If you haven’t heard of developer Serious Parody, it could be because the 15-man team from Dundee, Scotland is a relatively small team. But this doesn’t change their love and knowledge of wrestling, which contributed to their iOS game, Wrestling Manager. And its love is what makes them want to take on the big shots with their upcoming new game, 5-Star Wrestling.
Serious Parody’s opening salvo to once-THQ’s/now-2K Games WWE franchise:
The wrestling game world is long over due a shake up. The same development studio has dominated the genre for well over a decade with little to no competition. Well as the saying goes, ‘Enough is enough and it’s time for a change!’
5-Star Wrestling seeks to take a different approach to designing a wrestling game. With their small budget and resources, graphics won’t be as fantastic as the WWE games, but they’re hoping the gameplay more than stands up to the goliath franchise.
Gameplay will center around “Ring Psychology,” which any wrestling fan could explain as how different types of wrestlers approaches matches. As Serious Parody say, “everything in wrestling is done for a reason.” So if a smaller guy takes on a bigger guy, they’re going to try and weaken his legs so that he can move so well, and can’t lift his opponents as well. A big powerhouse who takes on a smaller and speedier wrestler is going to try and wear out his opponent as much as possible so that they don’t have the stamina to pull off their flashy and swift moves.
And knocking down an enemy’s arsenal is integral to winning a match: characters reportedly have nearly 200 moves a piece, which vary by condition, like how hurt the player is. Serious Parody claim that each character will have specific moves (though whether this will be very particular moves or similar to WWE’s “Normal Over the Ropes 01” and “Normal Over the Ropes 04” has yet to be seen). This varied moveset philosophy also extends to Finishers: expect Tired Finishers, Power Finishers, High Risk Finishers, Quick Finishers, Finishers that come from nowhere, and more.
Referees are also making a huge comeback in 5-Star Wrestling. They actually matter. Players can pull off illegal moves, but get caught… and well, you’ll pay the consequences.
With 5-Star Wrestling having no official wrestling league affiliation, don’t expect to see the likes of The Rock, CM Punk, The Undertaken, or John Cena. But that doesn’t mean you won’t see a pastiche or archetype of those types of wrestlers, especially with how much people like Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant changed the scope of the sport in the last few decades. This extends into character classes, which play into a player’s playstyle. Brutes are powerful but slow and stupid. Ring Technicians are cunning with tactical move sets but are weaker than your average wrestler. Risk Takers are fast and can perform dare devil type moves but they hurt themselves in the process and Showman are highly resilient wrestlers with lots of finishing moves but they aren’t the strongest, fastest or smartest wrestlers in the mix. Heels (bad guys) have access to devastating (but risky) cheat moves, Faces (good guys) don’t cheat but they can receive huge momentum swings that allow them to perform amazing comebacks.
5-Star Wrestling also seeks to put importance back on storytelling, told in the ring, not through cutscenes. Drama has always been a part of wrestling, and Serious Parody definitely want to make it a priority. Even after the game’s original content is over, a slew of DLC will be coming to keep the narrative going, some of it free. The game will also have an exhibition mode, a challenge mode for each character, match breakdowns to see how you played, and in-game currency for unlockables.
There will be multiplayer, but it’s local-only for now. Perhaps part of the upcoming DLC will bring an update for online multiplayer, which is a core part of the WWE franchise. Also, what would be a wrestling game without Create-A-Player?
The game is being set for release on the PS3 later this year, so more details will be on the way. 5-Star Wrestling is looking to be on the big-side of downloadable games, with retail content at a cheaper price.