Interview: Hitting the turnbuckles with RetroMania Wrestling

Let’s be honest. The landscape of wrestling games these days hasn’t been earth-shattering. WWE 2K20 wasn’t the best AAA game out there by a mile; and WWE Battle Grounds, while an improvement, still fell victim to corporate planning via its microtransactions.

However, not all is lost. Fire Pro Wrestling World has a great community; and there’s also RetroMania Wrestling, a loving follow-up to the classic WWE Wrestlefest. Now, of course, it’s not licensed by any group, but it does have a number of superstars to its credit. The game has been out for Steam for a little while now, and it drops on Xbox One this Tuesday, with a release to follow afterwards on Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4.

We recently caught up with the game’s team lead, Michael Hermann, to discuss how the game came together, its reception, and what fans can expect in the long haul. What a rush, indeed.

First off, congrats on the Steam launch of the game! How has feedback been thus far?

So far so good. We had one little hiccup at the beginning but I am proud we are at 86% Very Positive rating on Steam which is awesome.

Why do you think it’s taken so long for a WWF Wrestlefest-style game to hit the market? Do you believe there just wasn’t any interest at the time in retro wrestling, or maybe something different?

I think it is because making wrestling games is pretty hard. There is a ton of artwork that goes into a game like this. It has been no easy task getting this done!

How did you go about putting the roster together for the game? Must’ve been difficult with so much talent belonging to official companies.

Licensing was difficult. We had to navigate ownership of all the wrestling gimmicks and seeing who we could get and who we could afford. But I really targeted guys I liked. We were really going for an eclectic roster and I think we have a great one!

What kind of modes are incorporated into the game? Are there any that are considered fan favorites at the moment?

Right now we have Story mode, 10 Lbs of Gold, Retro Rumble and Versus. I think everyone likes them all! It is a great mix of game modes to keep people busy trying all the different types of matches. 

How have the live broadcasts for the game been going? Any chance we can get a Blue Meanie show going?

They have been great! We love to pop into  streams and see who is playing. As for the Meanie, you never know!

Any word on the console versions just yet? We know they’ve been delayed, we assume you’re just making sure they’re good to go before they launch.

Xbox is coming March 23rd. Switch shortly after, just trying to confirm with Nintendo. We are waiting to hear back from Sony.

What’s the word on DLC? We’ve already seen some announced wrestlers, but is there anything else you can tell us about what’s in store?

Nothing at this time. We are planning our DLC and have already started to work on it. More details to come soon.

What’s the biggest challenge when it comes to making a “retro” wrestling game such as this?

Well, most of the difficulties have been due to my inexperience making games. Estimating time frames has been tough. Everything is always more complicated than you think it will be. But we are just about over the finish line.

And finally…what does the future hold for Retromania? Could we see a sequel down the road? Or is it too soon to tell?

Who knows?!? We are keeping our options open and we will see what happens after our initial launch.

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