NVision Interview


~ November 2014 ~
Shortly after Wrestling Revolution 3D debuted on Android, NVIDIA caught up with
me to talk about how the game was performing on their SHIELD handheld:

Wrestling Revolution 3D feels like a throwback to the golden age of pro wrestling both in terms of its in-ring action and antics and spirit. Is that fair to say? What originally inspired you to create this kind of experience?
Yes, for me the magic of mobile apps is that gaming has come full circle. Old-fashioned 2D games, and even simpler 3D games, are back in style - which suits independents like me perfectly. On PC and consoles, my work is considered below average whereas on mobiles the exact same work is above average! That's especially significant for wrestling, because there's a contingent of fans who felt that the games were better in the SNES or N64 era. That's when gameplay was paramount and graphics were secondary, but since then graphics have evolved whereas gameplay hasn't. With both sides of my Wrestling Revolution series, I've been able to tap into the spirit of both 2D classics and 3D classics and keep those flames alive. I was inspired by Fire Pro Wrestling and WWF No Mercy myself, so when people pick up on that it's the best compliment I could receive. Although it's also important to drive things forward with your own innovations. In my case, that tends to involve doing things on a larger scale - with more wrestlers in the universe, more of them in the ring, and more things for them to do, etc.

Is there a particular moment you remember when you became a pro wrestling fan?
I couldn't actually watch it so much myself because it was on satellite television in the UK, which I didn't have. But when I was around 10 years old all of the other kids were bringing the merchandise into school and I got exposed to it that way. They showed me this picture of the Ultimate Warrior, who was so big and colourful that he looked like a real-life superhero! And then I picked up a video with Hulk Hogan on the cover and it was the same effect. There was just something about that live action spectacle that fascinated me more than any competitive sport. Then when I returned to wrestling as an adult, it was more for the politics. I was intrigued by what really happens behind the scenes with these guys; who got to be the "champion" and what that meant in real terms. So now that's the aspect of it that my games are known to explore. I took wrestling as a fighting game and turned it into an RPG.

Wrestling Revolution encourages players to really draw on their creativity to make their own larger-than-life wrestling stars. How has it been interacting with fans of your game and have they surprised you by what they’re doing and creating in the game?
Yes, I like my games to be so "open" that the players can do things that the developer didn't even know where possible! In Wrestling Revolution, there are so many different combinations of moves, in so many different situations, that you really do experience something unique each time. I wish I had a camera running on all the matches I've played because some magic moments have been lost in the ether! With regards to characterization, they don't have quite as much freedom as they did on PC (where they could literally load in their own costumes) - but they have as much as I can squeeze onto a mobile. Customization is at the heart of most of my games, because that's what I use to create so many characters in the first place. I then simply leave that closet unlocked for everybody else to enjoy rummaging through. There has been a lot of frustration with this release, because it takes a long time to implement all of the possibilities - but it's expanding all the time. Female wrestlers will be making their 3D debut soon.

Do you have any favorite characters created either by yourself or other players?
Yes, it's interesting how these fictitious characters can get "over" with me as though they were real talent. One of my flagship characters, the strangely named "Whack Ax", was a happy accident that I had in 3D Studio MAX. I accidentally painted the model's torso pink with one of the default materials, and it occurred to me to make him our version of the pink & black technician Bret Hart. In the early stages, I spend so much time working with basic models that their half-baked appearances tend to grow on me and start to look normal! Some of them mean a lot to me because they were created by fans - such as the "Geno White" character, who was submitted to me by a kid way back in 2001. I just liked the simple image of this black guy with an afro wearing basic red trunks and I went along with it. With me, the simpler the costume the better because the person inside needs a lot of confidence to pull that off! That's what I love about old school Japanese wrestlers. They just stand there in plain tights and plain boots and let their talent do the talking.

What is it like to see Wrestling Revolution’s community of players grow with exposing the game to new audiences on devices like the NVIDIA SHIELD?
The game has been downloaded a million times per week in its first 5 weeks, which is already more than I could ever ask for from its entire run! It's almost too many people, because I've got 5 million eyeballs on a demo instead of the finished game. By my estimation, every wrestling fan with an Android device is already aware of the game so there isn't much higher to aim. Now the only challenge is to KEEP them entertained throughout the game's lifetime. Of course, new ways to play such as on NVIDIA SHIELD are also helping to breathe new life into the franchise. Now that it has gone live on the TegraZone, it will be interesting to see how many of those gamers join the Wrestling Revolution!

What’s next for you and the Wrestling Revolution series?
I'm currently busy fleshing out this gameplay as an RPG-style career where you live the life of a professional wrestler - complete with backstage politics and a schedule of meaningful matches. There will also be a special mode where you get to run the show and stage the matches that you think will be entertaining. By the time it's finished, it should be the most comprehensive simulation of the industry that you can fit in your pocket! After that, I intend to take a break from the genre - whilst side-stepping into one that has more than a few similarities...

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