THQ has decided to rebrand its successful line of WWE console games.
The next release in the series, due out larger this year, will drop the 'Smackdown vs Raw' moniker in favour of a simpler sequential system. It will be called WWE '12.
"I’ve just felt for a couple of years now that the franchise has been getting stale and in need of a reboot," creative director Cory Ledesma said. "Not just with the name but also with the game experience.
"The name of the franchise evolved a couple of times over the years, and it has gotten to the point where the name doesn’t really mean anything. WWE currently doesn’t have brand wars, and the shows themselves are rarely competing against each other, so SmackDown vs Raw as a name doesn’t really have a meaning.
"Now, we are just WWE ’12, which is great because we just want to be known as the official, authentic WWE simulation product ... period. All that encompasses what’s great about WWE live events and television is encapsulated and recreated in WWE ’12.
"It’s simple and to the point. I’m pumped about it because I’ve always wanted to re-launch this franchise the right way, and we are finally getting the opportunity to do it this year."
Ledesma also promises significant change in the gameplay department.
"We’ve been quietly investing in and eagerly waiting for the right opportunity to introduce this new animation technology into the franchise. It’s actually something we’ve been working on for two years now. Being the annual franchise that we are, it’s difficult to bring in new, significant technology without halting the project entirely. I compare it to trying to change the tire of a car driving 80 mph: not easy to do!
"The new animation technology and tools have allowed us to do things in gameplay that were not possible with the previous technology. We hit a ceiling on the old tech, and now with our new tech, we have plenty of more years to build it out and deliver a fun, responsive and visually impressive game. It will be exciting the next few years as we see what our new technology is fully capable of delivering."