Friday, June 24, 2011

History Repeating Itself...

I honestly wondered if I would ever use this again, but sure enough, here we are..

I can't say that I'm too happy about having to post a blog, but I guess some of the blind hatred has forced "baby" out of her "corner" to drop some knowledge. So far, the reaction to WWE '12 has been astounding! We couldn't have hoped for anything better, and the development team truly deserves some awesome credit this year. Another audience deserves credit as well, YOU. Well, not all of you, but a good amount who truly took what we had to say last year to heart, and committed to helping us make the best possible game we could. Without your feedback, we wouldn't be where we are now, that's for sure.

On with the show...

6 Diva Matches

Cory said in his Q&A that this isn't possible due to polygonal count. This isn't an excuse, and is true. If you don't believe, then ask yourself these questions:

1.) We know there are hacks out there (you're not hard to find), why would Cory say what he said knowing that you guys can do what you want via hacks? Did you ever stop to think that Cory knows about actually making the games? I picked that question out for the sole purpose of getting Cory's response for you guys.

2.)This was absolutely a controlled Q&A based on what we can say at this point (PR timelines -- I'll come to that later). Why would Cory have even answered it if it wasn't true? The answer, because it was the truth. And you know this, man!

3.)Let us prove it to you -- we have a plan, let us show it to you!

Bottom line, when we can prioritize the proper work involved to make things happen, we will. Not this year, though... Here's why.


In case you haven't heard, gameplay was the big focus for us this year -- and it should have been. We've heard from you guys for the longest time that our gameplay needs addressed. We're finally doing that this year with our "Predator Technology." Nice guess, guys, "Predator" obviously has a tie-in with Randy Orton, but here's what the tech actually is as we would describe it internally:

- Our SvR gameplay tech caused the "picturebook" effect, meaning that each animation had missing frames in it, creating a flip picture book look. As the game got older, you'd notice this more. This is where the term "herky-jerky" came from (made famous from NFL 2K). What our new tech allows us to do, is fill those missing frames in with an animation, creating blending from one animation to the next. It makes for a much smoother experience.

- Physics now come in to play via our gameplay tech upgrade. Now, if you walk by another person and glance their shoulder, they'll move accordingly. This means that your opponent is an actual in-ring object that has true interaction.

The gameplay tech upgrade was a massive undertaking. Most of our time was spent taking our old data, and hooking it in with this new upgrade. Have you played NBA 2K? Have you noticed some of the same looking animations in their game since the earlier days? Yep -- but they look a whole lot better now. That's our reality.

You're right, this is an upgrade and not a new engine. We never said it would be, and we made the right choice to do it this way. Why didn't we do a completely new engine? Here's why:

- We make a game every year, and this gives us the opportunity to replace the "house" brick by brick vs a demolish and redo effort. If that's the case, you'd have Madden 06 / FIFA 06, instead, this allows us to be more like a NBA 2K -- any questions?

- A new gameplay tech upgrade does not mean that it will "LOOK" visually different than what you've seen before. When we say you have to play it and see side by side comparisons, we mean it. We're still the WWE sim game, so we have to keep up a certain visual degree to stay real to true WWE programming. The visual improvements come in with the slight texture and modeling upgrades (note: not gameplay related), and our physics and blending that is made possible by the "Predator tech."

- If we wanted a new engine, our current team size would not make that a possibility at the moment. We're making a game every year, and we don't have the resources to try to build new engines and prove them out while doing what we're doing now. Money doesn't come out of thin air, and although some may think we're just raking in the dough -- we're not.

Haters Gonna Hate

There's negative feedback (which is needed and constructive), and there's hating. Don't mix it up, we know the difference. I'll take responsibility for making some of you think that you'll get an official reaction if you SHOUT false assumptions. That's going to stop now, I promise.

We're in the business of making games, and we reached out to you guys to help us make a great game (games moving forward). At this point, if you're hating, you're not helping. We're out here every day trying to solicit feedback from all of you. USE THIS OPPORTUNITY! We've proven to you now that your feedback from SvR 2011 was not only heard, but implemented where it could be. Even now your feedback is being heard. Keep turning your heads to it (the few), you're missing some great things.

PR Timelines

This is literally the one that pains me to write about, because it makes me think that no one has learned anything from last year. If we're ever going to get anywhere, then there needs to be actual thinking on both sides. We've done the work to understand where you're coming from, please do the same and try to learn and understand where we are too. Some of you are really good at digging for things if it supports your opinion, but can you do the same sort of digging to find things that don't (the truth)?

Anyway, like every single game in this industry, we have a timeline plan from the start of a campaign to launch. The timeline is filled with spots where new information on the game is revealed. Whether it's a website exclusive article talking about RtWM, or a new trailer, it's all on there. The issue I see you guys having, is that you still don't understand that this exists. Sometimes, when I see the failure to understand this pretty simplistic concept that's a staple of our industry, I think of the seagulls in Finding Nemo who don't listen and learn, but just shout "MINE, MINE, MINE," or in this case, "INFO, INFO, INFO."

We want to give you the information, we just can't right now and when we can, you'll forget about this moment because you got what you were looking for -- INFO. Please understand this difference.

Surveys Weren't for Nothing

Do you remember those surveys we frequently put out last year? Ok, now do you remember some of you saying that "they probably won't do anything with this?" Well, I think you're seeing that we took them very seriously. They helped us with our prioritization. We saw point blank that gameplay was the biggest issue for you guys, and in even more detail than that. That was much more concrete than going to random message boards to look at what one or two (or 20) people wanted. This way, we got a huge sample size and some great feedback.

In closing, I'll say this until I'm blue in the face -- we're here for you. Without you, we wouldn't have this game, so we're trying very hard to get you on board with helping us so that you'll understand what it takes to not only make a game, but do it every year. Expectations are set by YOU, not us. We want you to buy our game, yes, but we're not going to "sell" you on it. The purchasing decision is yours, and we wont force you. But we will prove it to you, and we have till 11/22 to do it.

The burden is on us, not you. Let us PROVE IT!

Oh yeah, I can't wait for the "Why don't you keep working on the actual game instead of typing novels" comment. No win situation, but I love it!