March 30, 2007 - While you've undoubtedly gotten your fair share of "multi-console" info on THQ's SmackDown vs. Raw 2008 yesterday in our exclusive interview, the brief chat we had with THQ reps was not too Wii specific. New details emerged regarding the main career mode, the amount of effort going into the pure realism in this year's brawler, but tasty bits of Wii info were left for another day. Apparently that day came sooner than we thought, though, as THQ has revealed the Wii version today in the Grand Ballroom of the Atheneum Suite Hotel here in Detroit.
The main presentation for the game was based solely on multi-console info, detailing the goals for the game's development when moving from 2007 to 2008. As the primary focus, SmackDown vs. Raw 2008 is looking to improve key animations, combine the main GM and Season mode together for a new WWE 24/7 mode, implement a new fighting style system into the game, and tweak the submission controls. The focus of today's presentation was spent on the fighting styles and submission moves almost entirely, as we were given glimpses of the 360 version demonstrating the eight fighting styles (hardcore, high flyer, submission artist, powerhouse, brawler, showman, and dirty) and how they effected gameplay. For more information on the basics of the multi-console version, check out our full interview found here.
At the closing of the presentation, however, talk was moved away from general facts and towards the Wii version specifically, as we were treated to an eyes-on with a very (and we stress very) early build of the game. The demo consisted of two players, taking the roles of HHH and John Cena in one-on-one competition. Demonstrating a few core motion controls off the bat, players used overhand strikes, jabs, and backhands all with the Wii remote to pull off each specific motion. The amount of dead time between action and reaction was surprisingly short, as the motions translated quickly to each attack with very little error. Every once and a while HHH would go for a backhand only to have a main jab pulled off, but as we said the game was very early in development, and exact Wii motion is something developers have been having issues with since launch.
When moving on to more precise moves, however, it became apparent that Wii wasn't just a port with lazy controls, and that there's some definite potential in THQ's latest game. Players moved on to more complex moves, charging a makeshift power-bar to perform a grapple, and then literally raising their hands into the air to lift them. The drop was user-based as well, so in a few different instances HHH would lift Cena into a choke slam or power-bomb, hold him for an uncomfortable amount of time, and slam him down only when the player slammed his hands down.
Along those same lines, actions such as turnbuckle punching (with Cena standing a few rungs up, hammering down on HHH with downward jabs) were also dictated by the user. A few punches were pulled off, then a short break was taken to give a hello to the crowd, and then it was straight back to pummeling Hunter to the ground. As the roles switched, however, there seemed to be some motion detection issues because the second player couldn't pull off any punches while mounted on the turnbuckle. Again, it's a pre-alpha build of the game.
Moving away from main offense, players also used motion control to deliver humiliating taunts, and it was - if nothing else - hilarious to watch. DX's classic "suck it" motion was pulled off with both hands, as HHH mocked a downed Cena before lifting him back up with a quick Wii-mote/nunchuk motion. Later in the match HHH used a second taunt, raising his arms in the air and screaming - again controlled with the Wii-mote/nunchuk combination.
From what we saw, the developers have a solid understanding of how to translate Wii motion into direct gameplay. Actions such as kicking, submissions, using specials, throwing a competitor into the ropes, leaving the ring, or using weapons weren't demonstrated, and it seemed that the majority of Wii control came from the Wii remote itself and not the nunchuk. The game looks to be in its initial "proof of concept" phase, so it's possible that there's no interface, character select, or actual end to the match demo even in place, so a more in-depth synopsis of the motion control will have to wait. Still, from what we saw today there's definite potential in SmackDown vs. Raw 2008.