Interview: WWE 13 Lead Designer Bryan Williams
This week, THQ will be satisfying millions of fans with the release of WWE 13, the latest in their long line of simulated wrestling games. Along with the return of a number of notable features, including the WWE Universe and the creation modes, WWE 13 also boasts a new Attitude Era mode, where you can relive some of the greatest moments in World Wrestling Entertainment history, between the mid-90's and early 2000's.
We had a chance to sit down with lead designer Bryan Williams and talk about the various features in the game, so you can get a good idea what to expect when it hits store shelves. Can we get a "hell yeah"?
First off, would you say that the roster for WWE 13 is the most loaded yet? We're talking a number of superstars from today's WWE along with a number of legends.
Bryan Williams: I most certainly would! The roster in WWE ’12 was pretty loaded, but I don’t think that game can hold a candle to what we’ve done in this year’s title, in so far as the roster is concerned. We haven’t shipped a game with a roster this good since SmackDown: Here Comes the Pain.
Was there anyone you wanted to get in the game but couldn't for some reason or another? Or are you allowed to say?
Bryan Williams: As great as our roster is, I’m a bit disappointed that one of my favorites, Tyson Kidd, didn’t make the cut.
We understand that Heyman Hustle himself, Paul Heyman, worked with the team on WWE Universe 3.0. Tell us what it was like working with him.
Bryan Williams: I actually didn’t work hand in hand with Mr. Heyman, but he did provide us with many great storyline ideas that we’ve implemented for use within WWE Universe Mode. He has such a great mind for wrestling. His involvement in the game only adds to the authenticity of the product.
Did he contribute a lot of ideas to the gameplay as well? Did he have anything to say about how Brock Lesnar or CM Punk were represented?
Bryan Williams: While Paul Heyman made great contributions to WWE Universe Mode, gameplay was left up to us.
Is Create-a-Wrestler back again? Will we be able to modify appearance, finishers, that sort of thing?
Bryan Williams: It’s absolutely back! Year over year, Create-a-Superstar is one of the most popular modes in the game. If we were to ever ship a game without it, I’m sure there’d be legions of fans picketing outside the THQ office, demanding its return. To answer your second question, yes, players will be able to modify all aspects of their created Superstars and will even be able to create an original finishing move within our Custom Special Move mode. Additionally, players will be able to create an original entrance, move set, logo (using the in-game paint tool) and arena. The sheer amount of content that can be created is staggering!
How's the online aspect of WWE 13 looking? Are there any new features that we have to look forward to?
Bryan Williams: Online is looking and playing great! The online component of the game has most certainly been infused with some new features. Custom arenas and the match creator option have finally been made available for online use, and a new Fair Fight option has also been implemented. When turned on, Fair Fight matches disallow the use of modified move sets.
Has Road To Wrestlemania gone bye-bye this time around?
Bryan Williams: Road to WrestleMania is no more. Last year’s Road to WrestleMania has been replaced with the all-new “Attitude Era” Mode. It’s a substantial upgrade from what we offered players in WWE ’12.
Tell us how you guys came up with recreating the Attitude Era. Was there a lot of fan demand for it, or did you guys just think it'd be an awesome idea?
Bryan Williams: Truthfully, it was a mixture of both. Fan demand was definitely out there for a return to the “Attitude Era,” and we pride ourselves on giving fans what they want. When pre-production of WWE ’13 first began, we flirted with the idea of doing another Road to WrestleMania, but that quickly got jettisoned in favor of doing something completely new. The feeling among the team was that Road to WrestleMania had run its course. We had great success with it, but it was time for a change. It was actually my boss, Cory Ledesma, who pitched the idea of us doing a mode centered on the “Attitude Era.” The more we talked about it, the more excited people became with the idea. Things really kind of snowballed from there. I think fans will be very impressed with the finished product.
Has cover star CM Punk gotten a chance to check out the game at all? What did he think of it?
Bryan Williams: He certainly has. I haven’t personally spoken to CM Punk about his thoughts on the game, but I’m sure he’s been impressed by what he’s seen of it thus far. I’ll tell you one thing: I don’t think we’ve ever had such a cool looking front cover.
Have the destructive elements of WWE 13 been improved? We saw the recreation of Mick Foley's Hell In a Cell dive through a table and we're thoroughly impressed.
Bryan Williams: Oh yeah, they’ve been improved in a big way! What would a WWE game be without a healthy dose of destructive elements?
How's the DLC looking for the game? We understand AJ Lee has been introduced as one of the characters forthcoming. Thanks for that.
Bryan Williams: We have some amazing content planned for DLC this year. In fact, it’s our biggest DLC offering to date. In addition to AJ Lee, players will be able to download a collection of “Attitude Era” Superstars (Diamond Dallas Page, Goldust, Gangrel, Rikishi, Val Venis, Scotty 2 Hotty, Grand Master Sexay, Brian Pillman and Chainsaw Charlie), as well as Superstars on the current roster (Natalya, Tensai, Ryback, Drew McIntyre, Yoshi Tatsu, Layla, Damien Sandow, Antonio Cesaro, Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso). If that’s not enough, we’ll also be making available, for the first time, a collection of new Championship titles, as well as a pack of 20 new moves. There are even a few new attires sprinkled in for good measure. All in all, it’s a huge assortment of content.
Do you think the WWE experience will eventually come to the Wii U at some point? We know nothing's official but...
Bryan Williams: We have no news to share today.
Finally, anything you'd like to do for WWE 14? Maybe a Survivor Series recreation with classic teams...?
Bryan Williams: Oh, yeah! When it comes to this franchise, I’m never at a loss for new ideas. Unfortunately, I can’t give away those ideas just yet. I wouldn’t want to spoil any potential surprises.
Check out WWE 13 in stores this Tuesday!