Newsletter 39

Welcome to the Wrestling Gamers United newsletter #39

Dave, shut your mouth!
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In my never ceasing quest for financing this week I was introduced to a man who asked to meet with me after hearing about the Pro Wrestling X project through another acquaintance who was and still is interested in a small investment in the project. He wanted me to meet this guy because he currently works for a major game publisher located here in Vancouver and thought he could get a better understanding of our project's chances for success if he had someone with industry experience there to ask tough questions and to be honest I had a few questions of my own after hearing about the abomination of a "wrestling" game his current employer is involved with.

So we meet at a coffee shop and say our hello's and our common acquaintance makes the introductions. The guy was fairly friendly considering he works for the enemy. I had him sign a confidentiality agreement before we get into the details which I'm sure was legally void anyway seeing as how he shouldn't have been meeting with me while employed for another developer and surely he's under a confidentiality contract with them. Oh well.

We chat a bit about the recent history in wrestling games and I gently point out that his company, despite their ability in other genres, is responsible for some very sad wrestling games. To my suprise, he agreed. In fact, he tells me he's leaving the company in a few weeks and his decision to leave was based largely on the ever declining level of quality of their product. I gathered the work environment there has been less and less conductive to any kind of creative independence as well. I have to admit I was eager for dirt on what it's like to work there and listened intently to stories of paranoid firings and and inexperienced executives brought in from other industries to oversee game projects they had absolutely no emotional connection to at all.

So my friend and potential investor asked me more about the PWX project and I told them about how it was a fan based movement and we're currently seeking investors to begin production full time. I've given this pitch so many times in the last few months I swear I could do it in my sleep.

Here's where it gets interesting.

This guy tells me, I kid you not, that the people in charge of his company's wrestling titles know about the WGU and our game project. He goes on to tell me that while they don't consider PWX a serious threat he believes they will do something in their marketing to thwart (I can't believe I just typed "thwart") any gains we may make in the market against their product and other developers surely know about the WGU and will take the air out of our project unless I start keeping my mouth shut.

What what whaaaat?

Ok, I'm an conspiracy nut and sure I'm proud of the WGU movement but COME ON MAN! How could any developer really care enough about our little group of pissed off gamers to take action to stop us? And how would they even try? To say I was laughing my ass off would be an understatement. It's just a game, I said. Games are their business, he replied.

Once I stopped laughing he explained it to me. I'll paraphrase.

Right now some of the things that give the PWX project an advantage over other domestic wrestling games is better submission holds and online features. Knowing this, all another developer has to say to the public is that their next game will have the same features whether they honestly plan to do a good job of them or not. Now PWX isn't looking so special and fan interest will wane. Fan interest fades even the slightest and your chances of financing fade along with it. You can't make PWX and you're dead before you even get out of the gate.

I thought perhaps this guy was over reacting just a little but then I thought about some news that was just released concerning an upcoming release for PS2. Guess what features were being hyped? Better submissions, possible online play, and a new risk/reward aspect to the season mode. All of these things were previously publicly announced as Pro Wrestling X features. I refuse to let myself become paranoid enough to believe this had anything to do with little old WGU but the coincidence was enough to knock some business sense into me.

When I started the WGU the idea was to get developers to make the kind of game sim-style fans wanted. But now we have a problem. The WGU as we first came to know and love it has changed and will change even more as we move towards becoming a bona fide game developer. We need to protect the things that make Pro Wrestling X a threat like our lives depend on it. The investors' hundreds of thousands of dollars sure depend on it! We can't be giving away a lot of the great ideas that make PW-X such a great project for fear that a larger developer will use those ideas and beat us to the market place and effectively crush our chances to make a successful game. The sad truth is, we can't tell something to our supporters without telling it to our competition.

Now don't get me wrong. Even if Yukes, AKI, and Spike, all miraculously got their shit together and released games with all of the planned features of Pro Wrestling X I still believe we would stand a fighting chance among our target audience. Because even with all the talk about targeted damage, online features, and the rest, I believe PW-X will stand alone in terms of something all of those companies would have to start over from scratch to truly improve on--the gameplay. Our strategy for success doesn't lie in the idea that we're trying to copy another game's engine and add a few cool features. We're not trying to make the next No Mercy or Giant Gram. We're making the first Pro Wrestling X.

So you know what? They can go ahead and add better submissions and online play to Smackdown, LOW, and the DefJam game if they want because it doesn't matter. Our supporters are smarter than that. You can take a stupid girl with no personality and give her the best plastic surgery the world has to offer and, sure, you'll have fun with her for a few days but before long the novelty will wear off and you'll get sick of her. Maybe that's the way the game industry sees things but that's not what PW-X is about. We're about making you want to marry the girl and never have to look at another woman again because you know they just won't make you happy any more.

Our main beef with most wrestling games has always been about the gameplay and even though we've let some neat features out of the bag we're not worried about the competition. I'll let you know when we're worried. It'll be a while. Luckily for the project, a lot of the most innovative features were not released or discussed publicly and it's going to stay that way for the time being. Talking with this guy over coffee made me realize just how valuable information can be and how it can be used against a start up like ours if not taken seriously. I want you to understand that by not releasing every single detail of PW-X I'm doing it for the good of the project and ultimately for the good of the gamers like you everywhere. I will continue to keep you informed and I still welcome new ideas from fans even at this stage in the game. There will be suprises when you play PW-X for the first time but unlike other games in the past all of our suprises will be good ones!

I promise.

In the meantime and in-between time, that's it. Another edition of Wrestling Gamers United.

Thank you all,
Dave Wishnowski