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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW    
Talking with Adam Ryland, 
Creator of Total Extreme Wrestling   

December 11, 2006

by Matt Hocking    
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

So you think you can run a company better than Vince McMahon?  Of course you can.  A one legged donkey with a glass eye could run WWE better than Vince is right now, but how ready are you, really, to put your money where your mouth is?  Because there’s a game coming that will let you do just that.
 
In the years since 1995, the Extreme Warfare series has kind of existed in a world of its own.  With no real competition, any normal man would slack, but Adam Ryland has continued to improve upon his impressive design.  Now in its 14th iteration, Total Extreme Wrestling 2007 (2006 apparently was eaten by virtual cannibals) the series continues to strive to deliver 

the mind numbing complexity of running a real wrestling company inside a easy to learn interface.

Will it be successful?  Well, we won’t know that for a few weeks, but I had yet another chance to have a chat with series creator Adam Ryland about the future of TEW and some of the big new features of the upcoming game, but sadly this year, not crumpets.  I wonder if he was dodging that one…Anyway, look for my review in the coming months, but until then, here’s a look under the hood of the best wrestling business management sim today with the man who built it, Adam Ryland.

Matt Hocking:  You’ve been at this a long, long time. Is there ever a point where you kind of sit back and wonder “What more can I do?” There were plenty of people who said when you came out with Extreme Warfare Deluxe that it was pretty much the be all end all wrestling sim, and yet you’re still going every year.

Adam Ryland:  In terms of what brand new features can be added, yes, it is finally getting to that stage with TEW07; when designing it I basically went through every suggestion that had been posted about the game as far back as I could go, so the new game is pretty much jam-packed with as much as possible. However, I think there'll always be room for updating and enhancing the game - not necessarily with new features, but with the AI. I don't think you can ever reach "perfect" AI, but you can keep improving it over and over, always getting that little bit more out of it. I'd like to eventually get it to the stage where it is good enough that it feels like playing against another human.

MH:  You’ve said in your developer’s diary that you’re going to keep the same, basic game engine from TEW ‘05, which should certainly help people get acclimated to the basic gameplay in TEW ‘07. But certainly there’s a pressure with a game like this to keep things fresh and new. What are some big changes we can expect with TEW ‘07?

AR:  There's absolutely loads and loads of new features; if I listed every individual item then we'd be talking about a list with over 250 things on it. While the game engine has stayed the same, there has been a great deal built on top and around it. It's like TEW05 was the football pitch; TEW07 has the same pitch, but with new grass....and then the addition of four massive stands, two big screens, a car park, an in-ground restaurant and a corporate entertainment suite. The pitch is still the center of attention, but you've now got an experience which is taken to a whole new level.

I think if I was just going to narrow it down to mentioning a few features though, I'd have to say that the most exciting ones to me are Future Workers (the ability to preset workers to appear as the game progresses, allowing you to have children of existing workers show up), Promotion Product (being able to define exactly what your promotion is all about, rather than having to select from a pre-defined list of options), and the in-game "Internet", which simulates Internet stories about the game world that you are playing in.

MH:  Is there ever any pressure, in your mind, to make TEW less complex? Certainly management sims aren’t for everyone, but the sheer amount of statistics and options in a game like TEW can be a little overwhelming for a new player.

AR:  I don't think complexity is really the issue. The key is how you present it. For example, as statistically dense as TEW05 was, what you could actually see on-screen was just scratching the surface, there was a whole new level of depth that was hidden "behind the scenes". So with TEW07, what we were trying to do was add even more depth and attention to detail, without overwhelming the player. What I'd hope is that the player can feel and appreciate the depth, while still feeling that he has easy control over everything.

MH:  I’ve taken a lot of flack over the past two years for being too hard on TEW’s match commentary system. I’ve called it bland and compared it to playing a spreadsheet. In my defense, I did like the match commentary much better when it had more “character” (such as EWR’s three pronged commentary system). Here’s an open forum to fillet me.

AR:  Well, the match play-by-play is really one of the parts of the game that holds the least interest for me. What moves are actually happening is really not that important in the greater scheme of things, as it's the drama and psychology that make a great match, and that would be very hard to capture in words. On top of that, most people tended not to read the commentary in previous games anyway, as it got repetitive - which is something that is inevitable, as when you're having hundreds of matches per year you're always going to end up with repetition. So, as designer, just giving people a short recap achieves all that it needs to do.

MH:: You’re concurrently working on another wrestling series, in Wrestling Spirit. What has working on the single wrestler management side done to affect your vision for the global wrestling management sims?

AR:  Wrestling Spirit is more of a side project, it is definitely not meant to be a replacement, or competition, for TEW. Basically it is simply a case that I wanted to try something a little different from your standard wrestling arcade game, where it's all about button mashing, and do something that involved a little more thought and strategy. I think there's a lot of people, especially fans from the "old school" era, to whom slow-paced strategy is a lot more appealing than who-can-hit-the-buton-fastest. So, in answer to your question, WreSpi really hasn't had a great deal of impact of TEW at all.

Quick Questions:

MH:  TEW 2006: Lost in the ether like Leisure Suit Larry 4 or government cover-up?

AR:  Merely a victim of fate. TEW07 technically should be called 06, as it is being released in December, but it seemed more sensible to call it 07 rather than see it go out of date within 30 days.

MH:  Why haven’t you added a section for the Diva Search yet?  The fans are clambering for it!

AR:  You can simulate the Diva Search using angles if you wish.

MH:  At some point don’t you just look at this all and go, “You know, I’m really sick of wrestling?”

AR:  Nearly daily.

MH:  What’s the biggest upgrade you think you’ve made to the series with TEW 2007?

AR:  I don't think there's any one upgrade that really "makes" the game, it's more a case of there being so many different additions, in different areas, that the entire product gets lifted.

MH:  Anything else you’d like to add?

AR:  The web site for all my games is www.greydogsoftware.com. TEW07 is scheduled to be released just after Christmas. Thank you for interviewing me.

Thanks to Adam for all of his time.  TEW 2007 will be available for download within the next few weeks.

 
E-MAIL MATT
   
BROWSE THE RAW SATIRE ARCHIVES


  
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