When the AEW video game finally launches, it will certainly be one with a lot of behind-the-scenes stories to tell.
Slated to be known as AEW Fight Forever, the game has been in development for almost two years at this point with an expected release date of fall 2022. While many fans are hoping for a game that will compete right away with the likes of the WWE 2K series, expectations may need to be tempered a bit.
SGO has learned that there has been a lot of discourse between the teams from AEW Games and Yuke’s. Though that’s not unheard of for video game development, especially for a brand-new title with a new partnership, this discourse has been far from positive.
Sources have indicated that the relationship with Yuke’s and AEW, specifically Kenny Omega, isn’t in the best place at the moment. According to those close to the game’s development, Omega has found himself frustrated and “hating” working with Yuke’s. One person even claimed that it has come across at times like Yuke’s was trying to “take advantage” of an inexperienced Omega in this position.
There have been multiple instances of arguments over the game’s direction as well as constraints on development. AEW has invested significant money into development, but the game is “way over budget” at this point. It even required extra investment, but the specific amount wasn’t mentioned. These budget issues have led to a number of features of the game either being less than originally planned or cut altogether.
One of the larger impacts of the budget is the roster size. SGO was able to confirm the report from Fightful Select that the roster size is expected to feature about 50 wrestlers at launch. AEW does want to increase the roster size via DLC post launch due to the game not being made for a yearly release. However, before committing to a fully-fledged DLC plan, Yuke’s is pushing for a long-term agreement for future game development. That’s something AEW isn’t ready to commit to.
Because of how things have gone during the development of AEW Fight Forever, there are some on both sides of the fence believing this may be a “one and done” arrangement between AEW and Yuke’s.
“It can be repaired, but it comes down to desire,” one said on the relationship between the two. “If either side doesn’t want to continue, then AEW will look for a new partner.”
Though no one would put a specific number on the chances of the relationship continuing or ending, one did say that the ball is in AEW’s court.
“Yuke’s will almost certainly sign on for it and is even pushing for it,” one said, “but AEW is nervous about any long-term deal after this.”
The one concern is who owns the engine of the game. If Yuke’s has any ownership of it at all, then AEW’s options of moving on are limited without spending even more money to gain the rights. If not, it’s a much easier discussion to have for America’s second-largest wrestling promotion.
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