in Video Games

Midway drops ball on TNA:Impact?


In the IT/web field there is this running joke that whenever working on a project a developer will at some point claim that a project is “90% done”. With the recent Q&A between games publisher Midway and the IGN portal website about the upcoming next generation wrestling game, “TNA: Impact!”, it seems this joke seems quite apt.

“TNA:Impact!” is an American wrestling in the same vein as WWE (formly known as WWF), and was initially made famous for its high-flying acrobatic “X-Division” (Cruiserweights) section. This was best illustrated in the years between 2004, 2005 and the very recent “World X Cup”, where high-flying, fast-paced wrestling has caught the imagination of WWE and Youtube fans wiery of the stale product dished out by the number 1 name in pro-wrestling.

With this in mind, TNA have spent the last year and a bit working with Midway publishing (famous for its work on the “Mortal Kombat” series) to create a wrestling game that would outclass WWE’s game, “Smackdown vs Raw”.

However, in a recent Q&A session with the IGN portal the game makers seem to be holding their hands up and saying the game “isn’t finished, but we released it anyway!”.

Ugh! I hate it when video game makers do this, especially when they promise so much.

The interview was full of excuses about why X, Y or Z was not included in the game. At worst, it seemed like Midway completley dropped the ball on the game and the promise of “outclassing” the WWE’s “Smackdown vs Raw” game looks incredibily naive.

The biggest problem in the interview was that Midway seemed to answer every question with a “No, not in this version”.

Here’s a summary of things (not complete) you won’t get in this game, according to the interview;

  • Want blood? Nope, not in this version.
  • Want a TNA branded match, like “Six Sides of Steel”, or perhaps “King of the Mountain”? Nope, not in this version.
  • Want double-team moves? Nope! (This is odd considering TNA’s tag team division is one of the cornerstone of its success)
  • Want CAWS on the PS2 version? There aren’t any. Sorry! But maybe in the next version…
  • Want finishers from the corner turnbuckles? Nope. Sorry!
  • Want to fight in the crowd, or at least pseduo-fight in the crowd like in SvR? Nope.
  • Want 20 or so CAW slots? Sorry, you’ve only got 5.
  • Want to play as Petey Williams and employ his famous “Canadian Destroyer“? Sorry, he’s downloadable content.
  • Want online trophies, or online competitions? Not in this version you won’t</li>

For a fuller detail of whats included, and what’s not, read the original IGN interview with Midway.

For the past year or so the TNA wrestling promotional team have been claiming that this video game will be the “best wrestling game ever” and making overtures of how much better it is compared to the SvR (Smackdown vs Raw) games.

During the production of the game, the creators said they were trying to go back to the classic N64 “No Mercy” style of arcade wrestling whilst employing ideas from Japanese wrestling simulators; as the game hasn’t yet been released yet I cannot comment on whether the game’s arcade style wrestling makes up for the lack of actual content, however this does not excuse the lack of content; especially for a £40+ “next generation” game.

Another thing that bothers me is that this game will be used as an excuse for all those who say that the TNA brand will never be anything more than a puppet to the WWE brand, and as try as they might they won’t have the money, star power, or drive to achieve anything on the level that the SvR product has; looking at the quality of the content that comes with the game I can see why those accusations may fly.

Indeed, whilst everyone talks about whether to buy TNA:Impact or Svr2009, there is talk (mostly on Youtube) of the latest version of the hit Japanese game, “Fire Pro Wrestling“. Although its in 2D, it has more content, more moves, more wrestlers and has had 10 years success around the world far outstripping both products mentioned in this blog. I guess the lesson here is, buy FPW.

Anyway, the interview has made me question whether or not to buy the game, maybe it’ll make a good rental; Midway have done TNA no favours by answering every question with a “Maybe in the next version”, because in the end no-one will buy a game that is half complete; regardless of how fun it is.

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