With the release of "WWE '13" just weeks away, THQ held an exclusive press event at Skylight West Studios in Manhattan, N.Y., to announce new details about the highly anticipated video game. On hand for the festivities were WWE Legend Mick Foley, Raw General Manager AJ Lee and Paul Heyman. (PHOTOS)
Also present were THQ President Jason Rubin and Creative Director of WWE Games, Cory Ledesma, who kicked off the event with a 40-minute presentation to the numerous press outlets in attendance. In addition to showing off even more in-game features of the previously announced Attitude Era single-player campaign mode, Ledesma revealed that Paul Heyman had a big hand in bringing back that most beloved of times to gaming consoles.
"We went to Paul Heyman to provide some creative direction on the storylines that are taking place in the Universe mode experience," Ledesma told WWE.com. "We relied on Heyman heavily. It’s almost like he executive produced the Universe mode." Heyman’s involvement as the writer of the Attitude Era campaign suited the creative force behind ECW well. "I have a certain kinship with fans of that era," Heyman said, "So I got a chance to relive the Attitude Era and update it into the Universe mode for this game."
Since there's now an entire generation of WWE Universe members who were not old enough to remember the Attitude Era, Heyman says, " 'WWE '13' presents a double opportunity. For fans of the Attitude Era, this is a dream come true." Heyman added, "For fans that have never been exposed to the Attitude Era, they’re about to get their first taste of 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin, The Rock, The Brothers of Destruction, DX and Mankind. This is a great way to introduce these [Superstars] to the new generation of the WWE Universe."
Heyman's involvement behind the scenes wasn't the only major announcement that THQ had in store, however.
At the New York City press event, THQ also unveiled Mankind’s chapter in the Attitude Era campaign. Mankind’s Attitude Era journey joins the storylines of D-Generation X, Austin 3:16, The Brothers of Destruction, The Great One and WrestleMania XV in the revolutionary single-player campaign. Talking about what it means to be featured so prominently in the game, Mick Foley said, "As a dad, nothing refutes my youngest [child’s] claim that I was a 'stinky' wrestler."
Mankind was undoubtedly a huge part of what made the Attitude Era so special to so many fans. The sight of The Undertaker standing atop Hell in a Cell as Mankind lie amid shattered pieces of the announce table is one that is forever emblazoned in WWE lore. AJ Lee talked about Foley's impact, saying, "Mankind is such a huge part of the Attitude Era. I think everyone wants to play the Hell in a Cell moment." Speaking of younger WWE Universe members, AJ added, "They may know Mankind as Mick Foley, but now they can see a side of him they’ve never seen."
While Foley’s inclusion in "WWE '13" may not come as a surprise to members of the WWE Universe, The Hardcore Legend himself was taken aback by the honor of playing such a major role in the game.
"I cannot tell you how excited I am!" Foley said through his trademark smile. "This experience keeps escalating — I went from knowing I was going to be part of ['WWE '13'] and honestly being very thankful for that opportunity, to finding out that I would be voicing over the Three Faces of Foley and that I would be a focus of this game." During the extensive voice over process, Foley was able to relive some of his greatest WWE moments.
THQ has gone to great pains to ensure that those moments were faithfully recreated. Cory Ledesma said, "Fans really care about the roster, the entrances. We spent a lot of time making sure they looked authentic, and we’re really proud of that." When asked about the extreme measures taken by THQ to accurately represent every facet of that era, Foley added, "They even have the rip in the tights that showed the singlet underneath. The attention to detail is just stunning."
In addition to Mankind’s storyline, THQ announced that the "Off Script" mode will allow gamers to play through other major moments of the Attitude Era, such as Chris Jericho’s Monday Night Raw debut and the first episode of SmackDown.
Foley perfectly summed up the intent of THQ’s latest offering, saying, "My big speech to CM Punk [on the Sept. 24 episode of Raw] was about great moments, and 'WWE '13' is recapturing the great moments of the Attitude Era."
And, since "WWE '13" is all about moments, perhaps the best moment of the day came when AJ Lee had a chance to sit down and play the game for the first time — something she told WWE.com she wouldn’t do until her DLC character became available. Thanks to some tinkering on the part of THQ, though, the Raw GM was able to play as herself. Her opponent? Stephanie McMahon!
AJ, who is an avid gamer, did her best Joey Styles impersonation, yelling, "Oh, my God!" as she watched her character’s video game entrance play out. A clearly thrilled AJ went on to defeat Stephanie in a (virtual) match, and to make a prediction about next year’s THQ Challenge, saying she hopes to repeat her win from last year, this time playing as herself.
Before the day’s events wrapped up, though, Paul Heyman made a guarantee of his own. "My kids are really big gamers, and for me they are the ultimate test audience," he told WWE.com. "They tell me which games are cool, and which ones aren’t, and they really love this game. They really, truly dig this game, so I can, with great confidence state, that 'WWE '13' is a cool game."