As the next generation of gaming approaches, the wrestling video game market is as wide open as it’s ever been.
While there’s still the big fish in the pond known as WWE 2K, the game has been plagued by so many issues that fans are hoping someone steps up to fight for the throne. We already know about larger projects like former WWE Games developer Yuke’s upcoming wrestling game and the yet-to-be-announced AEW game as well as smaller endeavors like upcoming Retromania Wrestling and the recently released Chikara Action Arcade Wrestling. But now there’s another wrestling game in development, and it comes from well-established studio Virtual Basement.
If you don’t what Virtual Basement is, it’s a US-based developer known primarily for games like The Mean Greens: Plastic Warfare and the dinosaur-themed survival game Ark: Survival Evolved. With those games, along with many others, out to consumers, the studio feels the time is now to enter the squared circle.
Though details are limited, including the official name, we do have some information about the game after talking to the studio.
The game is being developed using Unreal Engine 4 which is the same engine that powers games like Gears 5 and Borderlands 3, and it’s being built for the next-gen Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. Though the plan is to be a multi-platform final release, the studio admits that it’s “very possible and likely” that it launches initially on PC during its development for alpha and beta testing.
“We’re self-funding the project to avoid publishers, investors and outside influence as much as possible,” Ashton Andersen, Virtual Basement’s Lead Designer, said. “We want to keep this a community-driven experience. It won’t be a game we launch every year with a new number, but rather one game we continuously update.”
Regarding animation, there is motion capture being done for the game, but it’s not going to be used for the full animation of the wrestlers as studio animators are doing most of the work manually.
Gameplay & Features
While there is no gameplay available to see at the moment, Andersen and his team are putting the primary development focus on that element. Inspired by past games such as No Mercy, Day of Reckoning, and Smackdown! Here Comes The Pain, the Virtual Basement team aims to bring elements of these titles into the game along with their own gameplay features.
the plans are to offer a deep creation suite for players
Once that gameplay foundation is set in place, Virtual Basement is working to have numerous modes available either at launch or added via post-release development. These modes include a variety of match types, a career mode, and possibly a management mode akin to the past GM Modes from the Smackdown vs. Raw series.
Andersen also added that the plans are to offer a deep creation suite for players as that is what will allow people to make the game truly something special.
“We believe creative tools and mod support is crucial and a breathing force for the wrestling community,” he said.
When it comes to the game’s roster, Virtual Basement is taking a bit of a different approach.
Unlike WWE 2K, Chikara AAW, or even the eventual AEW game, Virtual Basement’s roster won’t be confined to just one wrestling promotion. The company is licensing wrestlers on an individual basis in order to build a diverse group for players, and already includes wrestlers from national promotions like Ring of Honor and Impact Wrestling.
This roster includes a mix of current stars and up-and-coming independent wrestlers with over 30 wrestlers signed to date. On the men’s side, the roster includes:
- Ken Shamrock
- Matt Sydal
- Jonathan Gresham
- Kenny King
- Matt Taven
- Shad Gaspard
- Brian Pillman Jr.
- Brian Cage
- Bull James
- Caprice Coleman
- Shaheem Ali
- Kevin Riley
- Kongo Kong
- Fallah Bahh
- Anthony Greene
- O’Shay Edwards
- Shawn Donavan
- Bear Country
- Brawler Milonas
On the female roster you have:
- Kylie Rae
- Alex Garcia
- Lady Frost
- Killer Kelly
- Shazza McKenzie
- Gabby Ortiz
The game even has one referee signed, and that’s former WWE and Impact Wrestling official Brian Hebner.
As the rest of the roster fills out, the studio is shooting for a minimum of 60 wrestlers in the game at launch with a 50/50 split between male and female talent. That 60 wrestler total, however, is a flexible one that they hope to increase before the final release.
“We’re focusing on building the best roster we can while also building a balance between rising and current stars across the board,” Andersen said. “We hope for this to be a way for people to be introduced to new wrestling stars.”
Regarding any sort of release date, Andersen said that the studio refuses to rush what he considers to be a “passion product” out to market just to make money.
“Everything is in the very early stages of development and we have no intentions to rush anything,” he said. “We’re currently building up our roster and characters behind the scenes and have a lot of plans this year for rollout and information.”
He ended the conversation by saying that the game’s name will be announced soon as well as the opening of a community Discord and forum for those who he hopes will “help carve this game into the best wrestling experience it can be.”
What do you think about the idea of a next-gen wrestling video game? What modes and roster members do you hope to see? Let us know in the comment section below, and stick with Sports Gamers Online for more on Virtual Basement’s currently untitled wrestling project.