I have seen numerous posts throughout the world wide web questioning our motives for choosing specific WWE Superstars and Legends for our SvR franchise. I wanted to take a moment to break down exactly what we do, so that all of us are clear on our process. It's cool if you don't like our process, but understand it as fact please -- because it is the truth.
Firstly, like all things, our superstar list comes down to budget and timing. At the beginning of pre-production, we have a list (based on the features we want to do), of guys we want to have in our game. In development, there is creative and project management. Creative handles exactly that, the creative (that's me). Project Management handles the timing and budget for our game (that's not me). Where was I? Oh yeah, once we have a list of superstars we want in game (which is usually like everyone), we submit it to our Project Management team so that they can scope it. What that means is that they take our list, and then breakdown how much each superstar would cost (in real money) to model. Once that is done, they get back to us with a high-level estimate of how much it will cost to create each model, and how much time it will take.
We then take a look at those estimates, and of course we're way over scope (time and money), so we have to make cuts. There's not back and forth here, we make an annual title, and our numbers (budget and time) have to be met. So, in order to cut we're told that we can have (for example) 105 models in the game. Here's the thing though, alternate attires, referees, WWE Security, Non playable characters (Stephanie, Tiffany, etc.) and WWE Legends all count as models. Every alternate attire we have, counts as one model each. For instance, if Cena were to start wearing a NEXUS shirt, and we were able to do it in time, that would be an entirely new model, not just switching out his shirt. Is it an ideal process? No -- and we're working on solutions to fix this.
"But I can change stuff in Superstar Threads, it should be easy for you"
When you change things in Superstar Threads, you're just adding layers on TOP of existing layers (hence the name layers). These assets that we build the models with are "baked in," and are given the same lighting treatment that we give the skin on our models. Tricky, eh? :)
Now, concerning WWE Legends. The WWE has a Legends roster that includes a list of superstars that we're allowed to use at no extra cost. A lot of the guys are on it, but there are a certain amount (and you can probably guess which ones) that aren't -- therefore we have to go out and sign them. This is like any other licensed sports game as well. How did NBA 2K11 get all of those legends in? They had the legends license, and guys who didn't fall under it, they had to sign. Sounds great if you have the money, but in some cases -- in some years, we just don't.
We redid our models this year for SvR '11. EVERY model. Just because you've seen a model in a previous game, and it looks like the same model, it doesn't mean that is is the same. When we change the lighting, we have to change the model, when we upgrade visually (like we did this year), we have to change the model. Some were saying we used Jake Roberts from our LoWM game, but that isn't true. We created his model (it may look the same, but the work was still done). Work is work, guys -- and it CAN replicate previous work. We have muscle flexing in the game, that is a HUGE modeling task, and required all of our models to get redone as well. Not blowing smoke guys, just saying facts here.
I hope this was a little bit of an education for you guys. I always like to teach you guys about our development process, so thanks for being so interested!