The state of wrestling games right now is a little mixed, to say the least. Sure, we have Fire Pro Wrestling to keep us occupied. But there’s also WWE 2K20, one of the worst wrestling games released over the past few years, riddled with glitches and unwanted content.
While 2K attempts to fan the flames with the exciting-looking WWE Battlegrounds, there’s a new champ on the horizon – Retromania Wrestling. A spiritual successor to the classic WWF Wrestlefest from Technos, this classic looks to channel old-school gameplay and visuals, with a roster of indie favorites including Tommy Dreamer, The Blue Meanie and many more.
Michael Hermann of Retrosoft Studios sat down with us to discuss the forthcoming game, which will put gamers in a headlock on consoles and PC. Grab a steel chair and have a seat as we delve into this soon-to-be classic.
DVS: Why do you think big companies aren’t taking a chance on arcade-style wrestling games anymore? You’d think that something like a Wrestlefest or WWE All-Stars remake would be doing big business right now.
Michael: Well, in general, I think part of the reason is there is only one wrestling company up until recently for the last few years. We use to get a lot of different games but lately that has not been the case. Also, from a development standpoint, wrestling games are pretty challenging to make so that may be another reason you don’t see as many of them.
DVS: Where did you guys come up with the idea of doing your own wrestling game? Were you playing Wrestlefest one night and something just went off inside your heads, or…?
Michael: More or less, haha. Several years ago I wanted to figure out how to get the Macho Man into the original Wrestlefest. Retromania is the result. We could not get Macho Man, but we have a pretty cool roster none the less. This project started as a hobby and eventually morphed into a commercial project.
Building the Roster
DVS: How did you go about putting the roster together? We see some “fantasy” stars in here, but also real wrestlers like The Blue Meanie.
Michael: Actually, all the wrestlers in the game are real wrestlers at this point. (we may add some fantasy start later). It was pretty easy to sign the guys. A person working with me by the name of Mike Archer was pretty connected to a lot of talent which made it easy for us to sign talent to the game. By the way, Blue Meanie is awesome!
DVS: How did some wrestlers react when you pitched them the idea of your wrestling game? Were they excited to be involved with the old school again?
Michael: It was mixed but all positive. Some of the guys are gamers and were really excited to be a part of it. Others were excited but it was more from a business standpoint and a chance to continue to build their brand. All the guys are cool to work with.
Modes and More
DVS: How many different modes will be included in the game? Will there be a special steel cage match? We’ve seen hints of one.
Michael: Singles, Tag, 6 Man tag, 8 Man Tag, 3-Way, 4-way, Story mode, and Retro Rumble. And yes, there will be cages!!!
DVS: How has the anticipation been for the game thus far? We heard you had a big showing at PAX East back in February.
Michael: It has been great! We get over 100 comments a day across our social media which has grown to about 65,000 strong. People are very interested in what we are doing and that feels great. PAX East was great. A couple of hundred people were able to play the game and we received a ton of great positive feedback. Definitely still a lot of work to do, but it was super encouraging that we are on the right track.
DVS: Is the game just about finished? Do you still anticipate a summer release?
Michael: Right now the target is July. But due to recent world events, we may have to push a little bit, but we are still working towards that goal.
DVS: Will you be expanding the roster at all with additions?
Michael: We are now going to have 16 wrestlers at launch and will have some DLC. The amount will be determined by how successful the game is.
DVS: If you could have one old-school wrestler that isn’t in the game yet, who would you like it to be? Licensing be damned.
Michael: My first favorite wrestler was Magnum TA. He was in the NWA and Jim Crockett Promotions. He was my favorite when I was 10 years old and I hope to be able to get him in the game someday.