As previously reported
, the Smackdown vs. Raw franchise has been renamed to the much simpler WWE '12
. The changes reach far deeper than a new name, as the gameplay, animations and even the menu screens are being re-designed from the ground up.
In an exclusive with IGN
, Yuke's, the long time developer of the Smackdown vs. Raw games, detailed a few of the changes to the gameplay. For starters, the right analog stick grappling system is gone, the old graphics engine is gone, the old animations are gone.
The "Predator Technology" is taking the place of all of those old gameplay systems and old graphics engines. One of my personal biggest issues with the old engine was the way a character would teleport to the center of the ring when you went to hit them with The People's Elbow, The Worm or The 5-Knuckle Shuffle. Now the move happens where it happens and characters can disrupt the animation to stop the move.
Instead of using the right analog stick for grapples, the face buttons on the controller are back to being used for Grapples, Strikes, Pins and Finishers. You can still specifically target your opponent's limbs, body or head which causes lasting damage to your opponent and changes how quickly they can move, how hard they can hit, etc.
One of the largest additions revealed at this time are Wake Up Taunts. If you watched Smackdown in the last year, you may have noticed how Edge sets up for his finisher, The Spear. He knocks his opponent down, crouches in the corner and bounces up and down, gesturing for his opponent to get up. In WWE '12
, you can knock your opponent down and then trigger a Wake Up Taunt which will have your character go into their taunt animation, ending with the opponent being perfectly set up for a finisher. This was done to make the game more closely resemble what you see on TV (or your monitor).
Another new mechanic is the Dynamic Comeback. Take enough damage and, just like in any of SNK's fighters, you can launch a devastating combo attack that will clear the ring of all the other combatants and automatically gain two stored finishers. You have one chance to pull off a Dynamic Comeback per match, so make it count.
Finally, the AI has, according to Yuke's, been greatly improved. Now the AI will remember your play-style and adjust accordingly, which means no more running grapple spam.
With promises of a new graphics engine, faster combat and a less clunky, mechanical feel to the gameplay WWE '12
sounds like it is truly to bring about a fresh beginning for a franchise that was growing stagnant.