WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw going online, getting authentic voice talent

THQ's PlayStation 2 game will be the first wrestling game to feature head-to-head online play, and it will sport real wrestlers' voices.

After months of "no comment," THQ has revealed that WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw will indeed have online play. Though THQ officials did not dole out many details, they did say SmackDown! vs. Raw would offer online head-to-head bouts. Since the game is PlayStation 2 exclusive, it will obviously not be on Xbox Live.

Although SmackDown! vs. Raw will be the first wrestling game with online play in the US, it is not the first such game in the world. In May, SmackDown! developer Yuke's and Enix released Online Pro Wrestling: The Champion of the Network in Japan.

Set for release in November 2004, WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw will combine characters from the WWE's Smackdown! and Raw franchises. It will feature an improved grappling and submission system, as well as new strategic elements, features, and mechanics. THQ also revealed that the game will feature the actual voices of almost all the wrestlers featured in the game. The only exceptions will be for classic mat warriors, such as the late Andre the Giant, who are obviously unavailable.

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