Thursday, April 29, 2010

I Can't Talk About SvR '11 -- Here's Why (An Education)

What's up everyone? What did you think of the WWE Draft? Some exciting stuff there, particularly how it effects SvR '11 is what kept all of us at the office here interested. I did an interview with on Tuesday night, which you can listen to here.

I'm getting alot of questions about whether or not I can talk about SvR '11. The quick answer -- no. Why you ask? Every single game in this industry has timelines on when they talk about things. There's a strategic element to it, that people smarter than I have jobs for. We (THQ) are a public company, and there's an order to how things are done. Therefore, I can't even answer the smallest question about SvR '11 though -- it wouldn't be fair to the franchise. I know, I know "But wouldn't telling us stuff early lead to more excitement?" Sure, but that's not my call guys. The people who read this are the guys I'm trying to educate about PROCESS. This, is part of the process. Then there are the assumptions (remember -- never assume ;) ). "If you can't say anything, you're holding something back!" That's never how it is done. This is a BIG industry with ALOT of games in it. When we release information, is an idea that is thought about constantly.

Hope this sheds some light on things guys.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Getting Prepared for Japan

Been a few days since I updated, but that's because we're knee deep in work at the moment. Our Japan trip is coming up soon (May 10th), and builds keep coming in from Yukes for us to look over. I went to the Yukes LA office this week to check out a latest build, and was encouraged to see alot of changes this time around. It's quite a different experience than what I'm used to, working with a Japanese developer. I'm enjoying it thus far though, because the culture is so different, and the respect that Yukes has for us is flattering, but the feeling is mutual on our end too!

I'm getting excited to start talking about SvR '11 with all of you. I know there's a lot of skepticism, excitement, and general wonder about what will be included -- you'll just have to wait and see though.

My attention lately has shifted towards you guys, the community. What can you guys do to help us out more? Right now the community is pretty fragmented, does that make sense? You have a bunch of different sites talking SvR, but no acknowledgment of one another. In my opinion, it would be more helpful for us to get one clear message from you hardcore fans. The Gaming Rings, the IGN boards, OS,, and even Firepro's boards all have the same kinds of issues, but they're said in different ways. I'm wondering if maybe we could do some sort of weekly conference call with the "heads of the families," in a "Godfather"-like fashion, where we discuss the issues you guys are seeing on your sites. Also, maybe time booked at E3 would be good too so people could meet like-minded people face to face...

Just thoughts guys, tell me what you think...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Think Annually...

Happy Monday everyone! If you didn't watch last night's TNA Lockdown PPV, you missed an EPIC, MOTY candidate, showdown between Kurt Angle and Mr. Anderson. It's moments like these that make you appreciate watching legends in the now.

Anyway, I won't make this long, but I've been reading TONS of wish lists lately, and I must say thanks first of all for welcoming me into your communities. Now, as you write an idea down (or a complaint / demand ;) ), keep in mind that we make this game annually. This isn't a secret. Put SvR in the SAME realm as simulation sports games. Now that you've done that, does your wish list change? Do your complaints lessen? If not, let me know!

Friday, April 16, 2010


So I spent alot of time on message boards yesterday, and I noticed alot of negative things said about some of my team members at THQ. This should stop guys. You have every right to complain about things that you buy, but when it comes to personal insults, that's just not necessary. Here's a newsflash -- WE ALL WANT THE SAME THINGS YOU GUYS DO!

Some think they know what goes on, but unless you've been there, you have no idea... It's just a fact guys. BUT, I think that we can help with that moving forward. Bring you guys in on what's going on, get you involved in these conversations.

Now, enjoy the weekend everyone! Come back fresh, insult free, and ready to rock on Monday!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

YOU Tell ME...

I've heard it about 2741073980174380173498021783490 times -- "Why can't you just make SvR like No Mercy combined with HCTP?"

I, like all of you, loved the AKI wrestling games, but is "No Mercy," and "WrestleMania 2000" what you really want? Let's discuss...

I see constantly on boards that you guys want a simulation game, and then you turn around and say "I miss the AKI games." Well, I'm just going to say it...the AKI games weren't sim wrestling games. Were they an absolute blast to play? Absolutely. But were they sim? Nope.

I won't go into why I think so, but if you really take a step back and judge those games based on what you think is a true representation of the WWE, then I think you'll know right away that they weren't sim. I think we often blur the lines between fun and sim, and alot of good sports games are like that now (NHL, FIFA). Also, and it's natural, but everyone thinks of the "heyday" as the better time. I'm not starting a SvR vs AKI argument, I'm just saying that it's important for us to separate our feelings from our desires. We all feel that we loved the AKI games, but we all want a sim wrestling game as well.

If you want a sim wrestling game, then the AKI games are not it.

Now, I realize I opened myself up to this, so I'm fully prepared to be wrong with this. I'd love it if you guys could tell me exactly what you loved about the AKI games, and what you'd like to see implemented into the SvR series from what the AKI games did. If you're one of those "I want a sim wrestling game" guys, then tell me what you liked from the AKI games from that perspective. If you're one of those guys that doesn't say that, tell me generally what you liked from the AKI games.

I want to make one thing clear though, this does not mean that what you write down, we'll build because that's just not how things work. I'm always looking for ideas, and I'd be a fool not to tap into a community of passionate fans. But look at this blog as a sounding board to get your ideas and points across.

Here we go...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Back to Work and Ready to Kick the Flu's A**!

I'm back to work after a few days with the flu. It's still not completely gone, but I'll survive. While sick, I was thinking about what my workout schedule would be like once I got back. At EA, I worked out religiously because there was a gym in the office. There is NOT a gym at THQ (that needs to change), so instead, I'm going to get a membership at the OG of gyms -- Gold's Gym in Venice Beach. After I get started back up at the gym, I'm going to begin exploring pro wrestling training. One of the guys on the team trains in Anaheim with Disco Inferno, so I might try my hand at that. I'm not looking to do shows, but rather just get the experience training since I've always wanted to.

I really enjoyed both shows last night (WWE and TNA) for different reasons. I'll spare you guys why...

I'm currently at my desk fleshing out a high-level design for the FUTURE (said in sci-fi narrator voice)!!

I wanted to address something, and I couldn't have picked a better time...

I'm seeing alot of negativity towards SvR as of late on some of the various boards around the world wide web. I knew what I was getting into coming in, so I expected that. We have some extremely hardcore fans of this business, and more importantly, our game. I'd say this is a plus for us, BUT it's very important that your expectations are in check. We make a game annually, so while wishlists are important, start to think about what we've done in the past, and how realistic it is to get to something in the next installment. Once you're thinking on those terms, I think we'll see a lot more progress in the wishlists that are provided. My goal here is to teach everyone about the development process of their favorite game, and in turn, you'll become more educated (in a good way) so that our two way communication is productive for everyone! I won't ever speak for our entire team, but In my time with these guys, there's no doubt that they know what they're doing. With that said, here are a quick FYI's for all of you as we move forward:

1.) Never assume - This is one of the first things you learn in game development, and I thought it would be an ideal place for all of you as well. Never assume how things are done, unless we tell you, you don't know. It's not me standing on my soap box declaring it, it's just a fact. With that said, I'll always be honest with you, even if the answer you get isn't something you want to hear. Honesty never hurts anyone :)

2.) Constructive Criticism - I love to hear what all of you have to say about SvR, so for the sake of time (for both of us), if you have a complaint about the game, be precise in what you're talking about and offer up a solution on what you would do if you were in one of our shoes. Everyone can complain or praise, but it takes some effort to explain why.

3.) We're human - We don't sit in a death star with storm trooper helmets on, we're real people that enjoy doing this for a living. You would right? I personally read pretty much everything that's said about our game... if you've written it, I've probably seen it.

4.) Time is limited - A new game comes out every year, and I'm doing my day job. As I put myself out there, understand that I can't answer or talk with everyone. I'll do my best, but if I don't answer, don't take offense -- it's nothing personal at all! Also, please take note of what's previously been said before. If 10 people have already said that something is wrong, it's just a waste of time to read about the 11th person saying it. In the end, it benefits all of you to know what's been said already.

That's it for now, but I'll add more when I think of any. I hope this doesn't come off as snobby or cocky. I love interacting with all of you -- it's my background, and I believe that it is necessary in order to have a game that satisfies everyone.

If you have any questions at anytime, please feel free to Tweet me, or PM me on the message board you go to. My name on messageboards is always "stephensonmc"

Monday, April 12, 2010

Day 2 of the Flu...

Three days in our new place, and I have the flu...

A couple of the guys on our SvR team invited me to the PWG show on Saturday (Pro Wrestling Guerilla), but I didn't feel so hot. It's a shame because I really wanted to go...

RAW and Impact tonight. I anticipate Mondays so much, because the show's happenings serve as our team's discussion topics for the rest of the week. It makes you feel pretty lucky to work on a passion of yours.

I've really been enjoying NXT lately. I think I just love seeing the new blood out there. Which reminds me, I'm JUST asking, but how would YOU implement NXT into SvR? I know a "career mode" is the obvious thought, but how would you go outside of the box with it? Please don't jump to conclusions, I just wanted to ask...

What's your NXT rookie order? Mine:

1.) Bryan
2.) Heath Slater
3.) Gabriel
4.) Wade Barrett
5.) David Otunga
6.) Skip Sheffield
7.) Darren Young
8.) Tarver

I'm seeing alot of wishlists in the various communities across internet land -- keep them coming. If I can't answer something guys, please don't take offense. I'm here to have discussions with you guys, but for obvious reasons, there's really no way I can answer everything.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

"Hart and Soul"

Have any of you seen this yet? I've been meaning to pick it up, and add it to THQ's WWE video library of goodness!

Let me know what you guys think of this!

Long Time, I Know!

I know it's been far too long since I've posted here, so let me take you through the last three weeks of my life...

THQ has been fantastic so far. My first day was about three weeks ago, and the team has accepted me with open arms. They're really passionate about what they do, and are complete wrestling fanatics (which should really make alot of you feel good)!

The first couple of days at the office were like run together for me. There was the getting to and from, which equals traffic, and to avoid it, I found myself leaving at around 7 AM every day, and leaving at 6:30 -- which made the driving pretty tolerable.

I've been thrown right into it at THQ -- and I'm also trying to impact other parts of the company as well, in particular, their community efforts. As most of you know, THQ has a co-developer, Yukes working on the SvR franchise. Working with them has been quite a learning experience, but a welcome one. I love the respect the Japanese developer shows, and their knowledge and passion for a 10+ year franchise is pretty clear.

My wife and I are LOVING the food here. We're vegetarians, and LA really offers us alot of options. Abbots pizza, Mao's Chinese Kitchen, Seed, and the traditional Chipotle have been recent stops for us.

We also found a place, and are now living in Venice, CA which is our type of neighborhood. We really dig the laid back vibe here.

The cable company came, and hooked up our TV -- FINALLY I get my TV again, which I've missed since we've been in temporary housing. I was disappointed that our new place didn't allow DirecTV, because I really wanted the NFL Sunday Ticket so I could watch my Dallas Cowboys. Instead, I have the MLB Extra Innings package, and have my first DVR -- what an experience.

I'm finding myself really getting in to the Dodgers here. I'm a huge baseball fan, and I don't feel like I'm cheating on my Indians since the Dodgers are a NL team.

What do you guys thing of wrestling on the tube so far? I loved the way HBK retired, and will remember it forever. I'm glad NXT is getting around to telling us, the viewers, how the competition plays out, and Smackdown continues to have excellent matches! TNA had a great ladder match last week between Angle and Anderson, and Orlando Jordan has been one of the most confusing characters I've ever seen in wrestling.

I can't comment too much on the game at this point, but we're taking a trip to Japan in May to spend some quality time with Yukes. This will be my first trip out off of the continent, but my wife is going with me, so it makes me feel good about it.

Are any of you going to E3? I keep forgetting it's in my backyard now, so I hope to see alot of you there -- we have some good stuff to show!

Anyway, I'll be posting more often, because we got a brand new laptop -- our first Mac!

Thanks for the patience, and you should see me on the different boards very soon!