SarahOConnell Interview

Here is the transcript of my interview with , discussing WWE Day Of Reckoning 2 for GameCube.

INTERVIEWS: WWE Day of Reckoning 2 Interview

PGC gets the lowdown on THQ's WWE Day of Reckoning 2 for the GameCube.

Written: 08/29/2005

Planet GameCube: What is your name and role with Day of Reckoning 2?

Mark O'Connell: My name is Mark O’Connell, and I am the Project Coordinator for WWE Day of Reckoning 2.

PGC: How does DoR 2 appeal to fans of the previous game?

MO'C: WWE Day of Reckoning 2’s Story Mode features the first ever sequel to a WWE product, as the rivalries and storylines continue straight on from the events in the original WWE Day of Reckoning video game. Instead of having to start from the bottom of the ladder again, this year when you create a Superstar, he will be an established main-eventer. Storylines are much deeper this year, exploring themes such as friendship, deception, vindication and even romance, as your girlfriend is none other than Stacy Keibler! The story is easy to pick up for newcomers, and there are loads of references for established fans of the series.

The game play from DOR1 has also been vastly improved to create a much deeper, rewarding experience in DOR2. First, we have implemented a stamina system so that everything you do has a positive or negative effect on your current stamina level. Performing a lot of moves in quick succession, running, climbing, and even picking up heavy weapons contribute to your Superstar becoming out of breath. This greatly changes the pace of the match and encourages players to think carefully about their actions. Of course, different Superstars also have different stamina levels, so Rey Mysterio will perform completely differently than Big Show.

Additionally, DOR2 features a new submission system that allows you to pick from four different tactics. You can choose to inflict maximum damage for a higher chance of your opponent tapping out. Alternately you can drain your opponent’s stamina, rest to regenerate your own stamina or increase your momentum. At the same time, your opponents have an opportunity to try and predict which of the four submission types you are going to select (with the C-Stick). If they guess correctly, then the hold will be instantly broken. This adds a new layer of strategy to game play, as you are trying to select the best submission type for your current situation, and your opponent is attempting to anticipate your decision.

Another area that has seen a huge improvement is the visuals. Every Superstar has received a 25-30% increase in polygons, in addition to improved textures, lighting and animations, making them more lifelike then ever before. There are now three levels of blood on the models, which even drips onto the canvas as your Superstar takes more damage. This has all been implemented in Create-A-Superstar mode as well, so your unique creations now look every bit as good as their WWE counterparts. Even the crowd is much better looking, as they have finally taken the leap into full 3D.

A Last Man Standing Match has been added to exhibition mode, joining established favorites such as Cage, TLC and Hell in a Cell. Additionally, I have good news for WWE Diva fans, as this year’s Bra and Panty match has a schoolgirl theme!

PGC: How does DoR 2 appeal to gamers new to the series and perhaps new to wrestling games in general?

MO'C: DOR2 is made easy for newcomers to pick up and play, as they may otherwise be intimidated with the complex nature of wrestling games. Players can hone their skills in the Tutorial, which includes a multitude of basic and advanced controls, a test and many useful game play tips. In addition to the established reversals system, we have also implemented a new assisted defense system. This allows beginners to block strike or grapple attempts without having to worry about the timing associated with reversals. It is also possible to pull off an impressive array of moves and hold your own before learning the more advanced controls available and upping the difficulty level.

PGC: The WWE's roster is always changing. Could you give us a little insight into the process of determining which wrestlers will be present in the game? What level of influence does the WWE have in the process, and how much input do THQ and the developer get?

MO'C: It is important to include a balanced mixture of heavyweights, cruiserweights, Divas, main eventers and up-and-coming Superstars. We work closely with WWE to provide the best roster possible, and we are all really excited about this year’s lineup. In addition to established Superstars such as John Cena, Batista, Triple H, The Undertaker and Kurt Angle, DOR2 features the video game debut of Chris Masters, Paul London, Snitsky, Carlito Cool, Heidenreich and Christy Hemme. Also included are five of the greatest WWE Legends of all time: The Rock, Mankind, Stone Cold, Bret “Hitman” Hart and the immortal Hulk Hogan! In total there are over 40 Superstars, all with unique attributes and characteristics.

PGC: How often during development does THQ have to change the wrestling games due to changes in the WWE environment? (e.g. switching alliances, title belts changing hands, etc.) Does DoR's shift to a more original story mitigate this problem to any degree?

MO'C: We always aim to keep our products as accurate and up to date as possible. As the WWE is constantly evolving, having an original story certainly helps alleviate a lot of these issues. Surprise roster drafts, releases and alliance changes always keep us on our toes - especially if they occur late in a game’s production!

PGC: The DoR games only allow for four wrestlers on-screen at once, compared to six in the PS2 games. Why couldn't you add the extra two superstars on the GameCube for a game mode like, say, the Royal Rumble, even if they would only be computer controlled?

MO'C: DOR2 really pushed the limits of the GameCube this year, both visually and in terms of game play. Adding two CPU-controlled Superstars was definitely a lower priority then the other key features we put in, as there are only a few match types that would have featured six Superstars anyway.

PGC: What is the hardest part of the WWE experience to replicate in a video game?

MO'C: We are always looking for new ways to improve our products and feel the new game play additions to DOR2 really help recreate the overall WWE experience like never before.

PGC: What do you wish that you could have added to this game that you couldn't due to time constraints?

MO'C: We actually got everything into the game that was planned and are very pleased with the results!

PGC: In what ways do you feel that you've advanced the wrestling game genre with this release?

MO'C: DOR2 has taken huge steps to improve the strategy and pacing of a wrestling match, which truly adds a whole new level of realism to game play.

PGC: Is there anything else you'd like to say to our readers about DoR 2?

MO'C: We are really excited about DOR2 and worked hard to meet and exceed fan expectations to create the definitive wrestling title on the GameCube!

PGC: Thanks very much for your time!

MO'C: Thank you for taking the time to put these questions together. WWE Day of Reckoning 2 is available in stores now!

Interview by Jonathan Metts

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