Monday, September 27, 2010

Our Relationship with Yuke's

I hope your weekend was well. I spent the weekend with visiting friends. We hung out in Venice, and then went to Anaheim to see the Angels play the White Sox. PLUS my Cowboys won, so I'm having a great Monday.

I wanted to give you guys a little information about Yuke's, our external developer. It's an interesting dynamic, and one that I wasn't used to at EA SPORTS.

As a development team, you have your Producers / Designers and Engineers. Producers / Designers come up with the vision for the game, and the Engineers physically build the game. (they understand code).

Since our developer, Yuke's, is external (and Japanese nonetheless), we have a MUCH different process. We, the production team are here at THQ. We come up with the vision for the game. We paint the picture for our engineers. So for the case of this blog, let's use WWE Universe, specifically cashing in the MITB briefcase in Universe mode as an example.

THQ: I would like to let the user in WWE Universe cash in the MITB briefcase if they won the MITB match at WrestleMania.


Yuke's: (Japanese)


Yuke's (Translated): Ok, that seems doable. Submit your design.

THQ: (Super detailed design from the colors and buttons in the menu you see, to the cutscene direction) We would like to have a cutscene for when the user chooses to cash in their MITB briefcase. Here is the design document.

TRANSLATION (Full design document is translated)

Yuke's: (Japanese)


Yuke's (Translated): Ok, this feature will take 14 days (14 engineering days if ONE engineer were working on this) to make because of new animations and art

That's a hint into our process, guys. It's designing through translation. It's a very rewarding experience, but it's also requires an insane attention to detail.

Now, I'm going to leave you with this thought:

Think about this process for EVERYTHING you see in the game. Consider how much time we have to make a game every year, and now how does this sound?

On most dev teams, we can't get to everything -- but in this case, we definitely can't get to everything.

Working with Yuke's is absolutely fantastic -- they are such hard workers. And I'm grateful to have this experience for my career. I just wanted you to get a little insight.

Not excuses, just facts.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Happy Weekend!

I heard the GamingRing GR8 podcast went very well last night. What did you think of it? I should be on next Thursday, and will have the game in front of me to answer some detailed questions.

I'm seeing the great impressions for the WWE Universe video we released yesterday. I really can't say enough about that mode -- it's a beauty!

This will be a pretty short blog today, but I did want to touch on something...

On Twitter, a guy tweeted that we had "piss poor marketing" this year. I'm a human being, and got offended and fired back at him. He then posted this response on his pretty awesome pro-wrestling site. Now, I didn't say exactly what he said in that podcast, but I understood that I rubbed him the wrong way. For that, I apologize not only to you but to everyone who clicked on that podcast and heard it.

I was so upset about it, that I offered to talk to the gentlemen right then on the phone. A few minutes later, I was having a real conversation with a very passionate fan of our game. It was a great conversation. It was much easier to convey my thoughts on the phone versus the 56 (exaggeration) characters I get on Twitter. He seemed pleased by my responses to his questions, and we ended on the right foot.

I guess the moral of the story is that I'll always be honest with you guys. Although I'll most certainly make mistakes, I'll always own up to them. I maintain that I'll talk to you the exact same way that you talk to me. I'm not trying to "sell" anything to you guys, and just want your help in making this game. Why would I just sit at my desk and try to think of all the ideas, if there are already thousands out there by you guys? That's my approach with the community engagement.

Anyway, do have a great weekend. Be safe, and enjoy yourselves!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Anything Can Happen in WWE Universe!

So I think we're releasing a video featuring Dan Ryan and WWE Universe later today. And if I were a betting man, I'd say you could probably find it on

WWE Universe is my favorite mode in the game this year. I was playing it all day yesterday, and while I was Sheamus vs Evan Bourne, The Miz came down to ringside and did commentary. I was skeptical, because I didn't know what was going to happen but sure enough, The Miz helped me get the win against an out of his mind Bourne. After the match, The Miz came in to celebrate with me and a new alliance was formed.

Just by chance, I played the next week on RAW and it was Sheamus and The Miz vs the Hart Dynasty. Guess who came and interfered? Yep, Bourne.

That's just a taste of what you're going to get in WWE Universe this year. Just when you think you know what's going to happen, the AI changes completely and tosses you into a storyline that you didn't expect to get into. The world revolves around the choices you make, and if you don't make any choices, that world smacks you upside the head and turns around on you. Let me know what you think of the video, everyone -- I'm really excited to see your reactions.

I saw alot of comments in my blog yesterday about not letting guys get to me. No worries guys, I've been around for quite sometime and understand how it works. When I respond to what you guys might say is "negativity," I'm just responding to it. I don't let it phase me, I'm just sending it right back to everyone because the facts are that you don't know what you're talking about. That's not a slight at all, it's just a fact. You aren't here to see what goes on, therefore you have no idea. And like I've said since I got here, my goal is to GET you guys to know what you're talking about, then we'll have very productive conversations. I see I've failed at that thus far, but we have some things planned with our fellow Community Leaders to help start the process of getting everyone informed on what we're doing, and how we do it.

But egos need to be dropped. I'm here to make the best wrestling game in the world, and I won't stop until it's done. We need your help, and we would be stupid not to ask for your help. So please take advantage of this -- we'll really appreciate it.

Enjoy today's video, everyone.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


So I've seen a few threads, and tweets on my page, that we aren't doing a good job of releasing information this year.



I'm starting to wonder about you guys, really wonder...

Here are the beats of information releases so far this year:

- SummerSlam (released a TON of information)
- Multiple podcasts
- Gameplay Video
- Roster Reveal (both on Gamespot, and our website every week)
- Community Event

We have the best roster section in the history of video games (on our website), and members from THQ have been out talking with all of you.

So Really?

If you haven't done your research on all of the information that we've released so far, that's your go do some research. Because if you truly feel this way, you're not only wrong, but you haven't done your homework.

I had my first "next year" meeting with Yuke's last night. For those of you who don't know, Yuke's is our external Japanese developer for the SvR franchise. The meeting went well, and we went over what we can do to strengthen online for the future. I'll pose that question to you. What do YOU all want to see with online next year?

I'm hearing that we MAY be doing something during the weekend of WWE "Hell in a Cell" PPV. Could we possibly go over Online, RtWM, and Story Designer there? It seems like it's a possibility -- stay tuned.

I DO know that a WWE Universe video should hit the world wide web tomorrow. Dan Ryan at his very best!

My wife and I are getting visitors today. Some of our friends from Vancouver are going to stay with us, and one of them is a good friend of mine who is a Producer on NBA Elite 11. He designed the "Become Legendary" mode for the game. I think it's going to be a pretty fun weekend.

I'll be on the GR8 podcast tomorrow night. I've seen the agenda for tomorrow night's show, and I can't wait. Just know that "community" isn't a one way street. And it's not all about you guys getting information. I told you I was going to teach you the development process of our game, so that you would better understand what we're up against every year, and make educated suggestions to us. If this is not something you want to do, and only want information out of me, that's fine. Just don't complain to me, because there are some who are invested in this community, and want to see it flourish.

I hope you guys are getting amped up for SvR '11, I can't believe it's just around the corner. And I've said it about 1,000 times already, but I'll do it again.


That was meant as a newspaper headline. I'm not "shouting."

Cena joining NEXUS? Oh, the possibilities!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Night of Confusion?

So what's with Jericho? Is he gone, or is he staying? Very weird how the WWE played that one out. I have a feeling we'll see him back soon, though. And speaking of awkward, Kane beating The Undertaker? I hope Kane has Undertaker's urn, and that Paul Bearer is involved in some way. What did you guys think of "Night of Champions?"

I got to play a ton of SvR '11 over the weekend, and I had a lot of fun! (sorry for the tease)

What did you guys think of the full match gameplay video? I've seen some comments like; "If Legend difficulty is so hard, why was Bryan able to beat the CPU?" Really guys, really? You do know this is a game, and that the better you are, the easier the game is, right?

Do you say that when you play Madden on "All-Madden?" Or NBA 2K on "Superstar?" Not a sports fan? Ok, how about GTA on "Hard?" The point I'm making is that there are "experts" at every game, and I'm glad we have one working on our gameplay. Think you're great? Say that when the game comes out. Play on "Legend" difficulty with reversal indicators set to "off."

I had a great time on the podcast on Friday. I love doing that stuff, and hope that you guys aren't just looking for info and would like to dig deeper into the development process of the game. I was happy to speak so candidly on the show, and I think Mike, Brad, Matt, and Seiryuga for their questions.

Pretty short blog this week, but I'm having a conference call tomorrow with Yuke's, and I'll let you know how that goes. We're already ramping up to that game we can't say is coming out, but you all know is coming out.

Friday, September 17, 2010

*UPDATE* To "Lesson for Next Year = Focus on Divas"

Hey everyone, some things are being blown out of proportion. I said that we should give Divas more of a focus next year. For example: 6-women Divas matches, etc.. I did not say that next year would be 100% Divas, or we would just focus on Divas. C'mon... you guys know we have a team working on this game, and that we all work on different parts of the game (old or new).

Lesson for Next Year = Focus on Divas

Hey everyone, I know the information that's coming out from all of the different outlets is extremely difficult to decipher, and I apologize for that. The thing with me is that when I came here, it was pretty (actually very)late in the process. I was overseeing a mode of the game this year, but it was pretty complete by the time I got on board. Because of that, I didn't design the game during it's inception and I wasn't able to follow along with all of the mode's progress to get a 100% great feel for everything that is in our game this year. THIS is the single biggest reason why it is hard for me to answer the really detailed stuff, and why I often second-guess myself. Because the game doesn't feel like second-nature to me.

I'm very much excited to be on's GR8 podcast tonight. I'll have the game right in front of me, so as long as you can wait while I'm searching, be prepared to get a lot of your questions answered.

Divas...what can I say? You guys clearly want our game to have a bigger Divas influence. I've expressed this to our team, and we'll see where it comes out in the future. Thanks for your interest in this subject matter, that's what the power of community can do for the development process of a game. You guys shouted from the rooftops about Divas, so it's going to force us to take a look and see what we can do.

It's a bit concerning me that some of you think I'm just a mouthpiece for THQ. Now, I've been around the block and know the tactics that are used to bait people, but c'mon -- it's getting a bit ridiculous. If I haven't proven to you that I'm doing this off my own time, then you'll never learn and it's a waste of my time to talk to you personally because you'll believe anything you want yourself to believe.

I hope everyone has a great weekend -- and enjoy the podcast tonight!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"No Comment..."

I really enjoyed being on the podcast last night. For those of you who missed it, you can listen to it here.

I must say, I often found myself distracted during the podcast because I was always looking at the live chat that hosted during the show. I kept losing my train of thought because of it. Next time, I won't look at the chat :)

I felt pretty awful last night because I know you guys want a ton of new info, and I couldn't say anything. Let me just clear up why...

We, as designers, are responsible for one thing only -- designing the game. What I'm doing now, and last night (podcast) is not in my job description. I choose to do it because I love it, and believe that it will only lead to good things (the game we all want). Now, I know that by me putting myself out there to you, I'm expected to know everything. I truly apologize that I don't, and constantly have to double-check. The thing is, I'm fairly certain of things when I'm asked, but because I know that news spreads like wildfire with this game, I second-guess everything that I say. Please be patient with me. We will release every detail that you guys want to know, but it will take time.

We have a PR department. If you guys don't know what that is, they come up with our messaging to the press, and our "reveal strategy" for the game. We, as a company, MUST follow this timeline. So when I say "no comment," it's because I'm not saying no, or yes...I'm saying that you'll find out soon. I'm not here to piss you guys off, if I am, let me know.

In order for me to do this, it HAS to be a two way street. I will not talk at you, and I expect you guys not to talk AT me. If we all have the same goal in mind (to make the best wrestling game), then the discussions can continue. I know you want information, but frankly, tough -- you'll get it soon, and honestly, we're just talking a matter of days here so be patient please.

Gone are the days of no one from THQ talking with you guys. We don't have to do it, but we are and I'm loving it. When we say "no comment" take that as your answer and wait...we're not doing "PR speak," we're not "brushing your question aside," we're just doing our job. I really don't know how to say this any other way -- if you still can't understand, then oh well I guess.

I'm on the GR8 podcast this week, and we have more Superstars to reveal on our website (this week). I hope you guys are liking what you're seeing, and thanks for all of the "little detail" suggestions yesterday. I know it's become a cliche when I say "I'll write it down," and I did "write them down." Would you rather I didn't write anything down? ;)

The sooner you guys realize that we're making a game every year and things fall off because of time or budget (which are the ONLY two reasons things get cut), the better the communication will be for everyone who is interested in helping us make great wrestling games.

*steps off soap box*

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's the Little Things...

I was watching RAW last night (btw, it was a great show IMO), and I'm not saying that I never notice these details, but they were glaringly apparent to me for some reason. I think it's because of our game, and our constant desire to mimic TV. The little details are what makes a game GREAT, not good. I know for WWE SmackDown vs RAW 2011, we got alot of these little details in (WWEHD logo, WWEHD logo on barriers, minitrons, etc.), but not everything.

I want our game to be considered one that has uncanny attention to detail. MLB: The Show, and the NBA 2K series do this very well. Their ability to put the little details into their games just makes the overall experience better, and most of the time we take it for granted.

So my question to you guys, is what are the "little things" that we need to focus on? I know the entrance attires, but there are budgetary reasons for that. I know we need ALL trons, not just minitrons. And I know our movesets need some love. But what else? I'm making sure that we don't miss some of this stuff, and I've been writing up a list ever since I started taking questions on Twitter and our official message boards.

I'm going to a sweet independent video game store to pick up my all-time favorite wrestling game: WWF Royal Rumble for the Sega Genesis. They're also going to sell me WWF RAW, so that will be cool. Are you any of you buying HALO: Reach today? If you guys get it, I may pick it up to play online with all of you, just let me know.

Yesterday's post mentioned that we need your critiques of SvR '11 when it comes out. I saw some posts asking who they need to give these to so that they get in front of our team. The answer? Community Leaders.

If you didn't know, we have Community Leaders for our WWE games. If you are a member of a website, their administrator is usually our Community Leader for you. Get those wishlists, and talking points to them so that they can collect it and send it off to us. Make sense? If you still have questions, then contact our Community Manager THQ_TANK who is on our message boards, and he'll point you in the right direction.

That's all for today guys -- Up next:

- Podcast tonight
- GamingRing GR8 Podcast on Thursday
- More roster reveal on our official website

Take care.

Monday, September 13, 2010

We Want YOU to Get Involved

I hope your weekend went well, it was a fantastic Saturday for me (Buckeyes won), but a very sad end to Sunday night (Cowboys lost). Oh well, I'm at least glad that football season is back.

How are you enjoying Friday Night SmackDown as of late? I just love Alberto Del Rio, and wish he were in our game this year. For him alone, I can't WAIT until next year...."but you already knew that."

I'm not quite sure what to think of NXT Season 3 yet. I think Kaitlyn is great though ;)

Now, to the main reason for today's blog. We are already starting on that game I can't talk about, but you know is coming out around this time next year. With that said, the MINUTE you get WWE SmackDown vs RAW 2011, start beginning to look at the game with a very critical eye. Once you've done that, please get all of your likes, concerns, questions, and suggestions into us ASAP so that we can take action for that game you know is all coming out, but I can't talk about. We really want all of you actively involved, and that is the main reason why I have taken an active role in the community speaking to all of you.

I want what you want, but it is up to you guys to tell us what you want. I promise it will not fall on deaf ears, and as long as you understand what we go through on a year to year basis, then I think expectations will be in check and we'll make a fantastic game. Make sense? I hope so.

Now that the main subject for this blog is out of the way, I wanted to send a thank you to Ringside Collectibles for their excellent work in carrying the tradition of Pro Wrestling figures. I was / am still a huge collector, and am currently obsessed with my Mattel Legends Series 2 "Ravishing" Rick Rude figure.

That's all for today, but I've been reading all of the boards (and comments on my blog). My Twitter account is blowing up with questions, so I'm really doing my best -- please be patient if I can't answer you.

Tuesday, I'll be on the podcast (I actually will this time). I apologize for the frantic work schedule last week, and it was my fault that I wasn't on theirs and the GamingRing podcast. I'll be on both this week, thanks again for your patience.

Enjoy RAW tonight.

Friday, September 10, 2010

More Roster Talk? Nope

1.) I can't discuss when things will be released. I'm a Producer / Designer, not PR or Marketing. That is there job to make these communication roll outs, I won't disturb that. (Educating you on this industry)

2.) More along the lines of the first point, but I can't tell you who will be revealed on our official website, because that would be ME revealing it, and not our website...

3.) This is the most up to date roster we've ever had, think I'm wrong? Please tell me...

4.) My Twitter account is being flooded with the same questions over and over again. I've been repeating myself for about a week now with similar questions asked in different ways. I don't mind doing it at all, I love talking with all of you -- but now I actually have to get back to work, and I won't be able to repeat myself all of the time. Please don't take offense if I don't answer you, and just do a little research on your question, and I'm sure you'll find the answer.

The main reason why I bring all of these points up, is to remind you that we build a game every single year. We plan DLC for the game, but at some point, the reality of the situation is that we have to stop. Every annual title in this industry has the same problems that we do. But we welcome them, because there is a huge appetite for our title being released every year.

If something isn't in this year, or next year, don't lose hope -- voice your concerns collectively and we'll hear you. I leave that (the collective voice) up to your fellow Community Leaders who were present at the first Community Event during SummerSlam weekend. We truly want everything that you do, please trust us in that. This is all part of the relationship that our team is now trying to build with each and every one of you. We hear your concerns, and will do our best (under the circumstances) to meet those wants.

At the end of the day, it's your 60 dollars and I will never tell you, or recommend how you spend it. I just ask that you take a look at our offering this year, and if it satisfies you, awesome. If it doesn't, help us in creating the game that you want.

I hope this stuff makes sense. You guys are all awesome, and easily the most passionate community that I've ever dealt with -- and this will only help us!

Have a great weekend everyone, I'll see you guys back here on Monday!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Concerning the Roster...

I would first like to thank all of you for making our WWE SmackDown vs RAW 2011 Roster Reveal event, a true web EVENT! The hype felt like it was at an all-time high, and in my opinion, the roster didn't disappoint. Why is that, you ask? Well, if the worst thing that you guys could say about our roster was that we didn't have Superstars who were released by the WWE in it, then I would see we are off to one heck of a start!

Now, a few things:

1.) Nexus - Did you think that the Superstars in Season 1 would form a rebel group, and become the biggest thing in Sports Entertainment in the past 5 years? No, and neither did we - that's what made it WORK.

2.) Released WWE Superstars - We did not announce these guys at the Roster Reveal, because they weren't a part of the WWE anymore. We do have some of the Superstars, so please stay tuned via our official website for more information.

3.) Batista - he's in the game, and he has his "spotlight entrance."

4.) Tiffany - she's in the game, but as a non-playable character

5.) Assumptions - It is totally our fault for not communicating to you guys that we had more Superstars to reveal at a later date. I apologize for that, because I did not know until that day. But please don't assume that "your guy" is not on our roster until we reveal everyone. There is no reason at all to see the threads: "THQ Failed again," or "Roster Sucks." That's pretty premature, and I can assure you that our roster is one of the most up to date we've ever had.

6.) Shad's Alternate Attire (ACTUAL ATTIRE) - I constantly hear from you guys, that you want our game to be as up to date as possible. So JTG and SHAD split, and SHAD comes out with his new white attire. We've already created Shad, we didn't know they were going to split, so instead of keeping him in his CT attire, we make him in his whites. Obviously this was past our deadline, and that's why we decided to put him in DLC. I see some people say that other superstars should get alternate attire before SHAD. I would completely agree if Shad were up to date to begin with, but he wasn't.

Now that the Roster Reveal talk is over, I wanted to let you guys know that I'll be on the podcast later tonight, and then tomorrow -- on the GR8 podcast. I'll try to have the game pulled up, so I can answer questions in much greater detail.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages. THQ and Gamespot, proudly bring to you, the WWE SmackDown vs RAW 2011 ROSTER REVEAL!

I do miss the New Age Outlaws...

Is it wrong that I'm more excited for the roster reveal, because I know that I won't get asked "when is the roster reveal?" anymore? Anyway, Gamespot is going to webstream the event LIVE at around 3-3:30 PST. Don't miss it guys, you're in for a treat :)

I have some work to do today for that game I can't talk about, but everyone knows is coming out at around this time next year. It's more of a brainstorming task, but that's usually when I can get really creative about things.

I'm just reminding you guys, because I'm seeing it on the boards a lot lately, never assume anything is "easy" to put in the game. There's a TON of legacy code (old code) in the game that we replace with new stuff (new engine), and it's a very slow process, so that we don't make mistakes. In the business of annual titles, you can't afford mistakes, or more importantly, time wasted in the production cycle.

After we all finish our creative briefs for what we want in that game I can't talk about, I think a Japan trip will be happening -- looking forward to going again.

What did you guys think of the NXT Season 3 premier last night? I thought it was very interesting to see programming centered around Divas. I must admit though, if I did not work on a wrestling game, I don't know how long it would hold my interest after the first installment. I'll keep watching though, but I really did Kaitlyn for some reason...

Quick one today, guys, but the real news is coming today at 3/3:30 PST. Lots to talk about in tomorrow's blog!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Work Week Should Start on Tuesday

You know that feeling you get when you walk into work on Monday? When was the last time that you actually felt GOOD about being at work on a Monday (no matter where it is)? I'll bet though, that you feel great when you have had a Monday off, and your work week starts on Tuesday. I love vacation as much as the next person, but at the end of the day I like to keep busy as well. Three to four days off is just fine for me, and I'm up and perfectly happy to be where I'm at (THQ) this morning. All because of one day.

I'm looking forward to this week. Tomorrow, you will all finally see our SvR '11 roster reveal. We have some big surprises for you, and throughout the webcast I know you will all be thinking; "What could possibly happen NXT?"

I'm going out with my wife and a few friends for dinner tomorrow night. The special guest of the evening though, will be none other than Austin Aries from ROH. One of my friends is best friends with Austin, and is going to bring him along -- should be a dope time.

Over the past weekend, I've seen a lot of people disappointed with some of the answers that Jon Durr, and myself have been giving. They are small details, but I agree, and welcome the disappointment. We want all of this too, and it's important that the community collectively voices their opinions on the subjects they see as detrimental to the game, so that we have all the backup we need to enforce change. I believe what separates good games from great games is the small details (See MLB 10: The Show). We'll get there guys, it just takes time.

Thanks for the replies to the HCTP post, and the answers to the thread on the official SvR boards. I agree that the move sets were untouchable, and that we need to get back to that level of authenticity.

I just got asked to do the podcast this Thursday, so that makes it two back to back podcasts on consecutive days. I'll of course be doing the GR8 podcast on Friday.

Sorry for the lack of news in today's blog entry, but I imagine we'll have plenty to talk about soon ;)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Quick Update (And then I'm Out!)

If you're looking for a good read, make sure you pick up "Rumble Road." It was written by Jon Robinson, of videogames fame (and former IGN Sports Editor). It has a great flow to it, and it will take you no time at all to get through. It is one of the few WWE books where all you see is the "other side."

Interesting story about Jon. Before I got into this industry, I was a sophomore in college, and was a big Madden fan. I would read every day, and saw Jon's articles in the sports section. At that time, I was a journalism major, and thought that a job in video game journalism would be pretty sweet. I sent Jon a message out of the blue off one of those "contact us" e-mail links. I asked, immaturely I might add, how you get into this kind of work (among other things)? Jon was gracious enough to not only e-mail me, but ask me to call him.

I remember every word of that conversation. I was nervous, because I had just put myself out there, and I had no idea what he was going to say to me. He had some great advice, and I haven't forgotten it to this day (that's for me to know). The point is, this is a small world, and an even smaller industry. It was awesome to see Jon at our SummerSlam press event, both of us knowing the conversation we had some 8 - 9 years ago. If you're reading this, THANKS JON!

I had a great time on the GR8 Podcast last night. Next week I hope to have the game pulled up, and can answer some of the more detailed questions. Thanks to all of you for being so interested in our game this year -- we hope to do you proud this year, and for years to come!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Here Comes the Pain (For Me)

Hi everyone,

Yesterday I was having a conversation with fellow designer Dan Ryan, and the subject of HCTP came up. I remember buying HCTP, but IMO (don't judge me), I couldn't really remember what separated it from other past SvR games. He was working in QA (tester) at the time and remembers testing it. I told him that I would pose the question to you guys here. I have my own opinions of HCTP (and will keep them to myself), but I want to know what YOU loved about it so much. Now, remove the nostalgia you had for the game, and if you would like to, please compare SvR '10 to HCTP in all areas.

This is just my opportunity to talk to you directly about HCTP, when I see it name-dropped at every forum on the planet.

I have the UncleGamer radio show to record today, and then I think I'm headed to GamingRing to be on their podcast as well. I love doing that stuff, I hope you appreciate the SvR "informed" community efforts with stuff like this.

September 8th is upon us -- are you ready? I can't wait for it, but mostly because I'm tired of repeating "Sept. 8th" to people asking about the roster. I want to tell you guys!

What are you guys up to this Labor Day weekend? It's my 6 year wedding anniversary, so my wife and I will be going out to dinner, and enjoying Venice Beach. I'm very proud of my wife. She is a poet , and she writes one every single day. That's quite an accomplishment. She has written 500+ poems now. I can't even count to 500 without getting bored... A CA Winery called her yesterday, and asked to put her poem up at their building because it was titled "Cork," and a wine Facebook group found it and loved it. Crazy what the internet can do for you....

I'll be watching the TNA PPV as well this Sunday, looking forward to it. I'm truly loving my life right now. I'm talking to all of you, designing (for that game you all know is coming out next year, but I can't say it's coming out yet, but it has a 1 and a 2 in the title), and enjoying where we live.

I'm having a blast on our official forums, and I'm trying to answer as many questions as I can. Please understand that I cannot do this at every hour, of every day. I do have to work on my core job (designing).

I saw this question in a forum yesterday, and I'll ask you as well. "Who is your favorite WWE wrestler of all time?" I want to know who your top 5 are, though -- here's mine:

1.) Hulk Hogan
2.) HBK
3.) Mr. Perfect
4.) The Rock
5.) Rick Rude

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Clarifications and Misunderstandings...

The days are going by like a blur, and I can't seem to figure out what day it is most of the time. Is it bad to coordinate your days around wrestling and TV shows? For example, I know today is Thursday because Jersey Shore is on. I guess anyway you can keep a personal calendar in your head, it's a good thing.

I had a pretty late night yesterday finishing up a "Creative Brief" for an exciting feature in "that game you all know is coming out with a 1 and a 2 in the title, but we can't announce yet." For those who don't understand what a creative brief is, it is a high-level design. At the beginning of a production cycle, designers start with a creative brief of a feature they would like to put in the game, in order to get estimates from the engineering team (the guys who physically CODE the game). Estimates are how many "days" a feature will take them to complete. This is a very difficult process because you usually start from a "pie in the sky" feature, and it gets scaled down more and more because of time, money, and capacity.

As if that isn't bad enough for a designer, we sometimes tend to get attached to what we're doing, and it is usually very difficult to let go of things you think are necessary for the feature, but in reality, you could actually live without. Designers suffer from having "blinders" on most of the time. Regardless, this is the MOST exciting time for me because I get to use all of my creative energy in putting together something from scratch.

Jon Durr (fellow SvR designer) had his first day on the official SvR message boards yesterday. I think he did an excellent job, as he's been extremely eager to talk to the fans this entire year. I'm grateful for getting to work for a company that lets us be us.

I made a mistake yesterday. I'm getting about 3274903217490371098 questions a minute about the game (keep them coming), but a lot of them are the same questions, asked in completely different ways. I do get confused sometimes, and I did yesterday. I was asked if WWE Universe had co-op. To me, "co-op" is an online feature, and "multiplayer" is a home console feature. I misunderstood, and said "nope." This caused a little bit of an uproar in the community, because they all thought that you couldn't play with more than one player, on the same console, in WWE Universe. Rest assured, you can, there just isn't an online co-op for WWE Universe. Again, apologies for the mistake.

I'm now getting a lot of very detailed questions. I'm not having to pull up the game and check to make sure things are in / not in, so it may take a big longer to get to your questions than previously. Just feel free to keep reminding me, I won't mind. Please know that I may mess up again, so I apologize in advance for that.

Let me clarify my statement about "Legend" difficulty with reversal indicators off. This year, the A.I. does attack you. I was playing a match against Big Show the other day, and he had me on the ground, taunted, picked me up for a choke slam, different taunt, and as I got up (he decided to wait -- which I thought was cool), he knocked me out (finishing punch), and my jaw dropped. Big Show worked me, and I couldn't do anything about it. Reversals do happen at a much more frequent rate than they would on lower difficulties, but it is extremely important to vary your tactics. If you have a grounded superstar, don't go to the top rope all of the time. Stay grounded, and vary your strikes and grapples, using the corners, irish whips, and out of the ring to your advantage. If you spam the strike buttons, they'll reverse you after a while. If you are repeatedly using ground grapples (submissions), and the same grapples over again, they'll start to get what you're doing, and reverse you.

I repeat, the A.I. is very aggressive, and you have to adapt to what they're doing to you this year. But reversals are a big part of it, so make sure you're capitalizing on this, and the match will really flow in a realistic way. This is a way to make our game competitive (combined with aggressive A.I.). Obviously, we know that a real-life match is predetermined, so you see key spots (moves), 3 minute beatdown, reverse, three minute beatdown in a given match. Would that make sense for a video game? In my opinion, I don't think so. We don't know the outcome of a match, and if you're expecting to win all of the time, play on easy. With that said, if you want to beat your opponent down mercifully for 3 minutes, than you should expect to get the same punishment from the A.I. Would that be much fun? I personally don't think so.

I'll be on the UncleGamer Radio show tomorrow (recording I think), so make sure to check that one out. I thank all of you for your continued support in what we're doing. This time YOU are making an actual difference, and I hope you all start to realize that this is a journey, not a one year thing. That's what the annual title business is all about. Hope on board guys!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy...

Hey everyone,

Life has been pretty busy for me over the past few weeks. But it has been the "good" busy. After our post-SummerSlam hangover, we're starting to shift our creative attention to that game that everyone knows is coming, but we can't announce. We were looking at things we could do online yesterday, and WWE Universe came up. So my question is to you guys, what would you want out of online and WWE Universe (as you know it so far)?

My first day on our official message boards was pretty good, but it does frustrate me to repeat the same answer about our roster questions over and over again. I do get the excitement (I was one of you), but please do a little research before you ask, because I don't want to:

1.) Be a prick and not answer
2.) Risk other questions not being answered for repeating an answer to a previous question

I'm really excited, because Jon Durr (another one of our designers) will be coming on to the official SvR boards very soon, and will help share the questions load.

Now, to end with a pet peeve of mine. I promise that I won't sound so negative in all of my blog posts in the future. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, don't try and bait me. What is a bait you ask? Well, here's an example:

"Is blah blah blah in the game? Did you actually listen to the fans this year and put blah blah blah in the game? If not, you guys just want to make money, and don't care about us." (I'm fuming just writing this -- haha)

That my friends, is a "bait." Just a little fyi, it won't work. I've been around the block, and know every trick in the book. Here's the result of what will happen if you try and bait me:

1.) Will first call you out on it
2.) Will then not respond

I said that I'll always answer you honestly, but please don't give me an ultimatum -- if I didn't care about the fans, I wouldn't be here -- end of story. It isn't in our job description to post on Twitter, write your own blog, or post on message boards. We're designers / producers, and that's what we get paid to do. I truly believe that communicating with all of you helps US make a better game -- don't prove me wrong, please.

I lied....

I said I would end with that last comment, but I'm actually going to end with some common misconceptions:

1.) "You guys are all money grubbing evil empire people" -- Actually, if we were in it for the money, we wouldn't be very happy. I don't drive a porsche, I drive a Volkswagen Jetta (nice life, I know)

2.) "You guys do things just to spite us" -- No, we have timelines, and make an annual title. If we could get everything you want in the game, we would certainly do that. We make the game for YOU.

3.) "Cory Ledesma is a monster" -- Cory has a very tough job, and has to call the shots -- everyone who does this is commonly looked at as a "monster," but if you were in his position, you would have to make tough calls too.

4.) "SvR is the same game every year" -- That's laughable. Please go back and play the games, and you'll see that's not the case.

You guys are all great, and we couldn't do it without you! I'm really excited about SvR '11, and can't wait for the future with all of YOU on board helping make our games that much more special.