Source: IGNAs reported earlier, WWE and THQ announced earlier today that "SmackDown vs. RAW" is undergoing a name change. They will be going with "WWE '12", etc. as the years go on.
IGN.com posted the following preview of the game:
"For years WWE SmackDown vs. Raw has been the Sports Entertainment simulation series from THQ and Yuke's Yokohama. It's been a fun ride, but as with any franchise, fans have complained about annual aspects over and over again. Turns out the developers were listening, killed the series, and are planning on fixing things with WWE '12.
The stiff animations, the characters warping into place for certain moves, the confusing right analog stick controls for grapples -- WWE '12 is addressing all of that and feels good so far. That's pretty damn exciting.
Now, it would be easy to glance at screenshots and assume THQ and developer Yuke's Yokohama just dumped the WWE SmackDown vs. Raw name and called it a day. That's what I did. For a few days leading into my meeting, THQ had been telling me this game was going to be unlike any other WWE game I had seen, but when I finally laid eyes on it, WWE '12 sure did look similar to WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011.
Then, I started to play it. THQ and Yuke's didn't just change the name, they changed the game's DNA. There's a new animation system, new blending methods, something called "Predator Technology" -- basically, they went under the game's hood and ripped out all the old stuff that people hated and plugged in brand new parts to try and make the most fluid wrestling game around.
When John Cena's suplexing an opponent, a third Superstar can punch Cena and break up the move. You can do that for any move -- even Finishers and mini-games like the Royal Rumble eliminations. When you're slammed to the mat at the beginning of a bout, you're going to sell the move and get up at the same time so that the match keeps a fast-paced feel. When you're getting up from any move, you're going to have a window to strike before you're even to your feet. The goal is to have a game that feels like anything can happen from any position and eradicate that stiffness and clunkiness that has always been a calling card of WWE SmackDown vs. Raw.
For me, it all came together watching a three-man match. Orton laid out an opponent and went to the ring apron, Cena immediately started his 5-Knuckle Shuffle routine on the downed man, and as Cena was coming down, Randy Orton launched himself from the apron to land a splash. Orton hit, Cena hit, and Orton hit again. The sequence was polished and fast -- it looked like a spot from ECW of old. There was no blown animation as the character on the ground reacted to the first move and ignored the other.
People don't warp to the center of the ring for a 5-Knuckle Shuffle and similar moves anymore; the move happens where it happens. The ropes no longer stay awkwardly still during matches; you slam someone and the ring reacts. The tired fonts and menus of old have been ditched for a new setup. Visually, new shaders and tech have been introduced to make the game look better than ever. There's definition to the character's faces instead of the blur there was last year, and depth of field has been introduced to give the brand new arenas weight and realism.
The game, according to THQ, has been taken apart and put back together, and from the little I've seen, I believe them -- though the changes aren't monumental when you stare at a still image, they shine in motion.
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