moves per superstar, then I can see this as being a major issue.
In SVR 11, they removed one running strike from the moveset and in my opinion it makes a big difference in game play. You will see that one move done multiple times in the same match. If WWE 12 reduces the number of standing grapples in the game it is going to make a big difference in the game.
This is just speculation on my part, but to this point, it has emerged as the largest concern voiced by the community on fan sites like Caws.ws. I am not alone in my concerns. What I don’t understand is why the THQ guys don’t address these concerns. I have seen them respond to other people on twitter by saying that they want to wait until people play the demo before they answer any questions.
I have always had a problem with THQ’s marketing strategy. Why would you release information about a new grappling system (which is the core gameplay mechanic) and then not be willing to answer the concerns of the consumer base? It makes no sense. It leads to wild speculation and bad press. They seem to do this every year.
When EA Sports recently released news about new features for Madden 12 and NCAA Football 12, they followed it up with detailed blogs and then they allowed community managers to interact with fans to answer any other questions they might have. This builds trust between the consumer and the developers. By doing this, fans know exactly what to expect and they don’t spend hours blogging on the internet about their concerns over vague new features. Instead, we are left to our own devices and able to devise any number of catastrophic scenarios. This is just bad marketing. If you aren’t fully prepared to explain a feature, don’t reveal that feature until you are. I don’t need to play the demo to have this simple question answered.
My other concern is that the new focus on improving the pacing of matches will result in a fast arcade style of match instead of the slow, deliberate pace that I enjoy. This is a matter of personal preference and it is something that I probably do need to play the demo to decide. I did not like the first couple of Smackdown games because they were too fast and arcade like for my taste. Back then, I preferred to import games from Japan. With a few adjustments to sliders, I enjoyed the pace of SVR11. Most of my matches last between 7 to 10 minutes and can be epic. From the IGN preview, the faster pace of WWE 12 was mentioned more than once. One thing specifically mentioned was that when you knock an opponent to the ground, they get up faster. This can be a very bad thing. I don’t remember which year it was, but one of the SVR games had a pace so fast that it was nearly impossible to pull off a top rope move. I really don’t want to see that again.
Lastly, I am hoping that innovations from SVR11 weren’t sacrificed for these new changes. For instance, I liked the direction THQ was heading with allowing you to choose if a move will pin an opponent or not. They didn’t fully implement this feature into the last game (no diving moves had it) which hurt it, but the idea is a good one. Will they fully implement this feature in WWE 12 or did they scrap it all together? This is just one example, but you get the gist of my concern. I am hoping the guys at THQ will see the community concerns and address them like EA Sports and Rockstar does so well. Sticking to a strict information release schedule doesn’t work very well in todays social media society. We want instant interaction with the companies we give our hard earned money to.
Over all, I am very pleased with the direction this series seems to be taking. The first major step in the right direction was community creations. This revolutionized the game. The next major step came in the form of WWE Universe mode. It may not have been perfect, but it was a step in the right direction and a great freshman effort for a new feature of this scope. The list of improvements and changes for WWE 12 looks to continue the trend. I am cautiously optimistic that this game will be even better than SVR11.