SmackDown! confidential - part 1

Can you give us an idea of what to expect this year, in terms of new features?

TC: Overall, this year, there are four major gameplay... features. Fighting out in the crowd area is one. It's something you see in the WWE a lot, where someone gets thrown over the rail, and they're out there in the crowd. It's something we've always wanted to be able to do. This is one that started out as a next-gen feature, because we could do it on next-gen, and then we kind of rolled it back and saw we could do it on PS2 and PSP as well. But it's something that, finally, we've gotten to do, that we've wanted to do for a while.

Another one is the environmental grapples. That's kind of a big change, because wrestling is basically two guys fighting, but a big part of pro wrestling is what kind of dirty tricks you can do with the stuff around the ring? And we've had weapons, and you can throw people into the posts, but this is a big addition, and we're making more use of dirty tricks you can do around the ring.

Another big one is the chain-reversal system. This one isn't a big technical challenge, but it's a big gameplay element. Because it's a game, we have this basic mechanic where you get up close to each other, you grab each other, and the guy who grabs the other guy first gets to put a throw on him. But in pro wrestling, the way it really works is they grab each other, and there's this back-and-forth where one guy grabs the other guy's arm, and the other guy spins around him, and spins around his back, and whoever wins that little struggle then gets to throw the other guy. So it's a chain-reversal system, we can now do that, and represent that important part of pro wrestling as well.

Mikel Reparaz
After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.