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The future of SmackDown vs. Raw

Recently, GamesRadar got the chance to sit down with THQ's director of development, Keith Kirby, to talk about the company's immensely popular wrestling videogames. Kirby discussed working with the WWE, how the writing process will change in future games and the upcoming competition from Midway's TNA Wrestling title. He also talked about the company's acquisition of the UFC license and THQ's stance on being the preeminent publisher of videogames featuring sweaty men grappling in tights. Read on the learn how long Kirby would last in the figure-four and about his Rey Mysterio shrine (creepy).

GamesRadar: What are some of the challenges of working with unique property like WWE?

Keith Kirby: Well, we try to make the game as close to the brand as possible. We try to incorporate everything that the WWE is into our products. And most of what makes the WWE what it is, is the talent - the superstars themselves. The WWE gives unprecedented access to their talent. It's actually shocking how much time their talent devotes to our products, considering how busy their talent is and how much traveling they have to do. The challenge here is finding out clever ways to take advantage of the access we have without interrupting the superstars' travel schedules.

One of the assets we have is a $500,000 bus that follows the WWE shows around the country. That bus has all the equipment needed to record voiceovers of the superstars. We have a staff of seven people on the bus that direct and help record the audio. The WWE is gracious enough to let us park our bus behind theirs. When the superstars have a little bit of extra time, the WWE allows us to bring the superstars on the bus and record audio for the games. That shows how much THQ is willing to put into the game and how hard the WWE works to give us access to their talent. That's been one of the biggest challenges and I think we've done well with it.

GR: How closely does the WWE monitor how you use its talent?

KK: They monitor it very closely. We've been working with the brand for quite awhile, so we've learned what we can do and what we can't do over the years. Still, everything we do is double checked. There are people at the WWE that monitor us and make sure we're doing everything right. Of course the legal department is involved. The WWE is constantly keeping an eye on us. There's very little that we do that they haven't looked at several different times. They really care about their brand, they really care about their superstars, and they want to make sure that we deliver a great product.

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