Recently, I had the chance to chat with Cory Ledesma, creative manager for THQ. We discussed the recently released "WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2007."
GameCore: How does this game differ from the first and second "SmackDown vs. Raw games"?
Cory Ledesma: Each year, the game evolves into a brand new experience. This year is no different, as we have made some big improvements to the game's core gameplay experience. Our focus on "WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2007" was to give players the most control they've ever had in a wrestling or fighting game before.
This year, instead of just sitting back, pushing a button and watching the game do all the work, we actually give the players direct control of the moves. Now when you pick up opposing superstars and lift them over your head, you can choose whether you want to taunt with them, walk around or use the environment to inflict damage.
You can also choose when and where you want to do the move. We didn't want the game making all of the decisions for you, so we wanted to add interactivity in the moves and use the analog sticks for very intuitive controls. So, now when you grab opponents and drag them over to one of our 20 different environmental hotspots around the ring, you can control all aspects of your moves using all aspects of the environment.
The game play experience this year is all about "ultimate control." We even have an all-new fighting-in-the-crowd area, where superstars can toss their opponents into the crowd, grab weapons and crowd signs from the fans and use over 15 different props to decimate their opponents. In "WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2007," you don't just watch the action ... you live it!
2GameCore: That's great, Cory. I have to agree with you, that just letting the game do the work for me was not the best of fun. I'm glad you guys changed that up. So how long did this game take to get ready?
CL: Since we are an annual franchise, we are working on a tight deadline of about 10 months of core development. However, we start planning and designing next year's game way in advance of the current game's release in order to get a jumpstart on development and to make sure we hit the ground running right after completion of the current game.
We've started working on next year's game in September. So from start to finish, we take about 15 to 16 months to plan, design and develop the game. There are a lot of bumps in the road during those 16 months, but as you can imagine, it's quite a fun experience to develop a WWE video game.