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 The OFFICIAL THQ list of Questions, Answers, and what you want to know about the new engine and how it works!

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PostSubject: The OFFICIAL THQ list of Questions, Answers, and what you want to know about the new engine and how it works!   Wed Jun 01, 2011 1:05 pm

Q: Take me through your thoughts on how SvR '11 was received, and what you could/wish your team could have done better?

Cory: We have a lot of pride in the work we put out
there, so the team felt very good about WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011 being
a solid product that fans were going to thoroughly enjoy. We were able
to introduce a new mode, called WWE Universe, that we think was a very
solid foundation for the future and got a lot of people excited to play
the game. Adding dynamic object physics to gameplay was also another
major addition that we felt changed the way the game looked and played
for the better. All in all, we were generally pleased with how the game
was received. With that being said, there were some game areas we were
not completely satisfied with and feel need significant improvement. Our
fans are intelligent, recognize a lot of those shortcomings as well and
let us know about them.

Unfortunately, some of the game areas or improvements we want to make
can’t happen overnight and take a lot of planning, research and
development and other resources to see to fruition. In those cases, we
often create multi-year plans where those improvements are rolled out in
phases so we can realistically achieve the quality we want each year
while also rolling out new features and updates, updating the roster and
balancing our development costs. To give you a little insight to our
future planning, these are some of the key areas we are going to
continue focusing on from a technical standpoint:

1.) Gameplay
2.) Online Lag and Cheating
3.) Animation Quality
4.) A.I.
5.) Sound
6.) Graphical Quality

These are the game areas where we can continue pushing the envelope
and step our game up to the next level from a technical standpoint.
You’ll start to see a significant amount of those improvements listed
above in this year’s game. We are investing heavily in the future of
this franchise.
On the design side, we weren’t happy with the execution of Road to
WrestleMania. We liked the concept, but we just didn’t do a good job
making that backstage area fun, keeping it populated, entertaining and
engaging. We went back to the drawing board a bit on that one. We also
had some disappointing bugs in gameplay that our creative team was a
little disheartened by, but we’ll get a lot of those things cleaned up.
Online also had several issues we are working hard to address. I want
the fans to know that we are very aware of their criticisms and we are
working as hard as we can to address them. Just know that in some cases
the reason you might not see changes happen as quickly as you like
because there are some difficult development challenges or hurdles we
are trying to overcome just like any other developer, but we’re
committed and we’ll get there!

Q: As the creative director of the team, what's your opinion on the name change?

Cory: I absolutely love it, and I’ve been a key proponent of the change.

I’ve just felt for a couple of years now that the franchise has been
getting stale and in need of a reboot. Not just with the name but also
with the game experience. The name of the franchise evolved a couple of
times over the years, and it has gotten to the point where the name
doesn’t really mean anything. WWE currently doesn’t have brand wars, and
the shows themselves are rarely competing against each other, so
SmackDown vs. Raw as a name doesn’t really have a meaning. We started
out as just being called SmackDown when that show made its debut for WWE
back in 1999. Back then, we were releasing WWE products exclusively for
specific platforms – SmackDown for Sony, Raw for Microsoft and Day of
Reckoning for Nintendo. We then made the decision in 2004 to pool all
of our resources together and make one great game, which is how
SmackDown vs. Raw came together. Now, we are just WWE ’12, which is
great because we just want to be known as the official, authentic WWE
simulation product ... period. All that encompasses what’s great about
WWE live events and television is encapsulated and recreated in WWE ’12.
It’s simple and to the point. I’m pumped about it because I’ve always
wanted to re-launch this franchise the right way, and we are finally
getting the opportunity to do it this year.


Q: The feedback from the community has been loud and vocal
concerning the gameplay portion of the game. Do you have a message for
those vocal fans?


Cory: We read you loud and clear! We’ve been quietly
investing in and eagerly waiting for the right opportunity to introduce
this new animation technology into the franchise. It’s actually
something we’ve been working on for two years now. Being the annual
franchise that we are, it’s difficult to bring in new, significant
technology without halting the project entirely. I compare it to trying
to change the tire of a car driving 80 mph: not easy to do! The
technology group at Yuke’s Yokhama has been secretly working on the
technology and its implementation while we’ve been working on the game
the last two years. We are now at the point where we can integrate it
into the game. The new animation technology and tools have allowed us to
do things in gameplay that were not possible with the previous
technology. We hit a ceiling on the old tech, and now with our new
tech, we have plenty of more years to build it out and deliver a fun,
responsive and visually impressive game. It will be exciting the next
few years as we see what our new technology is fully capable of
delivering.

Q: Without giving any information, what area of the game are you most excited about in WWE '12?

Cory: Gameplay, gameplay and more gameplay. Now, we
aren’t changing the game entirely or completely ripping everything out
to start over. That wasn’t the goal. What we are doing is taking the
basic essence of what is good in the past games and making a new
experience that feels fresh, fun, responsive, faster, smoother and is of
higher quality. If you’re played the SmackDown vs. Raw games in the
past, I have zero doubt you will notice the difference as soon as you
pick up this year’s game. We are adding new gameplay systems, completely
overhauling gameplay systems and improving current gameplay systems.
The new animation system is giving us new capabilities as well. One
quick is example is that you now have the ability to interrupt
animations. For example, if John Cena is doing a five-knuckle shuffle in
the game, you can knock him right on his butt in the middle of the move
(something you’ve never been able to do in our game because the
animation had to completely play out – and that goes for every single
move in the game). We have several new capabilities like the one just
mentioned that will change the dynamic of how the game is played. We
didn’t want to completely throw everything out and build something from
scratch. That would force us to take a major step back, probably cut out
80 percent of our moves/match types and also put us at risk to
disappoint fans who love the current game. We wanted to find the
balance between fixing what is broken and also delivering a brand new,
high quality experience. I believe we are accomplishing that now, and
fans are going to love this new WWE ’12 gameplay experience. We will be
unveiling more about the changes to gameplay as time moves on.


Q: To prove to the community that feedback is always heard
and sometimes implemented, can you give us a small example of something
in WWE '12?


Cory: This is a tough question because we have
addressed so much fan feedback already, but a lot of it I can’t talk
about just yet. So, I will give you just two quick examples. The rest
we will announce when the time is right.

1) The fans have been asking for a new submission system. I’m happy
to report there is a new submission system. It’s called the Breaking
Point Submission system. It has a new mini-game, and also, for the first
time, submissions where you can climb to the rope for a rope break.
2) The fans have been asking for wake-up taunts. I’m happy to report
there are now wake-up taunts. Do you love those dramatic moments where
Randy Orton slams his fists to the ground, daring his opponent to stand
up and then unleashing his RKO when the opponent stumbles right into
his clutches? Well then, you’re going to be one happy camper.

Q: With the success of WWE All Stars, did your WWE '12 team
learn anything from the fan reaction? What kinds of things are
applicable to WWE '12 that was also in All Stars?


Cory: I’ve been pushing for this type of product
ever since I’ve started at THQ, and the team at THQ San Diego did a
fantastic job executing on this. I worked on creating the original
pitch for this game, and we set out to create a game where the
experience would be something along the lines of WWE meets NBA Jam: a
fun, accessible, over the top WWE game that complimented the simulation
franchise we already had with SmackDown vs. Raw. I wasn’t surprised to
see that fans took so well to the product. However, WWE ’12 and WWE All
Stars are two completely different products. There are some elements
that can be compared, while others we feel only belong in an over the
top experience. We took notice of a lot of the core gameplay elements
that made WWE All Stars so successful, such as their fast-paced match
flow, simple controls, quality motions, quick response time and mid-move
reversals. There is a lot to like in All Stars, and I think a lot of
things that can translate well into WWE ’12. We looked at it like any
other competitive product and tried to identify the elements that can
help make WWE ’12 the best game possible.

Q: There has been a ton of game franchises that have taken on
a new name. Is WWE '12 just a name change? How will we know? What is
your favorite (other) franchise re-invention?


Cory: WWE ’12 is far from just a name change. Our
goal has been to create a brand new experience with a new, high quality
animation system, a new renderer and a new strategic gameplay experience
that will look, feel and play substantially better than its
predecessors. When you play the game, you’ll notice right away that
you’re spending less time on the mat mashing buttons and more time
enjoying the action with a faster paced gameplay flow, simpler game
controls and the most fluid and realistic animations the game has ever
seen. This is a true franchise reboot and not just a name change. It’s
also an investment toward the future of the franchise, giving us the
opportunity to use our new technology to push the game to new heights
never seen before.

Q: How far along in development are you on WWE '12?

Cory: We started around the end of May 2010, so we
are currently at the one year mark. We still have more months ahead for
gameplay tuning and bug fixing, and then we are done. It feels like we
never stop. One year bleeds into the next. With the multi-year plans,
we are already planning for projects in the distant future.

Q: What can we expect to see at E3? (expecting him to say "can't tell")

Cory: We will be showing off a one on one match so
that people can come by and take an early look on how the new and
improved gameplay experience is looking. We will have four playable
Superstars available, including one Superstar making his WWE game debut!
The rest I can’t reveal just yet. You will have to play the game at
E3 to find out what we’re up to!

Q: What is the one thing you want in the WWE series that is not yet possible?

Cory: Almost anything is possible. It just comes
down to how much you have to sacrifice in order to get it. I know a lot
of people have asked us to have eight, 10, 12 and even 20 Superstars in
the ring at once. Although we could completely reconfigure the game to
support this, a ton of effort would go into this rather than on
developing other features. The game would also take significant hits to
model and animation quality to make this happen; at the end of the day,
it’s just not worth it. Although I agree it would be cool to have this
for particular match types, it currently is just not worth the risk and
work associated with the task.
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PostSubject: Re: The OFFICIAL THQ list of Questions, Answers, and what you want to know about the new engine and how it works!   Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:31 am

TBH, the development team cop for a lot of flack from "fans" but I give them the credit that they at least do make an effort to engage and offer explanations, and I do think the listen as well. They do seem to genuinely want to improve the product.

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PostSubject: Re: The OFFICIAL THQ list of Questions, Answers, and what you want to know about the new engine and how it works!   Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:50 am

I know. I personally think the fans of these games are ridiculously critical, quick to scream and insult the team over the dumbest of things and woefully ignorant about the development process before they take any steps to think about why it might be like it is, at times.

It never fails.

They would work hard on everything else and then someone would always come up and say "THESE GAMES SUCK THEY DON'T LISTEN TO US BECAUSE THEY TOOK OUT 200 MOVES WHAT THE FUCK FUCK THQ YOU LIARS"

And then THQ would have to sigh and explain that many moves were removed because the old motion captured animations weren't working with many of the new physics tweaks.

And then someone else would scream "THQ SUUUUCK WHEN ARE THEY GOING 2 LET YOU HAVE 10 PEOPLE IN THE RING THEY AREN'T TRYING THEY DONT CARE ABOUT US THEY JUST CARE ABOUT HYPE AND MONEY"

And so then they have to again sigh and explain that 10 people in the ring isn't going to work and they'll offer a completely reasonable explanation as to why that won't work.

And then another person will rant and scream and rave and say "FUCK THQ U LAZY STUPID MONEY GRUBBING BASTARDS AND UR SHITTY GAME WTF WHY IS THERE NO ZACK RYDER ENTRANCE ATTIRE AND ATTIRES FOR EVERYONE YOU SUCK U RNT EVEN TRYING I WANT MY MONEY BACK WAHHHH"

And then they'll AGAIN have to rub their temples and sigh and explain carefully to these insulting frothing maniacs that the extras like attires are dictated by their budget and how much they can afford on both modeling time and money and their precisely mapped out schedule of what they can get done on time and how much of the budget they can put into it.

And even recently Marcus Stephenson almost got dragged into a flame war from some lunatic who wanted to keep insulting him and screaming at him over how blurry the backgrounds look in one of the 4 new prototype screenshots for the 12 game.

And then the troll basically just ended by tweeting "Going to stop tweeting now. You suck and your game sucks. The end."

I can understand that THQ honestly sees the problems with their games as much as anyone else and is always looking to fix them, but I always think it's obvious that their new features and progressive direction has been always been many more steps forward than back.... even even the steps back always tend to have a reasonable justification at the very least (and are usually minor things, anyway)

But I still get a little sad when they act apologetic, when the ridiculous negative reaction they always get is trollish, embarrassing, hateful, overreactionary, uncalled for, and usually very ignorant on the part of the fans and their need to whine, insult and their selfish entitlement issues. Everything with them is THQ being "liars" or "lazy" or "fucking idiots that dont care about us"

It's good to see that they THQ is being honest, and that they do acknowledge the faults the games do tend to have.... But I actually wish that they would sometimes also be a little more arrogant in defense of themselves sometimes, too. They have the right to be. Because 80% of the fanbase are really just screaming, whiny pricks about everything. >_> I'd love to see THQ be able to adequately rub their nose in something, for a change.

I tend to think of most of the "fanbase" as whiners and bullies and I would really like to see THQ someday take a swing and knock them back on their asses, at least once.

That having been said though, yes, they very much want to improve and I think they always have been doing so.

Aside from a few iterations that I will admit have not been their best moments, like SvR2008 (maybe my least favorite attempt of theirs), I don't think I've ever truly been entirely disappointed by them, yet.
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