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


  1. What made HCTP so awesome?

    - Great story mode (voiceovers aren't needed)
    - Great roster (Goldberg, Lesnar, Ultimo Dragon, etc.)
    - TONS of unique moves and move sets (seriously, go and take a look at Rock's front grapple set -- nearly EVERY move was created for him with his mannerisms)

    The move set thing is particularly annoying for me. Million Dollar Man went from playing exactly like himself in HCTP to having John Morrison's backbreaker-to-neckbreaker in SvR10.

  2. Congratulations on the marriage. :)

    For me, HCTP was so memorable for the sheer breadth of things it covered.

    -Create-A-Wrestler with the layer system and AI Logic
    -Wide moveset list
    -Little things like Win Poses and choosing to either taunt, respect, or attack your opponent post-match
    -The famous Season mode
    -Linked backstages (including such absurd things as fighting outside the arena and in a Times Square mock-up!)
    -Triple threat Tags (with Hardcore and Ladder match variants)
    -Perhaps not a big deal for others, but it is for me: the created women can do ANYTHING the men do with a simple unobtrusive gender switch

    However, for all the praise I give HCTP, I will say that I prefer SvR10's gameplay. In my perfect world, we *might* return to the stored Smackdown icon finisher system of HCTP, but I'd focus on upgrading elements from HCTP and implementing the majority of SvR's gameplay developments (and the graphics and presentation, of course.)

  3. I agree with a lot of what Anonymous said for HCTP, so I'll list a couple more things they didn't on why I enjoyed HCTP.

    - Backstage Areas
    These were excellent and VERY fun to play in. I always wished that all of these from HCTP and before were brought back as "sets" for the new games and each "set" of backstage areas would be randomly selected for each show. They were a big part in my next point.
    - Time Limit Title Hardcore Matches
    Absolutely loved this match in HCTP, SYM, and JBI. 6-8 people and chaos ensuing everywhere in the ring, on the stage, and in the backstage areas. These were so unpredictable and very entertaining. Probably my favorite match in those games.
    - Climbing on the Titantron/SD! Fist/Arenas/Backstage Areas
    Another feature I absolutely loved. Most of the stuff you climbed on, especially the SD! Fist, was done so very unrealistically yes, but this is something that was so fun to do that I wouldn't mind it being in a game that is pushing for tons of realism like the SvR series is now. Who can forget pulling off a Frog Splash with Eddie Guerrero off the SD! Fist onto their motionless opponent below? Loved it!
    - Submission System
    The Submission A System was first introduced in this game. In either SvR or SvR 2006 the Submission B system would also be added. I loved these because they added so much realism and actually gave you a chance to escape, reverse, or reach the ropes while in a submission instead of just hoping you don't automatically tap out if you didn't reverse the grapple. To me, Submission A's frantic and panicky button mashing reflected what happens when a real superstar is put in a submission. They get that frantice, panicky look on their face and try everything to get out instead of tap out. Submission B on the other hand, was more calculated. Just like in actual wrestling, you would have to wait for the right time (when the ball was inside one of the Escape or Reverse blocks) to make your move and try to either Escape or Reverse the submission. The person applying the move could hinder your chances of doing so by adding pressure (Pressing X repeatedly to make it harder to stop the ball at the right moment) to the hold. In 2007, one of these systems was applied to EVERY submission hold. Then 2008 and struggle submissions came along and, well, submissions just haven't been as fun or exciting to do since IMO. You have a slim chance to escape, but once the hold is applied you are unable to reverse or crawl for the ropes. Not a very accurate depiction of actual submissions in the WWE. I think if the creative geniuses that the THQ/Yukes team are could find a way to combine Submission A and Submission B and apply that to every submission hold, it would be the best submission system ever in a wrestling game hands down. But, that's just my opinion.

    Those are the reasons I loved HCTP on top of those stated by Anonymous. Anyway, I think I've rambled on enough about your question. Hope it gives you the answer you were looking for and that you get a few ideas to apply to future games (perhaps that one you mentioned with a 1 and 2 in it that hasn't been announced yet :P). This is Mr. Showtime from GR/Mistah Showtime from the community forums. I hope all is going well. I'm certainly looking forward to that GR podcast. Talk to you on the boards!

  4. I actually picked up a used copy of HCTP a few months ago-- I recall renting it over a Christmas break from college back when it came out and enjoying it, but I never owned it. Figured I'd see for myself if it really was as great as people claimed. Honestly, it did impress me. It's really worth grabbing a copy on the cheap and seeing for yourself where all the geek nostalgia stems from, particularly as you look toward future games.

    Anonymous up there summed up my favorite aspect--the unique moves and movesets. Compare playing as The Rock in HCTP to playing as him in 2010 and its astonishing how much character and uniqueness has been lost over time. I think the fans of HCTP are frustrated by the fact that, at one point, this aspect of the game was handled so masterfully (that John Morrison move that Dibiase Sr. had in 2010 annoyed me too. I mean, I changed it, but still :-P)

    After picking up the aforementioned used copy of HCTP, I started a season mode as Randy Orton. Orton, in his old dainty blue bicycle shorts, soon began a feud with The Undertaker, who soundly won every match we had. I think I'm pretty good at the game, but Orton just wasn't up to snuff against The Undertaker. Believe it or not, that was fun. It felt true to the game world--Orton was a rookie and Undertaker is, well, The Undertaker. When I did eventually catch a win over him, I felt I really earned it.

    As much as we gamers like to win, I think many of us appreciate a hard fought loss. The "oh shit" feeling you get from HCTP when you have to defend your title against Goldberg has been lost in the modern games (though it sounds like 2011 might correct this.)

    Don't get me wrong, the newer games do a lot lot very right (and do it better than HCTP, No Mercy, or anything else) but I'd say the beauty of HCTP was in the attention to detail. It really felt like it was made by wrestling nerds.

    Congratulations to you and your wife on the anniversary! As a fledgling writer myself, I know how important and exciting it can be to get your work acknowledged. Kudos to her.

    Finally, 5 Favorite Wrestlers of All Time:
    1. Bret "The Hitman" Hart.
    2. HBK --though only after he and Hitman made amends could I accept liked Michaels too. Gotta rep my boy Bret.
    3. Mick Foley, as entertaining a writer as he is a wrestler.
    4. Chris Jericho.
    5. Mr. Perfect.

  5. Never really done this before.
    but thought I would post a comment.
    ultimately wwe is a male orientated soap opera.
    as much fun as the fighting was it was the breath of the stories that were fun.
    even without the voicing which I think freed the writers to have a bit more fun.
    Yes my vision of HCTP is clouded with nostalgia and 2010 was by far the better game in every way.
    but I have to say that wwe universe is looking truely exciting.
    but it is the future after that that is looking anazing cool as wel.

  6. HCTP was an amazing game! The gameplay (for that time), the roster, the season mode, the Triple threat TLC tag match were GREAT! The best thing about HCTP though was the connecting backstage areas. It was so fun to be able to start a hardcore match in the ring and make your way up to the stage then backstage then boiler room/parking lot/locker room and eventually end up at times square. This DEFINATELY needs to be brought back in the future.

    Smackdown vs Raw 2010 was a GREAT game. I was surprised to see all the little things that have been added to it. It really made the experience that much better for me. I loved story design so thats DEFINATELY a keeper! (Keep improving on it by adding more scenes etc.) The smackdown series have come so far and one thing that really surprises me that hasnt been added to the games yet is Create an Arena. Being able to create classic raw/SD or ppv arenas and be able to use them in Create a Story would really give the games endless possibilties. I hope to see this feature in the next SvR game.

  7. The great roster (I know there's not much you can do about that)

    Rudimentary AI Logic

    It was a big leap forward at the time.

    Honestly, I'm not in the 'HCTP Still Rules All' camp. I think it's been surpassed by other games, including SvR2010 for the most part.

  8. The big problem since the series change to SVR is the replay value!!! This is making HCTP the greatest SD game ever. I mean i kept playing HCTP until the first SVR came out. But SVR couldnt keep me playing until the next installment. And this happened with every follwing SVR.
    Now in 2011 with the Universe mode i hope the replay value will be alot bigger!
    So what made HCTP the best game!?
    Its allready been said by everyone above! Plus the introduction of blood to the series.

  9. I haven't really seen you post anything about Fire Pro Wrestling. For me, the presentation of HCTP and attention to detail was great but as with all Smackdown vs Raw games, the AI is lacking. Fire Pro lacks presentation but the AI is close to perfect. Each wrestler actually wrestled like it's counterpart. The AI is fully customizable for CAWs and to have each one (400) act like they do in real life was amazing. I have zero problems beating the AI on Legend in SvsR but once in a while when they do win it is totally uneventful. In 2010, the COM drops an elbow, stands there for 2 minutes, picks me up, puts me in the corner, turns me around 4 times, I finally come to, one punch and then a pin....huh? A Fire Pro wrestler would have dropped the elbow, picked me up, performed a signature move, performed a finisher and pinned me right away.
    TOP 5
    1. HBK
    2. Kurt Angle
    3. Mr. Perfect
    4. Rick Rude
    5. Sid Vicious (come on...he was very entertaining)

  10. TOP 5

    1. Ric Flair
    2. Bret Hart
    3. Scott Hall
    4. Sting
    5. Arn Anderson

    Honorable Mentions: HBK, Eddie Guerrero, The Rock, and The Great Muta

    However, if I was in the business of suggesting DLC for future games, I'd propose a tag team pack, such as:

    Demolition: Ax and Smash
    The New Age Outlaws
    The Steiner Brothers
    The Nasty Boys

    And for a classic superstar pack I'd suggest guys who don't often get recognized or haven't appeared in a SVR title to date:

    Owen Hart
    Dr. Death Steve Williams
    Macho Man Randy Savage
    Miss Elizabeth

    I know these are unlikely for future inclusion, but those are my suggestions. Great blog, by the way, and kudos for keeping the fans informed and not insulting their intelligence.