Chairs, tables, blood and beatings. Cory Ledesma tells us why THQ and Jukes are going back to the ‘Attitude Era’.
Talk to older wrestling fans and they’ll tell you that the WWE isn’t quite what it used to be. Sure there are still some superstars that fit the calibre of yesteryear like CM Punk, Rey Mysterio and – say what you will – John Cena, but there isn’t that strength and depth of quality that was a core part of wrestling’s resurgence during the late nineties. We’re talking of course about ‘The Attitude Era’; a time when The Rock was first coming to the forefront at the same time as a certain Steve Austin, while The Dudley Boyz, Team Xtreme and Edge and Christian were all vying for the Tag Team Championship by chucking each other through innumerable tables, ladders and chairs.
So what exactly does this have to do with WWE’13? Well in a surprising twist, this year’s edition of the annual franchise features not only modern superstars but also those from that golden era in a special story-based mode which takes replaces the regular Road to Wrestlemania game-mode. We had a chat with THQ’s long-time WWE champion and creative director Cory Ledesma to ask why his team are having to delve into wrestling’s past….
GamerZines: We remember interviewing you two years ago around the time WWE went PG and obviously the game had to follow suite. The ‘Attitude Era’ completely goes against that idea; a time when WWE were going aggressively for a late teen/adult audience with blood, beer, sex etc. In WWE ’13 how do you hold true to WWE as it is today, while emulating everything that late nineties era was all about?
Cory Ledesma: That was a small concern of ours. We weren’t too worried about it. I think we do a good job of finding a good happy medium between the two, we don’t go as extreme or vulgar as some of the most extreme moments back then, but we don’t water it down by any means. We were pretty sensitive about that, if we want to portray an era that was built on certain principles then we can’t ignore those. I think that’s the approach we took and I don’t think we made many concessions. Its not PG, its not R it has to be that PG-13 area.
GamerZines: How you deal with the fact that certain prominent wrestlers from the Attitude Era aren’t currently contracted to the WWE, like Kurt Angle for example. Do you ignore them or do you have to add them in?
Cory Ledesma: That’s a good question, for the most part the major players are taken care of in that regard. They are either still affiliated with the WWE, or they have a great relationship with them, so it didn’t really impact us for the most part. Some supporting cast members yes, it wouldn’t make sense for them to be in our product. I don’t think that it’s a make or break thing for us, if they are just supporting cast we find it easy to navigate around that stuff.
GamerZines: Is that the beauty of having the Attitude stuff in the game as a story-based mode? As you can pretty much pick and choose what stories to tell tell?
Cory Ledesma: I don’t think that’s what it is. It’s a long span of time, and I think we’re able to pick the biggest moments. We don’t tell the story of every single RAW match that happens – that would be awesome – but we do pick and choose story beats and sometimes there wasn’t a lot going on in the show, other times there was lots. Some of the major players like ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, Mankind, The Undertaker, and the moments that they had, they’re the most important. Those are the guys that night in and night out they were part of the main event. We want to focus mostly on the main event players, but we definitely do a lot of bonus matches throughout, where we say, “Hey this isn’t the main story, but this cool feud was going on, check it out!” With bonus matches we obviously have a lot of flexibility to choose which side stories we can talk about.
GamerZines: Last year’s edition of the WWE game was interesting as it really pushed player created wrestlers to the forefront, and inevitably those were real world wrestlers that for the most part weren’t part of the WWE any more. Are the WWE okay with that aspect of the game? We remember recreations of Kurt Angle regularly topping the most downloaded list.
Cory Ledesma: I don’t think THQ has an official stance on that, but the power of the creation tools are pretty astonishing. We pride ourselves on having a robust featureset allowing you to do a lot of that stuff. I’ve seen some amazing creations and our community is so great at investing time doing that. It’s a great mode as people who don’t have the talent, time or desire to create their own character can still find great creations in the game. It’s a fantastic mode in that regard and fans want to continue to see that mode in the game, so we don’t have any immediate plans to remove it or anything like that. The more diverse content that gets out there, the better.
Tags: WWE 13
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