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The developers for the long-running WWE series, THQ, are filing for bankruptcy, but have no fears – they are still going to press ahead with a WWE 14, the sequel to last year’s Attitude Era centric WWE 13. Fortunately, their project development budget does have sufficient money allocated for development and release of the game, meaning they will be putting out at least one more brawling title for us to look forward too.
Since the seminal title in the franchise, 2000?s WWF Smackdown, we have seen 13 follow ups including Shut Your Mouth! and Here Comes The Pain before the franchise later branched out into the “Vs” series and eventually landed on the “WWE” saga.
Last year we had the return of the Attitude Era which replaced the long-standing “Road To Wrestlemania” game mode of old. Veterans like Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mike Foley (and his various personas), The Rock, The Undertaker and Kane were prominent, as was Attitude Era matches like the famed Hardcore division and the Hell In A Cell.
With WWE 14 set to be released late this year, we figured we’d take the time to conjure up a list of the ten things we’d like to see most from THQ with their latest grappling game.
10. Grapple Interruption
One of WWE 13?s many new features last year was the long awaited and much needed ability to be able to break up finishing moves. Say you were contesting a tag team match and your partner was about to be struck by the Peoples Elbow by The Rock, you could simply enter the fray and prevent “The Peoples Champion” from landing his “Peoples Elbow” and save the day.
In WWE 14, this ability should be expanded for all grappling moves, not just finishers and Royal Rumble eliminations. I want to be able to have complete control over what goes down in the ring instead of simply being a spectator to whatever it is the AI controlled opponent has in mind
9. More Interactive Environments
Remember when that daredevil maniac Jeff Hardy mounted the titantron, climbed to the top, and performed a Swanton Bomb? It was one of the most sensational moments in the history of the WWE and replicated Shane McMahon’s elbow drop from a similar height onto The Big Show years earlier.
There have been WWE games in the past that have allowed us to climb the titantron and perform aerial assaults on our opponents, such as Here Comes The Pain, which allowed us to climb to the top of a number of objects such as lamp posts (even helicopters) and Times Square.
Unfortunately these abilities have since been unavailable to us in WWE games, but we think it’s time for a return.
8. New Weapon Animations
In recent times, weapon animations have been added to WWE games, but I remember a time many moons ago, playing Smackdown Shut Your Mouth, hitting someone with a chair only for my opponent to sell it as a punch or a kick. These days you can make full on connections to an opponents skull with a chair or a sledgehammer and watch in amusement as a cut-scene shows them fall to the ground in agony.
But THQ need to add more of these animations, particularly for chair assaults from behind, or to a limb. I also want to be able to go to hit someone with a chair only to miss, hit the top rope, and have the weapon rebound into my face.
That’d be fun.
7. More Back-Stage Areas
Attitude Era centric WWE ’13 had many backstage areas to explore, which was a compulsory feature considering that the game heavily revolved around the hardcore era of WWE programming. In the past we have been able to grapple in boiler rooms, locker rooms, corridors, even car parks.
But one of my favourite backstage areas to grapple in was Times Square, and in the subway systems. Much mayhem was created in those areas – slamming an opponent into a waiting train, chokeslamming them off the top of Times Square and onto a limousine parked below, you could even throw snowballs at people at one stage, and attack them with shopping trollies.
I want all this to return in WWE ’14.
6. Better Table Detection
Table detection has come a long way since the earlier titles in the franchise. Back then, if you wanted to put someone through a table, you had to first Irish-whip them onto it and then watch a pre-determined cut-scene of your character performing something lame like a DDT onto it.
These days you can superplex an opponent off the top rope and through a table, as well as perform a finishing move through one. But the table detection system was a tad squiffy in WWE ’13. I remember performing a DDT on an opponent one time, and after his head had been planted into the canvas, he flipped over and broke a table nearby.
I also want to be able to stack three or four tables on top of each other instead of the current two that we are permitted – I remember watching some incredible TLC matches featuring the Dudley Boys and the Hardy Boyz and watching Bubba Ray crash off a ladder and break a big pile of tables – that’d be excellent.
5. The Return of General Manager Mode
General Manager Mode hasn’t featured in a WWE game since WWE Smackdown! vs Raw 2008, with the game mode Road To Wrestlemania replacing it. GM Mode was a relatively simple concept – you became the general manager of either Smackdown, Raw or ECW and controlled the day to day running of the show such as creating rivalries, rosters and PPV’s. It was the player’s duty to make decisions to help make their chosen brand the most popular brand of the three, and we could also make staffing decisions, schedule workouts and events and more.
After a five year hiatus from the series, I think it is time to bring this mode back, particularly if THQ have given up on the Road to Wrestlemania mode, which brings us to…
4. Another Career Mode
As previously mentioned, in last year’s WWE ’13, Attitude Era Mode replaced the long-serving Road to Wrestlemania game mode, but that is only suspected to be a one-off given that there really isn’t much scope to get two games out of the Attitude Era. That could mean the RTW mode could make a return, or we could once more see the aforementioned GM Mode in its place.
Personally, I’d rather see a story mode with much more interaction and multiple-choice than we have seen in the past. I want to be able to make my own decisions throughout the course of a season and face the consequences of each decision along the way, which is a lot more exciting than simply following some generic, pre-determined plot with only one ending.
And despite my concerns that the Attitude Era may not have much longevity in the WWE franchise of video games, I really wouldn’t mind seeing it return for a second time.
3. Post-Match Beat Downs
In Smackdown! Here Comes The Pain, players had the option to add further insult to injury after a match by beating up your opponent long after the referee had rung the bell. You could choose a variety of options such as exiting the ring to get a steel chair or stamping on your felled opponent as the referee tries to pull you out of the way.
This option would just be limited to cut-scenes however, and occasionally, your opponent would reverse your attempt and fight back or scare you from the ring. I believe this feature should return just to give us that added satisfaction after winning a hard-fought contest if nothing else. I also believe we should be able to attack an opponent during their ring entrance – this has just been limited to career mode in the past but it could be implemented into exhibition mode also.
2. More “Hot Spot” Moves
“Hot Spot Moves” have been making their way into the WWE series of games for a while now. Last year we saw the “WWE Attitude Era Moments” such as The Big Show superplexing Brock Lesnar off the top rope, causing the ring to collapse, as well as the ability to Spear an opponent through the barricade.
A lot of hot spot moves have been dropped in recent tiles however, such as the ability to slam an opponents leg against the ring post whilst stood outside, or repeatedly slam an opponents ahead against the announcers table.
We believe that hot spot moves should have a more integral role in WWE ’14.
1. More Characters In-Ring
One of the main things fans of the WWE series of games have been crying out for the most is the ability to have more than 6 wrestlers in the ring at any given time. In Royal Rumble matches, for example, when more and more superstars enter the fray, the ring usually gets crowded in real-life WWE programming, yet in the game, only 6 wrestlers can be in the ring at the same time.
By allowing, say, 8 wrestlers in the ring, bouts such as tag team matches and royal rumble encounters would be a lot more entertaining. Clearly, THQ’s issue with this is that the targeting system might not work properly, and lead to glitches, but if they can find a way around that, it’s something we’d love to see.