WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW 2008 First-Look

THQ parts the curtains on this year's SmackDown! vs. RAW and gives a sneak peek at the Wii version of the game.

DETROIT--It's no surprise that the WWE and THQ chose this time of the year to debut the newest release in the SmackDown! vs. RAW series. This is WrestleMania 23 weekend, after all, and with the Pay-Per-View event returning to Detroit for the first time in 20 years, it's an ideal time to show off the next iteration in the popular wrestling series. Today THQ unwrapped the first details on WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW 2008 at a press conference, showing details of the game and giving a first-ever look at its Nintendo Wii debut.

One of the main areas of focus for the team behind the game has been to move away from the canned animations, outlandish HUD elements, and button mashing that defined so many of the earlier games in the series. The shift in focus will be realized in a number of different new features in SVR 2008, including new fighting styles and a new submission control system.

The fighting styles should have a dramatic effect on SVR 2008's gameplay. The game will include eight fighting styles, which both the WWE wrestlers and your created grapplers will be categorized into: hardcore, high flyer, submission artist, powerhouse, brawler, showman, dirty, and technical. While in previous SVR games you've always had the ability to assign different styles to your wrestlers, the game didn't always demonstrate a good sense of internal logic--consider the fact that you could easily have big man Kane pulling off high flyer moves normally reserved for the likes of Jeff Hardy or Rey Mysterio Jr. Now that won't be the case, as the new fighting styles will place wrestlers into the roles that better suit their real-life capabilities.

That isn't to say that the WWE superstars will be constrained, however. Indeed, each of the eight fighting styles in the game will have its own strengths, weaknesses, and special moves that no other fighting style will have. Consider the "dirty" wrestler, for example. In one gameplay clip THQ showed, a dirty Randy Orton used the referee as a human shield to prevent further attacks from Kane before shoving the referee into his opponent and knocking him down. As producers put it, using this special "referee shield" move will mean your opponent will not be able to attack you for a brief period of time.

A later clip showed some of the high flying moves, with Rey Mysterio pulling off his trademark aerial stunts against the much bigger Bobby Lashley. Speaking of Lashley, the WrestleMania 23 main eventer is a powerhouse in the game, both figuratively and literally. As a powerhouse, Lashley and fellow brutes like Kane and Batista will be able to power out of pinfalls, no matter how hurt they are (assuming they've got a finisher stored, that is).

Last year's SmackDown! vs. RAW introduced some new control elements to the game, stepping away from some of the button-mashing minigames and introducing things like the environmental hot spots and the analog stick-centric ultimate control moves. With SVR 2008, the submission control system takes one more step in the same direction with what producers are referring to as the struggle submission system. Now, locking up your opponent in a Boston crab, for example, will result in a sort of push-and-pull minigame between both players, one that is completely free of extraneous HUD elements and instead focuses on the animations of the two struggling grapplers themselves.

Once you've locked in your hold on your foe, you'll have a couple of options: Do you go for the ultimate power-submission move and try to get your opponent to tap out, or do you decrease the pressure, keep the hold on longer, and hope to wear down your opponent? You'll control these moves with the analog stick--the further you pull back on the stick, the more pressure you'll apply on the hold. No more timing minigames for the submissions, no more odd timing meters showing up onscreen; instead, you're focusing just on the wrestlers and their animations. During a clip showing off the new system, Randy Orton locked up Triple H in a painful-looking abdominal stretch; the clip demonstrated how as you apply pressure with the analog stick, your controlled wrestler's animation will wrench back to really put on the pressure.

The producers are also aiming to make sure that both players have control during these submissions, so that while the player initiating the hold is exerting pressure on his opponent, the "defending" player will be struggling to free him or herself from the hold. No word yet on how these struggles will actually play, as we haven't had a chance to try out the game for ourselves, but we're eager to see how it works.

Introduced two years ago, the general manager mode didn't get a huge upgrade in last year's game. That's set to change with the introduction of WWE 24/7 mode, which will combine the managerial options of GM mode with the career-oriented goals and storylines of the game's traditional season mode. Here your goal will be to take your chosen wrestler (be it a member of the WWE roster, or your created star) and guide their career from relative nobody to WWE Legend and ultimately, induction into the WWE Hall of Fame.

While actual details of how the two elements combine aren't fully known yet, we do know that 24/7 mode will include things like branching story paths, plenty of new cut scenes starring WWE talent, stat tracking, constantly updated goals, and a storyline that will take you and your wrestler through several seasons. Unlike in previous years' season mode, you won't be just going from one weekly event to the next in 24/7 mode; instead, you'll be responsible for your wrestlers' day-to-day activities, such as training and even attending autograph sessions with your fans.

In addition to the new features, SVR 2008 will also be making debuts on a number of gaming systems--including the Nintendo DS, PlayStation 3, and Nintendo Wii. At today's press event, we got a sneak peek at the Wii version of the game courtesy of two members from the Yuke's development team behind the game. The two developers, one of whom dressed as John Cena, the other as Triple H, took control of their respective superstar and proceeded to go to town on one another in the game, whipping their Wii remotes and nunchuks in all directions as the wrestlers on screen responded.

THQ isn't prepared to discuss the specifics of the Wii controls as of yet, but some things are already apparent. Basic strikes look to be controlled by the Wii remote. At one point, one player lifted his opponent up into a slam by lifting grappling his foe and then pushing up with the Wii remote. At another point, Triple H had Cena backed in the corner, stood up on the and proceeded to pound on "The Marine's" grill, with the user controlling each individual punch in the sequence. There was even a moment when the player controlling Triple H set off The Game's trademark "DX crotch chop" by... well, chopping at his crotch with the Wii remote and nunchuck. There's still more to learn about the Wii game's controls but judging by the amount of flailing and flapping the two developers were doing during the demo, it looks like it will definitely get your heart rate up.

What THQ can tell us about the Wii game is that it will be a strictly arcade wrestling experience, with the gameplay purposefully sped up to increase the action and big moves, while decreasing the more simulation aspects of other versions of the game. Case in point: characters in the Wii version of the game will not have stamina meters so, as with some other Wii games, it's going to be all-offense all the time. In addition to the Wii version, THQ also announced that a DS version of the game will also debut this year, featuring touch-screen control over your wrestler, more than 80 unique moves and holds, a season mode, and 20 WWE superstars from Raw, SmackDown!, and ECW.

Yeah, we said ECW. The formerly independent extreme wrestling league, now nicely folded into the WWE pantheon, will have a big presence in SVR 2008. From a gameplay standpoint that means new areans, new ECW-specific weapons, a lineup of ECW stars appearing in the game, and a third commentary team added to the game to handle ECW match duties--Joey Styles and Tazz.

Of course, no wrestling game worth its salt will release a new version with some updates to the standard create modes and online options and, though details are scarce, THQ and Yuke's look like they haven't forgotten these features. Online play will include more than 50 match types and the create modes will have new assets to use when creating your new superstar, his or her ring entrance, or championship belt. There's even word of a new interface for the CAW which is long overdue.

Obviously, this is just the first trickle of information on WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw 2008 this year, and we can expect a flood of further information to come as the year progresses. With the addition of the ECW roster, the game is due to ship with more than 50 playable superstars. The full list, of course hasn't been released but we do know that mainstays like The Undertaker, Kane, Triple H, and Bobby Lashley will be in the game. As always we're eager to see more and will be bringing you continuing coverage of the game as we lead up to its release in the fall.

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133 comments
defj360
defj360

does anybody like the game

GingerTom1993
GingerTom1993

i cnt wait to bash someones head in with sandman armed with a steel chair or swanton bomb off a ladder through a TABLE!

P4INL3SSD3ATH
P4INL3SSD3ATH

This will be a great game. I'm going to try to get it as soon as it comes out.

Kyran87
Kyran87

Getting this game the second it's out.

Ace1282
Ace1282

i hope to god that the commentary isnt like that in the official trailer 1

SataN_69_
SataN_69_

NO MORE GOD DAM LOADING SCREENS it ruined 2007 for me a loading screen to get to a freaking loading screen it takes forever to play the god dam game just ebcause of the loading.

Daelock
Daelock

Am I the only one who feels like this franchise is being held back by the PS2 version? It seems like they tailor it to that and then slap a coat of shiny paint (or in this case sweat) on it and put it on the 360/PS3

wwegamer101
wwegamer101

This game is gonna be so good. I'm buying this and the wii version.

TimDigit
TimDigit

There is literally no limit to the amount of CAWS or Legends that can be in this game; so with 60GB of storage; I hope thq doesn't stick to the only 30 CAWS per game slot; and seriously gives us more realistic CAW face models outfits and moves, hey why not create a finisher?!

mikkho14
mikkho14

This will rock our consoles. TNA is going to be a trash if they will release a game. ^_^

Extreme124
Extreme124

Hope you can play as loads more wrestlers including the announcers like Jim Ross & Michale Cole as they have been playable in the past & i would like to be able to hit them as it should be my right to, also when you put someone through and announcer table the announcers move more faster as they do that on tv & on PPV have the other brands announcers present if its a joined PPV's & let us select who we want to announce for our match & make the ring announcer present ringside during a match + i want outfits 2 pick from for every single superstar on the in game roster including divas & legends if they are included in this years game & i hope they let you play as people that are only meant for season mode like Vince McMahon, Stephanie ECT, great if you could play as the ref's & select what ref you want in your match like 6 ref's to pick from (Raw 2 had that feature) hopeing that the ref's will be able 2 bleed & they get more involved in the match, also make ref's run down to the ring when one is knocked out & have EMT's at ringside when the opponent is beaten to a bloody pulp & make them hittable. make a better story mode & the wrestlers all have sepeard story lines. also more freedom like being able to get in the crowd & walking backstage during a match, I hate when a match dosent get used on TV they take it out of the game like the Anywere Falls match (5star), Bra & Panties, 2 special referees. Also the buried alive match that was in 06/07 it is a casket match & its crap fix the match so their is just plain dirt & make it playable on any area, fix the Hell in a Cell so you can move more when you get out of the ring make more space out side the ring & let use go up the ramp & put steps outside the Cell & enable wepons 2 be picked from under the ring like a toolbox i realy want that in this years game & put a chain on the Cell door not 1 game has had that yet make the match unforgiven, Also create a wrestler make it so when you select their entrance music you can pick a song from the HDD would be one of the main things im hoping for in the game as people have songs for past wrestlers that they want to create if they arent in the game & make it look so well as they will have their entrance music, Add new matches for download like and Ambulance match, new create a wrestler items, new wrestlers. make this game the best of the series as far

snax13
snax13

about time they updated the CAW interface...hopefully they add a lot more stuff too!

TheDarkTwo
TheDarkTwo

you all r noobs. in order to play wwe svr 2007 like you would with 2006, just switch the control figuration to 'type d' and you'll play using the same control fig from wwe svr 2006.

elvis_35
elvis_35

just put the gameplay controls back to the way they are in 2006,2007 control sucked the big one! i bought it brand new the day it came out,played it twice,and put it on the shelf.

kookitto
kookitto

i hope we get all of those features on the PS2. long list before a PS3 :(

devious122799
devious122799

Just put in the crucifix powerbomb/razors edge and Im happy

johnnyauau
johnnyauau

Since this game is going to come out in November, hopefully they would add three things to my list before Christmas. SD card so you can play MP3 music in Dolby Pro Logic 2 quality, both classic and gamecube controller and hopefully it will be compatible in HD interlace/progressive quality including PAL60. My Gamecube game maybe the best but it's also annoying with such noise distortion and lower picture qualities that I wonder how are they going to update it for the Wii. My expectations are high on the list. If it gives that sort of treatment before Christmas, I'll definetely get this game.

jarmierulzalot
jarmierulzalot

What? the 07 controls were dope once u get the hang of them

ECWFREAK
ECWFREAK

i agree i hate the controls in the 2007 game

xrateddan
xrateddan

THQ if the only thing you do to the new WWE is change the controls back to the ones from 2006: it will make a 50 times better game... The 2007: controls are almost impossible to pick up and play, which limits the games best feature, the ability to pick up and play!

loda92
loda92

i think it will be a freaky cooooooooool ecw raw smack down jooooooooooohn cena aaaaaaaaaaaaaah

lil_champ_15
lil_champ_15

yeah i agree they should work on gm mode the most because thats my fav. and you should have cut scenes or somthing like that but yeah thats the most important thing to work on.

lil_champ_15
lil_champ_15

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

el_nino_de_oro
el_nino_de_oro

smackdown vs. raw 2007 aint that bad, but it could use some rehashing especially in the gm mode. all features in the game should be included in the mode from championship introductions to the pre game belt raising by the referee which was not present in the previous game. some cut scenes should be included judging from the angles that you pick and certain angles should have certain repercussions. like for example, the loser leaves the brand story line should automatically boot out the real loser of the rivalry. there should also be fair logic between the superstars in the rival promotion and the user controlled promotion, like the rival superstars should also have full fatigue effects and injuries, not like in the previous game, superstars in the other show are doing hi risk matches every week and they only incur half a bar of fatigue. and also the moods in both of the show should affect the organization, having a reporter to snoop around the other show would help, to find out if there are unsatisfied superstars that you can pry to join your show. and they would actually join you or the manager in the other show would be forced to trade you the star, otherwise he would cause trouble. the gm mode should be focusedin this years game. cause in its unperfect state right now, you can still find a chock full of strategy and challenge, how much more if it would be perfected. the season mode should only run for a year, a whole year of hefty story lines and cut scenes should be enough. its really boring to have it free flowing and seeing the same angles all over again. hope thq will let the fans hands on on the game this year. so it would be more enjoyable to smack the yella out of your opponents teeth and put a hurting on them as fun as possible. haha.. my thanks and congratulations to the whole staff of the smackdown franchise for keeping us fans longing and waiting for a more interesting wrestling game each year. you guys ROCK!!! and that's the bottomline!

ECWFREAK
ECWFREAK

i hope they bring back nthe old controls like in 2006 b/c i didnt like the controls in 2007

mervin_1977
mervin_1977

i hope they get rid of the ice skating this year. they kind of did last year but still could be improved. other than that should be a sweet game. It would be nice if they added a gear mode like the day of reckoning had and making your own face paint etc.

sonic_rider06
sonic_rider06

well personally i can't wait for the release of the game it's driving me nuts im playing Smackdown vs. Raw2007 just not to go crazy!!! nah just kidding but no really im really anchus for the next game

ECWFREAK
ECWFREAK

I hope that there is bobwire ropes and burning tables also i hope they have a extreme story mode

RONEEL7
RONEEL7

This game is going to be great and I like beblob's picture

mooreon13
mooreon13

I hope Kevin Thorns in the game

beblob
beblob

they always manage to outdo the older game with some new every time, its good to see. can't wait

raziellich
raziellich

Finally, Kane will be raining hellfire and brimstone on every console!

johnnyauau
johnnyauau

This is like Def Jam Fight For New York, even better. More commentary, more wrestlers, more music, more gameplay, even more graphics. You're telling me that this game marks the next generation of wrestling? I'll look forward to seeing this game rock everyone's world. Hopefully I would love to see the computers fight each other while I rest. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

jynx320
jynx320

I can't wait. This game is going to be awesone. Anyword on the what Legends will be in it? I know it is a stretch, but I would love to see Savage as one.

gta11
gta11

Looks AWESOME!!!!!

T-nosh
T-nosh

hopin that this story line has alot of scence in it. And that we dont have to read everytrhin that they are sayin cause at some point there are words and phrases that we would like them to say in there own voices.

wwegamer101
wwegamer101

They don't include ECW in the name. They should call it Smackdown vs. Raw: ECW Invasion. Other than that the game looks AWSOME!!!

KingKoop
KingKoop

Never been a big wrestling fan but the games are always fun!

hardturok
hardturok

Looks promising!! i hope motion control works with wrestlers moving like robots!!

Ruiparvo
Ruiparvo

looks cool i will get it no doubts

luis_aek
luis_aek

At least.. Some action for the Wii :D

ceilinglamp001
ceilinglamp001

In any smackdown vs raw game you can turn off stamina but, im happy it is completely going to be gone it was a waste of a button on the controller. I certainly hope RVD,Sabu and sandman are in it usin sandmans kendo stick would also be pretty sweet.