Newsletter 12

Hello and welcome to the WGU newsletter #12!

In this issue
1) In THQ's own words...
2) Thanks guys
3) Back in the saddle
3) Are you new to the WGU?

1) In THQ's own words...
When WGU was created, it's primary intention was to convince a company like THQ to produce another great wrestling simulation along the lines of the AKI or Fire Pro series. We were naive and we were stupid. THQ has no intention of ever doing this for us. Before you accuse me of stating my opinion as fact, let me bring your attention to what was said by THQ CEO and president, Brian Farrell, at the THQ annual E3 analyst and investor luncheon. What I'm about to share with you came right out of the mouth of the president of THQ. Could you ask for a better source?

When asked if he knew about any upcoming wrestling games from another developer, Brian had this to say,

1) "The wrestling (game) is defined by the license. People watch the WWF. Unlicensed wrestling I just don't think works."

He was referring to past games from EA which he states were "crushed" THQ's games at the time. I find his ignorance on this subject amusing. Yes, THQ's WM2000 and No Mercy were more popular than EA titles like Mayhem and Backstage Assault. But it had nothing to do with a WWF vs. WCW license. EA's games were lacking and THQ had the AKI engine. Let's turn the tables and compare older games like WCW vs NWO Revenge and Acclaim's poorly recieved Attitude and Warzone games. In this case, THQ still had the upper hand over the competition when they had the WCW license instead of the WWF! So, Mr. Farrell's assumption that a WWF(E) license will help them crush the competition can't even be backed up by their own history of game sales. Their games beat the other games because of gameplay. Their precious WWE license won't save them when a game with greater gameplay is released in the future.

2) "We always look at the bottom line, dollars. How do you make the most money."

Does this quote even need an explanation or interpretation? THQ's goal is the same as that of any other major corporation. They attempt to make the largest possible profit by keeping costs low and sales high. That's why all THQ games lately are only as good as they need to be to make that initial sales peak. That's also why they make the games as "pretty" as possible instead of spending a lot of time and effort on the gameplay. People buy with their eyes first. Would you buy a game you've never played before if the box contained no screen shots? Probably not. But what if that box and website had gorgeous images of your favorite WWE wrestlers? A lot of people would even go so far as to pre order that game in advance, wouldn't they? So what if the gameplay is bad? It's not like people are going to return it. Or will they? Are there really enough so-called "true gamers" out there to affect the direction of future Yukes games? I hope so, but even if THQ and Yukes announced they were improving the gameplay could we trust them? Remember, they made a point of telling us when WMX8 was in development that it would incorporate a lot of the No Mercy traits that Nintendo fans were so dedicated to. Did they deliver on that promise? You be the judge.

3) "We've also made a minority investment in Yukes." "The way we look at wrestling is, very simply, it is a brand" "We have a (WWE) deal that goes through until 2013."

These three statements alone did more to solidify my commitment to developing a new game than anything I've seen or heard so far. Did you think there was a possibility that THQ would dump Yukes? Not likely, seeing as how they've actually invested in the company. Did you think they would someday take fans of wrestling sims seriously and spend more time on a better engine? Not if they see wrestling games simply as a "brand". This helps explain why som many gamers are tricked into buying the games based on how great the intros and character models are. THQ said it themselves, they're in the business of selling the WWE brand. Not once did they mention a desire to be faithful to the "sport" of pro wrestling. Did you think that there might even be a longshot possibility that another developer would make a better WWE game? Well, even if that did happen, it looks like we'll be waiting until at least the year 2013 to find out.

If anyone wants to check the validity of these quotes you can hear the speech for yourself at;

Here are the estimated times of each quote; 23:50 Investment in Yukes 37:00 Wrestling defined by the liscence. Unliscenced games don't work. 39:03 We always look at the bottom line, dollars. How do you make the most money. 49:50 We have a (WWE) deal until 2013

Bottom line, unless THQ witnesses terrible sales and consumer backlash against their product, they see no reason to change a thing. To it's credit, WMX8 for GameCube turned out to be a near perfect WWE game. It's hard to deny that, on the surface, the game encapsulates everything the WWE brand is today. Fans of pro wrestling simulations like the AKI, Fire Pro, or similar games, will simply have to look elsewhere.

Have I misinterpreted Mr. Farrell's statements or read too much into them? I invite your responses at any time.

1) Thanks, guys
As you may know, I had to leave town for a few days to attend to some rather devastating family business. My father passed away after a brutally hard sickiness and I had to pick up and go without even time to let everyone know that the newsletter would not be sent that week. I'd like to thank you all for writing and offering your condolences. I will answer each and every one of your emails personally but please be patient. I have a weeks worth of email to catch up on as well as interviewing candidates to the programmer position at WGU.

I got my love of wrestling from my dad. Even when I was a little kid living in the Canadian praries my dad would take me to Stampede Wrestling shows where I got to see the Hart family in action as well as Andre the Giant and other future superstars in dirty little gyms and community centres around Saskatchewan. And every Saturday morning we'd watch Maple Leaf Wrestling on tv from Toronto which was one of the first WWF shows I remember seeing. If, God willing, one day we're all sitting around playing the greatest wrestling game ever created by the WGU, we can all thank my old man for being a good father and showing his sons a good time when they were young. Thanks, Pa.

3) Back in the saddle
As you can imagine, I have to work pretty hard to catch up with things after taking a week off. The most important thing right now is to talk to some of the programmers who responded to my announcement at CDIS and Digipen. The sooner I can find someone suitable to the task, the sooner we can get the design document started and the sooner we can move forward. At this point, work has already begun on the preliminary artwork for the game and I can tell you that it's looking pretty damn sweet. This game is going to have more "attitude" than anything you've ever played before. It's nice to have the freedom of nothing to loose.

Also, I was looking at the WGU website today and I realized something. If you weren't on the mailing list you'd think the WGU hasn't done anything in three months. The reason I haven't been posting the newsletters on the website is because I want to save the game development news for the game's official website which will open once the game is officially announced. At this point were just a bunch of rabid wrestling fans trying to do something most people think is impossible. But once the design document is done and the game is physically being constructed you can expect to follow the games progress more closely on the 'net. Unlike other game companies that wait until you buy the game before finding out how lame the CAW is ( I won't mention any names ...except for THQ) I plan on sharing every aspect of the games progress as it happens. You'll know every move, CAW part, and gameplay detail before you spend a single penny on the game. Sounds refreshing, doesn't it?

But that's not the only reason I don't post news on the website. Truth is, I prefer communicating with you guys more directly and the newsletter format offers me that feeling. Plus, I know that I'm talking to gamers who really care about what the WGU is doing and not just posting stuff for just anyone to read. The last thing I want to deal with is answering emails all day that say, "You suck! Aki sucks! Fire Pro Sucks! Please write back..."

So for the time being, what goes on with the WGU is just between us, the gamers who are NOT satisfied. Smackdown fans have their game and that's fine with me. We just want ours.

3) Are you new to the WGU?
If you just stumbled onto the WGU website and this is your first or second newsletter you might very well be confused about what exactly is going on here. Let me give you a short history if I may;

After Raw for Xbox and Smackdown3 for PS2 were released there was a huge amount of whining and complaining from certain gamers that the latest wrestling games simply weren't half as good as older N64 and even Dreamcast games. So I took it upon myself to put up the WGU website in an effort to lobby the game developers to give us a better game. They ignored us. Fine. So then I decided to investigate the possibility of developing a wrestling game myself with the support of all the loyal AKI and Fire Pro fans out there. I met with people in the gaming industry and one thing led to another and the next thing I knew I was sitting in an accountants office discussing the details of forming a legal company and obtaining investors to make the game. As it stands now, we have secured at least a small team of artists (with backgrounds at EA and Warner Bros.) to beging preliminary design work and are currently interviewing candidates for the programming and animation positions. I have every reason to believe that we will be the "Blair Witch Project" success story of the gaming industry.

Excited? So are we!

As always, I'd love to hear from you if you have any ideas or thoughts you'd like to share. Some guys email me almost every day with another new detail they'd like in the game and it's those kinds of people I never get tired or hearing from. Don't be shy!

Talk to you next week.