Last week we had the pleasure of heading out to check out the latest build of WWE 13, which I have a strange hunch is the final build prior the game’s release. During our time at the event Creative Director Cory Ledesma gave all in attendance an overview of the game, as well we got to meet Mick Foley, AJ Lee and Paul Heyman. Given all the information that has been released over the past few months I thought it would be prudent not to “rehash” in detail much of what has been talked about already. That being said, I have to say that WWE 13 looks to be the best version of the series yet.
Anyone who has been following the development of WWE 13 should know that the focus of this year’s game is the Attitude Era of the WWE, which started in the mid-1990’s. It was a time when the WWE (then known as the WWF) was fighting a ratings war with rival WCW. During this time period the WWE introduced a series of characters that were “bad”, or had a distinctive “attitude”, hence the time period being known as the Attitude Era. The gameplay of the Attitude Era mode, which is a single player mode, focuses on five or six chapters that highlight such well known wrestlers as D-Generation X, Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Rock to name a few. It is a pretty neat mode that I think a lot of old fans will appreciate, and a lot of younger fans will be fascinated with to see how the WWE came to be such a force in the Wrestling Entertainment industry.
During a few of the introductory notes, what struck me was how much work as been put into WWE 13. It has been in development for the past 18 months, so the game was already being worked on while last years WWE 12 was ending its own development cycle. The game has the largest roster to date as it includes over 100 playable characters. These characters are split between the current stars and the stars from the Attitude Era. We were told that this is the “deepest roster” yet.
During the presentation it was noted that the Creation Suite, Universe mode, and Online mode of the game has not been discussed in any depth yet. It is these three things that I plan to focus on here.
WWE 12 had a lot of creation options, and if anything can be said about WWE 13 it is that it takes the original creation tools and blows the lid of anything you’ve known about the feature. You are able to create your own fantasy character, or should you choose you can edit existing superstars to your liking. This may seem like a minor detail, but the WWE fans will love this aspect as well as the amount of options allowing you to such. It was noted that a big fan request in WWE 12 was the return of the Skin Colour Shader. Well, THQ has listened and it makes a grand return. There are even new additions right down to the smallest detail, including new boot and kickpad options. You can put logos on these, change colours, and make them your very own. Simple yes, but this is yet another level of detail in the creation suite. Logo creations have also received a revamping as you can layer them beyond belief, as well as make them semi-transparent, all in an effort to create a unique logo to call your own. In this years game fans can fully edit anything that they happen to pull off the THQ servers, so if you download someone’s customized wrestler or arena for example, you will be free to make whatever changes you want to further the customized look. For PS3 owners out there, last year you only had 32 layers to customize while Xbox 360 owners had 64, but this year there is no disparity as both consoles get the same 64 layers.
Speaking of the ability to create, you can create your own arena too. This is an amazing feature given you are free to make an arena that you can call yours. You can choose the stage, venue size, and even crowd type (attitude vs. modern era). It is somewhat mindboggling on the amount of stuff you can fine tune right down to the type of lighting used. Once you are done you can feel free to take your arena online to host matches in as well.
This is only the tip of the iceberg for what you can create. The ability to create your own story design also makes a return this year. There have been over 300 scenes added to make your own custom cutscenes; this is a 60 percent increase over WWE 12. You can change props, cast, where a cutscene takes place, and even how the cutscene branches depending on the choices people make. I thought this was a pretty deep mode last year; well it has only gotten deeper. Oh, and did I mention you can customize/create your own WWE championship as well and give it a name that announcers will say (from a string of up to six recognized words)? Well yes, you can do that too.
Universe is another aspect of WWE that many people enjoyed in WWE 12, and this year’s version looks to be even more engrossing. This single player mode is akin to a career mode. Here you can take control of the WWE and script out everything that occurs. You can delete shows off the calendar, you can change the days that the shows take place on, and you can even create your own show, which can comprise of your own logo, your own rosters, and what venue the show takes place at, including your custom created arena. Heck, you can even create your own PPV events. Something I found interesting, and something I think fans will enjoy, is the ability to turn off certain storylines or story content during one’s career. Now you can choose to turn off non-PPV stories, injury stories, team creation/disbanding stories, or any other type of story that you find just doesn’t fit in your “universe”. It is this sort of customizability that shows THQ really is giving the gamer total control. Another feature of Universe that somewhat blew my mind is the inclusion of stats this time around. There are quite a few stats to look at and they contain both historical stats as well as stats that continually update during your progress through the Universe mode. You can try to beat some of these stats as you progress too (e.g. most WWE World Championship reigns, etc.).
The final aspect we were given more information on was WWE 13’s online features. First and foremost is that THQ claims that the issues of latency have been improved. WWE 12 did suffer from ‘lag’ and THQ stated that server issues were a number one priority for them to improve. I have to give them kudos that they recognize and admit to this and that they have taken issues to rectify any issues in this area. New to the online arena is a “Fair Fight” feature. This feature allows for online combatants to only use default Superstars and default sets. It allows for fair fights as it does not allow users to have customized fighters that are too strong giving one player an advantage over another. This is a great addition as it levels the playing field so to speak for those who don’t have the time to create a powerful custom fighter. Also new is that when you head online with some friends, and you all want to play a multi-character match, if you don’t have enough online friends to fill all the slots the AI will fill in the empty spots for you. So feel free to head online for a 3 vs. 3 tag team match and know you can play even with only 3-4 friends, as the AI will take on the rest of the characters. Finally, it is worth noting that this year you will not have to upload any created content you wish to use online. In WWE 12 you had to upload your creations to THQ’s servers to use it online, but this year you’ll have access to everything from your HDD to use online without a need to upload.
Overall we had a great time learning even more about WWE 13. I had a chance to play through some of the Attitude Era mode as well as go through the games menus and briefly look at the Creation Suite. There are an incredible amount of options included in this years wrestling game. I thought WWE 12 was big, but WWE 13 looks to make the game even bigger. It is great fan service for those who love the world of Wrestling Entertainment and I think anyone who picks this game up will be surprised with what is offered. WWE 13 is scheduled to launch on October 30, and we should have our review posted on or close to that day.