An AEW video game release date is still to be confirmed, but the signings of Bryan Danielson and CM Punk have only heightened anticipation for its new sim brawler. Developed by former WWE Smackdown studio Yuke's, it's the last in a trio of AEW digital experiences, with AEW Double Or Nothing and AEW Elite GM having emerged in 2021. What can we expect, and where can you see the first footage? Answers to those questions nestle below, in your AEW video game guide.
Watch the AEW video game trailer
The first AEW teaser trailer dropped in November 2020, and features Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho smacking one another in the face – before a surprise interruption. You can see it right now on Youtube.
See more AEW video game footage
Yes! In addition to the first trailer, a sneak peek of in-match gameplay landed in June 2021. It showcases the character model for Darby Allin, and demonstrates him performing a punch, a springboard back elbow, and an Irish whip outside the ring into the apron. You can see it at the 8:10 mark of the above video.
AEW video game release date looks to be 2023
The first AEW video game release date for your diary is 'out now'. It applies to AEW Casino: Double Or Nothing, which launched on 26 February for Android and iOS devices. It does what it says on the tin, offering “AEW-branded versions of slots, blackjack, poker and roulette, along with AEW music, sounds, videos, wrestler virtual avatars, gift packs and more”. In an intriguing twist, players can score real AEW merch and prizes via live tournaments and sweepstakes. Cool.
Next up was AEW Elite GM, a mobile offering available on both Android and iOS devices. The company describes it as “the evolution of the GM simulator genre, taking the strategic elements of simulation and fantasy games to create a competitive and engaging space for the wrestling community to take part in”.
The rest of this guide is focused on the upcoming AEW sim wrestling game, which is bound for PS5 and Xbox Series X on a release date TBC - likely sometime in 2023. With a very famous name at its helm…
The AEW video game developer is Yuke's
2000 N64 release WWE No Mercy is considered legendary in virtual wrestling circles, and when news of an AEW game broke in 2018, Japanese developer Syn Sophia was strongly linked to the project. Fans responded with unrestrained glee: Syn Sophia is the current name of famed No Mercy developer AKI Corporation.
However, those rumours proved false. It’s another Japanese studio renowned for its wrestling prowess which is overseeing AEW’s console debut. Yuke’s has been synonymous with digitised powerbombs and spinebusters since the release of PS1 classic WWF Smackdown, again in 2000, and 2K’s decision to cut ties with the developer midway through the creation of WWE 2K20 is seen as the main reason for its downfall. (Which infamously led to WWE 2K21 being cancelled.)
Yuke’s reputation slipped a little after control of the former Smackdown series passed from THQ to 2K. Yet that’s precisely why the switch to making AEW games should trigger excitement: it’s a fresh start for a revered developer with a point to prove. And there is one AKI Corporation connection, too. No Mercy creator Hideyuki “Geta” Iwashita is attached to the project in an advisory role.
Who’ll make the AEW video game roster?
A host of long-time WWE names are certain to feature major roles in the AEW sim. Chris Jericho is one: he was among the first three wrestlers confirmed, along with fellow main eventer Kenny Omega and longest-serving women’s champ Hikaru Shida. Darby Allin was the fourth name confirmed, by way of the June 2022 video footage mentioned above. Jungle Boy has also since been added.
Former Shield member Dean Ambrose is a lock to appear under his AEW name of Jon Moxley: ditto Miro (known in WWE as Rusev), Jake Hager (Jack Swagger), Pac (Neville), Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy.
Massive 2021 signings CM Punk, Bryan Danielson and Ruby Soho are also certain inclusions after making the jump to AEW from WWE.
Expect Brodie Lee (Luke Harper) to appear too. Real name Jon Huber, the big man passed away in December 2020 at the age of just 41. AEW has kept his legacy alive with moves such as awarding his son Brodie Jr the red TNT Championship belt, and you suspect a role in the video game will be another small sign of tribute to a man beloved by his contemporaries.
For a more detailed look at those we expect to make the cut, check out GR’s AEW roster guide.
AEW video game legends must include Sting
Appealing to old-school fans is critical when it comes to sales of wrestling games, which is why WWE repeatedly crams its sim offerings, and more offbeat efforts such as WWE 2K Battlegrounds, full of famous names from yesteryear. Yet while both FIFA 21 and PES 2021 offered the opportunity to play as Diego Maradona, Frank Rijkaard and Fernando Torres, there’s less-than-zero chance of The Rock or Steve Austin appearing in a TNA game.
However, the hot newcomer can call upon some familiar veteran names, in addition to Jericho and the Hardyz. Former WCW world champion Sting – himself a major attraction of WWE 2K in recent times – debuted in 2020 and will surely be front and centre of the video game. Arn Anderson, Billy Gunn, Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts and Taz all have on-air roles and could receive makeovers to represent their prime years, and Bret Hart can also be considered an outside bet. The ‘Hitman’ has never been shy of criticising WWE and made a surprise one-off appearance for AEW at Double Or Nothing in May 2019.
“I do have a lot of fondness for what they’re trying to do, and I support them,” he said at the time. “I hope they become a real big wrestling company in the next year.” Well, that last part came true…
What can we expect from AEW gameplay?
According to Omega, a massive gaming fan as well as a main eventer, this won’t be like Yuke’s wrestling sims of yesteryear. “The biggest challenge we have right now is kind of representing the current wrestling style in a way that still makes it feel like the games of old,” he tells Talksport. “Because things have changed, it’s not the same wrestling climate as it was in 2000.”
That first footage suggests that this will be a Smackdown-No Mercy hybrid, offering a degree of realism but equally focussed on weighty fisticuffs and blockbuster moves. In case you didn’t watch it, its big surprise is female grappler Hikaru Shida pummelling Omega at its climax, suggesting male vs female matches – a colossal no-no in recent WWE games – are in. Create-a-wrestler and online modes are also confirmed.
AEW video game live updates
Are AEW video game live updates a possibility? Yes, according to Omega in his Talksport interview. A major drawback of recent WWE games was the series’ inability to keep up with new signings, surprise departures or other roster changes in a similar vein to FIFA, Madden, NBA 2K or MLB The Show. Omega says changing the perception of wrestling games staying locked for an entire calendar year is a priority for both AEW and Yuke’s.
“As great as it is on launch, as our roster grows – let’s say we add a pay-per-view name, add a new arena, let’s say we sign whoever, anybody! – we want to be able to support those new additions as well… Hopefully the new additions/updates will be really prompt. That’s the plan anyway! So everyone can feel up to date with our roster, and how AEW grows.”