Friday, March 3, 2017

Fire Pro Wrestling World Announced!

My prayers have been answered again! After a week of high anticipation, wrestling video game fans got to rejoice yesterday at the announcement of Fire Pro Wrestling World. The game will be coming to PC and PS4 later in the year but will first arrive on Steam Early Access in the 2nd quarter of 2017 in order to fix out the kinks.

The last time Fire Pro fans received a proper installment in the cult wrestling video game franchise was way back in 2005 with the release of Fire Pro Wrestling Returns, then considered the proper swan song for the series. Since then, the franchise has lay dormant save for two very less-than-stellar spinoffs: a bland 2011 mobile game only made available in Japan and the infamous Xbox 360 digital game in 2012 where the beautifully made sprite work was replaced by Microsoft's Avatars.

For those that need some context, the Fire Pro Wrestling games are known for their amazing 2D animation, large cast of characters based off real Japanese and American wrestlers, early integration of hardcore and MMA matches, and a grappling and A.I. system that helps recreate real match psychology. To give you an example of how innovative the series has been, popular wrestling maneuvers such as the Styles Clash and the Canadian Destroyer were animated and featured in Fire Pro Wrestling Returns way, way before there were included in WWE and TNA video games. Most general video game fans will be well aware of the wrestling game series due to the popularity of video game creator Suda51 (Goichi Suda), who got his start in the gaming business via this series and who infamously directed the dark and depressing story mode of Super Fire Pro Wrestling Special.

The hype for Fire Pro Wrestling World first started a week ago on February 23, when Spike Chunsoft created a Twitter account and posted a tweet with a YouTube link and a screenshot of two wrestlers and a referee standing in certain noteworthy positions. The Twitter account was named "GDC 3/2", referring to the presentation that Spike Chunsoft would be having at the Game Developers Conference the following Thursday.

The world got to see what exactly Spike Chunsoft has planned for Fire Pro Wrestling World thanks to them uploading the official promotion video yesterday night. The art style will be nearly exact to what was present in Fire Pro Wrestling Returns and that cage and hardcore matches will return. However, as hinted by the grapplers in the video, potential intellectual property issues has led to the removal of wrestler clones.

Henry Gilbert on Twitter had more to reveal about what was said at the presentation. The game will start off with 30 original wrestlers, leaving the rest of the roster to be crafted or shared by the online community. Online multiplayer will be present for the first time (if you don't count the Xbox 360 game) and will be 4 player only at the start; the developers wish to implement the option for 6 man matches. Edit mode returns but is updated so you can have up to nine layers for every part and you can finally have a clear look at the front and backside of the create-a-wrestler. Given the 12 year gap in games, a ton of new wrestling moves will added, with the first reveal being Kenny Omega's finishing maneuver One-Winged Angel, though of course it will be renamed due to obvious reasons.

Fire Pro Wrestling World director Tomoyuki Matsumoto told Gilbert of his intense passion for the series, as he has been doing presentations for the game for over five years. It wasn't until the international success of Danganronpa and Zero Escape for Spike to finally give him a chance at making a new entry. Additionally, just to make the Spike Chunsoft presentation even more phenomenal for video game fans, the company also surprisingly revealed that 428: Shibuya Scramble will finally come over to the States thru PS4 and PC as well.

I may not write a lot of video game reviews and articles on this site as I initially tried to do but I just had to express my adoration for this announcement and nerd the hell out at the return of Fire Pro.

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