While the popularity of wrestling has ebbed and flowed over the years, there has always been a feeling amongst fans that if given the chance, they could create the perfect promotion. In 1995, Adam Ryland gave fans the tools to prove that they could with the first game of the Extreme Warfare series. Through countless tweaks and revisions, the game quickly developed more realism and greater challenges to match its growing popularity. Since the release of Extreme Warfare Revenge 4, Mr. Ryland has hooked himself up with an actual paying job with .400 Software Studios, and the result of that job is Total Extreme Warfare, the completely re-written, professionally polished pinnacle of the Extreme Warfare Series. I had a chance to sit down with Mr. Ryland and get him to dish up a little dirt on the new game.
(MH - Matt Hocking, AR - Adam Ryland)
MH: Who are you and what exactly is it that you do?
AR: I'm Adam Ryland, computer game developer, and I am working on Total Extreme Warfare, the first commercial version of the Extreme Warfare series.
MH: The Extreme Warfare Series has been a huge hit amongst wrestling fans, does that make you feel all warm and tingly inside?
AR: Yes, it does make me warm and tingly inside. Much like drinking bleach. Except without the painful death afterwards.
MH: You've taken a big leap from the free Extreme Warfare Revenge to now having an actual commercial game in Total Extreme Warfare. What about this game will make EWR players want to pay for the upgrade?
AR: Well I don't think "upgrade" is the right word, as that has been a common misconception - TEW is not simply "EWR with some additions", it's an entirely new game, designed and written from scratch. They're only related in that they're both written by me and both simulate the wrestling world. As for why people would want to buy TEW, that i can answer without hesitation - if you enjoyed EWR, then you're going to love TEW. Not only do all the best features from EWR appear (and are much improved upon), but there are massive new features that take the game to the next level. To use a well known wrestling phrase, comparing TEW to EWR is like "comparing ice cream to horse manure."
MH: One troublesome aspect of this game is the lack of licensing with any major promotions, is there anything you can do to appease the players that want to play as their favorite federation?
AR: There is a full editor that comes with the game, which allows the user to customize the game as much as they want. The game will come with fictional characters.
MH: One new feature of TEW is a multiplayer mode, how exactly is that going to work?
AR: It's for between 1 and 4 players, and works in a turn-based environment. Because all offers\decisions in TEW are time-based (i.e. if you offer for a worker, he will wait a few days before deciding, so that he can look at all his offers) there is no advantage to going first. Multiplayer is designed to be played "hot seat" style - i.e. everyone using the same PC - but it can also be done across the Internet as long as the player is happy to spend a few seconds zipping up his save slot and sending it to the next player.
MH: Booking cards is the heart of the game. How is booking cards going to be different this time around?
AR: The main difference is that booking is now time-based, so the player is no longer limited to a set amount of segments per show. The other change is that it has been made much more user-friendly, so not only do you no longer have to go through numerous steps to book a match, but you can also re-arrange segments, modify them, etc, at will. All in all, it's just a much easier way to do stuff, and is less like a chore.
MH: Let's say, hypothetically, that I were to take a big muscle-bound guy, make him undefeatable, and then let him hang onto my world title for the better part of two years. That'd work...Right?
AR: Depends. What's his hair care regime like? You won't get far with greasy hair and split ends....
MH: I'll have to consult his wife. I understand that location will be a factor in this game. That's great because I always wanted to know where exactly my backyard main event between Hardkore "Joey" Fingers and Kevin "Big Daddy" Liebowitz was taking place. I always kind of figured that was in France. Anyway, what effect will location have on the gameplay?
AR: It's a huge factor, maybe the biggest new feature in the game. Essentially you have over 100 locations, spread over 5 game areas. Each worker and promotion has a separate overness factor for every location, and this means it is essential to include geography in your strategy. For example, say you were running a promotion that is wildly popular in New York, but unknown everywhere else. Running several back-to-back shows in Glasgow, Scotland probably isn't your best move, for obvious reasons. It also means that you have to be careful who you buy. A worker may be very over on the West Coast, but that doesn't mean anything for your East Coast promotion, as your fans won't have heard of him. But if you're rapidly expanding across the US and are looking to run shows in Los Angeles, then hiring him might give you a boost when it comes to drawing fans. Being able to adapt to your location, and plan accordingly, is one of the key parts of TEW.
MH: With Regional worker and promotional overness, it sounds like you could create a reasonable facsimile of the old regional promotions. It's too bad though, because I was honestly planning on letting my global promotion run all of its shows out of Sheboygan, WI. Which kind of makes me curious, how are the different promotion types and sizes going to work in the game?
AR: Promotion sizes no longer exist in the same way they did in EWR; there are no "global" or "small" federations. Instead, your size is your overness in each city. So if you're 80% in New York, you have a strong hold of the market there. If you have 5% in California, you're barely known. Your overness determines how many fans you can draw to that area, so it has a huge impact on how profitable you can be. As for promotion types, there are ten in the game, ranging from "Sports Entertainment" to "Hybrid" to "Pure". Your promotion type is how you are portraying yourself, and so determines what fans will come to your show - this is absolutely key to TEW, as unlike EWR where your only goal was really to put on a good match, in TEW you're goal is to entertain the fans. That's a fundamental difference, as it changes the way you must book. Let me give you an example - suppose there is a situation where one player is running a "Sports Entertainment" promotion, and another is running a "Pure" promotion. Now if both players ran a show that had lots of angles and videos, and maybe a handful of poor five minute matches, the differences would be huge! Player 1 would probably get a very high overall rating for the show, as he is giving the "Sports Entertainment" fans exactly what they want - the fact that the matches were short and not very good doesn't really matter that much, as the fans didn't come to see quality wrestling, they came to be entertained. On the other hand, Player 2 would probably get a disastrous overall rating, as he is giving his fans the exact opposite of what they came to see, which is pure quality wrestling. This also has a knock-on effect on which wrestlers are good purchases (a 500lb charismatic giant, even with weak skills, is an excellent signing for a Sports Entertainment company, but not so great for a Pure promotion), and also how many fans you can draw (as some locations have more Pure fans than other for example).
MH: If location plays a key role for promotions looking to expand, what kind of role does it play for larger promotions? Will Global promotions just have an easy ride?
AR: No, in fact the larger a promotion gets, the more difficult it becomes. When you're only operating in a few cities, your role is pretty straightforward, as you know your fans pretty well, and they know your roster. Once you start expanding, you have more different types of fans to satisfy, more cities to visit, you need a larger roster to meet demand, etc. Of course, there is also the benefit that the larger you are, the better talent you can get and the more money you can make.
MH: Who is "Sophie" and why does she work for every company I own? Is she with the CIA or something? Because I swear, those weren't even my goggles.
AR: I'm not at liberty to say. But I do know she's tapped your phone, so I know all about your addiction to QVC...
MH: Hmm.When I create myself, I always want to give myself the gimmick of "Guy who Eats Waffles", but I noticed that's not on the list. You're going to fix that this time around, right?
AR: There's a gimmick editor with the game, so "Waffle Eating Guy With An Addiction To QVC" is creatable.
MH: So, I'm the head guy of my promotion. You know and I know that the cool thing for the booker to do is to show up on his own shows to put himself over. I'm your average megalomaniac, tell me I can book myself to run out during a show.
AR: Yes, you certainly can. When a player starts a game, he picks an avatar - a character who represents him in the game world. That avatar is automatically on the roster of whatever promotion you're running, and you can use him just like any other worker, with the exception that he never gets unhappy or requires new contracts, as he is you!
MH: One thing that drew a lot of attention in EWR was the fact that the game did not recognize the Brand Split, in that upper-card workers lost morale if they did not appear on a certain amount of shows every week, which often times undermined the split. Have you made any adjustments to account for this?
AR: The brand split is fully implemented, workers will not lose any morale while the "other" brand is running shows.
MH: Any super-duper-secret thing about TEW you want to reveal to me? I promise I won't tell!
AR: Ah, you'll just have to buy the game to find out what secrets i have hidden ;-)
Short Answer Questions~!
MH: If TEW were a fruit, what fruit would it be and why?
AR: An apple. Nice and shiny on the outside, full of wholesome goodness on the inside. You can't crush it to make juice though, so the analogy doesn't stretch too far...
MH: My special reviewer edition copy of TEW is already in the mail, right? I mean you DID get the assorted cheeses I sent you as a bribe, right?
AR: That was you? Oh. There was no note to say who sent it. I should probably recall the copy I sent to the Dairy Council then....
MH: Five words, why should the lovely readership buy your game.
AR: To quote a range of hair products, "Because you're worth it."
MH: Thank you for your time. I hope the bright lamp didn't bother your eyes. Guards, take him back to his cell.
Total Extreme Warfare is scheduled for a Q1 2004 release and is priced at $34.95. You can find out more information at www.totalextremewarfare.com.
With all these other features, you'd think they could bother putting in a decent netplay feature other than "zip your save games and e-mail them". With a decent netplay feature, I might have considered buying it. Otherwise, I doubt it.
Originally posted by InVerseWith a decent netplay feature, I might have considered buying it.
What do you envision for a decent netplay feature? I know when I play, I take a good 30 - 60 minutes per booking. Its not so bad early on when I have a big show each month and Maybe a 6 segment weekly show, but shortly after that (two weekly shows with 20 + segments) and I go SO suh-low. My girlfriend hates me when I take forever on a Scrabble turn. I don't think anyone I know would have the patience to play with me in real time.
Yeah, angles in the ring... someone thought of that a long time ago. They called it pro wrestling." -- the MCS
Netplay would certainly have to be slower than regular play, but I'd envision something along the lines of most fantasy sports systems where you have a specific amount of time (I'd say a day or two) to get all of your booking for the week turned in, then it would feed everyone the results. If you can't get it done for whatever reason, it just auto-books your shows that week.
Hmmmm...no notes from Mr. Ryland on what the system requirements will be for this incredible sounding program.
SD2: April, Year 3; what's the point to the Career mode, anyhow? FF7: Disc 1; 4h into game; en route to the next reactor FF8: Disc 2; 15h into game; Squall, Rinoa, Irvine vs. Master NORG. FF9: Disc 1; 6h into game; Hunting down Dagger after she drugged me!