SmackDown! exposed: 'We weren't sure what we were doing!'

Friday 19 May 2006
With the long running WWE SmackDown! series about to make the transition to next-gen - SmackDown! vs Raw 2007 will be released on PS3 and Xbox 360 later this year, alongside PS2 and PSP versions - we were recently given a rare opportunity to quiz the masterminds behind the game, the Yokohama-based development team Yuke's.

In part one of our exclusive interview, we quiz them on next-gen difficulties, how they sidestep not being able to motion-capture top WWE stars, and what their favourite SmackDown! games have been so far...

How difficult a transition is it moving from current generation systems to the new consoles?
Hiromi Furuta (senior vice president and SmackDown! producer, Yuke's): From PS2 to next generation has not been that difficult a transition. We're not actually finished yet but, so far, it hasn't been so difficult.

Probably the most difficult part of the project this year will be how we filter the game back to PS2 and, especially, PSP. That's one of the goals - to have our main features on all the platforms.

Have you found that's actually limited what you can do on next-gen consoles, because you're always thinking in the back of your mind, "Well, I've got to get that working on PSP as well"?
HF: We can't really say there are no limits on what we can do for next-gen, but we try not to be too limited in what we do. Basically we think of next-gen first and then think, "What's the closest we can come to that on each platform going back?"

What's been the hardest thing to implement in current-gen? The fighting within the crowd?
HF: It's not so much feature-specific. The main difficulty is that processing the game uses up tons of memory for the animation. We're always very tight on memory and all these new features, whether it's fighting in the crowd or the interactive grapples, there's just tons of new animation. We're already stuffed to the gills on PS2 and had a lot of trouble last year getting everything in PSP.