WWE ’12 Interview with Creative Director Cory Ledesma

WWE 12

During a press event for THQ’s WWE ‘12, GamerNode’s News Director Mike Murphy caught up with the game’s creative director, Cory Ledesma, to talk about the changes the WWE Universe mode, DLC, the inclusion of Brock Lesnar, and the create modes. The interview can be heard or read in full below.


Mike Murphy, GamerNode: This is Mike Murphy here for GamerNode.com and I am here with Cory Ledesma, who is the creative director for WWE ‘12. Cory, how are you doing?

Cory Ledesma: We’re doing great. We’re really excited because we’re about a month away from the game’s launch, so this is when our game designers are kind of in a frenzy. We’re just excited and in anticipation to find out just what gamers think of our game. We’ve put so many blood, sweat, and tears into it, so it’s good to finally see it to the end here.

GN: That’s great. The first question I have to ask you is in the new Create-An-Entrance mode you have…new TitanTron (entrance) movies with live-action [scenes] on there. Is that going to be in addition to the Create-A-Highlight? Is that still going to be available? Where you can create a highlight, put that together, and make that your own ‘Tron?

CL: You can still do the Highlight Reel. You can still use that as a tool to create your entrance video, and we like that tool. It’s a little bit – I shouldn’t say a little bit – it’s a lot more work to create a video in that method, so this is a lot easier. Basically, we have a drop-down menu that allows you to select a couple of different key things. You can select which theme you want to use, in the theme you can change text that will be displayed…in this new create-an-entrance video, you can also import custom logos that you have displayed in the video as well; so it gives you a lot of options and you can basically just hit “encode” and the video will encode for you and you’re done.

It actually takes elements from your created character and automatically splices them in there, so if you’re character’s got a finisher, anything in particular that you assign to him, it will take that finisher and it will display in the movie your character using that finisher. So it really customizes it towards your character to really have that maximum personality.

GN: Yeah, make it a lot more easy and more accessible for the player?

CL: That’s right and very easy. Just a couple of items, push that button, and you’re good to go.

GN: Cool. I saw on the presentation on one of the slides for Universe mode that you had “Title Match Freedom” on there. Could you explain exactly what that means?

CL: Yeah. Last year in Universe we tried to build up these dramatic moments where the title matches could only be held at the pay-per-view, which isn’t necessarily what you would call authentic WWE programming because they can have title matches whenever they want. But we thought as a game mechanic it really made sense for you to build up there.

But after spending a bunch of time talking to our community and our fans we found that there’s another way to really build up that drama and still allow you to have title matches whenever you want, so we’ve actually opened up that freedom to be able to support that anywhere. If you want to have a title match on a show like RAW or SmackDown! or whatever you want, you can go ahead and do that, and it still works within the storylines within the mode.

GN: For [Create-a-Show] mode you had the option of picking from a certain amount of belts. Does that also mean that there might be a return of the Create-A-Belt mode that used to be in SmackDown! vs. RAW and if not, is that something you guys are thinking about doing maybe in WWE ‘13?

CL: Create-A-Belt isn’t in WWE ‘12 just to be clear. It’s a mode that was in the franchise a long long time ago and I remember the mode very well. Of course we’ll always continue to look at different create modes. We have 10 different creation modes in WWE ‘12, so that’s really a lot, and the more we add the more pressure is on us to support each year with new parts and things. So it can be a little overwhelming for us and we want to make sure that whenever we do bring a create mode or any kind of mode that’s in the game that it’s done to the highest level of quality and that it’s 100 percent.

We don’t want to bring in a mode and only do 50 percent of it, so it’s really important that if we do choose to make a decision like that, we go full force with it. This year we felt we did that with Create-An-Arena, so we can introduce that mode and it’s something the fans have never seen in the franchise, so that was exciting. But you never know with Create-A-Title, maybe that can make it back in the franchise.

GN: Another thing I had: Will the Universe mode have a – this is another create-a-mode question – will there possibly be an introduction of a Create-A-Promo mode in the future? Where you can create a segment where somebody is cutting a promo in the back or is cutting a promo in the ring before or after a match. Also, for the storylines that are in Universe mode will there be any scripted promos for [the mode]?

CL: Universe mode isn’t very voice-over heavy because we really leave a lot of that presentation to Road to WrestleMania. So in Universe we focus more just on quantity of stories since it’s a never-ending experience and there’s so many ways you can go you want to make sure that you’re always seeing new and different things. So we don’t focus so much on voice-over, so promos wouldn’t necessarily work so well in that. But you could do text and I think in the future – we have a great tool and [story] designer that allows you to create promos – and [to use] that as a tool in a future deal to create your own custom cutscenes for the mode, that would be something that we’d absolutely love to do.

GN: Last year with SmackDown! vs. RAW 2011 you guys did DLC updates throughout the year to add WWE Superstars who came in too late into the game’s development. Are you looking to keep that going with WWE ‘12?

CL: Yeah. We loved having DLC last year like you mentioned. The opportunity for us to freshen up the game after a shift, introduce some characters that we didn’t get a chance to get in to the final product. So we definitely are going to repeat that this year since it was such a big success last year. We’re really excited about that. We have some really great plans that we are going to be detailing out at the end of October and early November about which Superstars made it in there and what the content is. Fans are going to be blown away by who is in the DLC, I guarantee it.

GN: Okay. Brock Lesnar is the mystery Superstar in the game. How exactly did you guys get Brock Lesnar? Was it a solely THQ thing or did you have help with WWE? What was the process of getting Lesnar in WWE ‘12?

CL: The process was definitely a collaboration not only with WWE because obviously it’s their product – we want to make sure they’re on board with that – but also with Brock and Brock’s people and also with THQ. Just a collaboration and we thought that Brock would be a great addition to the game. We haven’t had him in there in a long time and somehow the idea just popped up and we thought, “Hey, let’s see if we can actually make this happen.” And the stars aligned and matched up perfectly and he was willing to be in the game. Not only willing, but really excited to be in the product.

So I think it just made perfect sense and I think it was a great way to really kick off the rebranding of this franchise. To have a big name Superstar like that to be brought back into the game was kind of a perfect complement to rebranding the franchise with WWE ‘12.

GN: That’s awesome. The last question that I’m going to have here is: You mention that there is going to be multiplayer available in Universe mode.

CL: Right.

GN: Could you go into detail about that and possibly, I also want to ask, have there been any updates to the sharing feature from SmackDown! vs. RAW and the matchmaking modes?

CL: Sure. With…Sorry what was your first question?

GN: Universe multiplayer.

CL: Multiplayer, right. With Universe multiplayer we wanted to make sure that was a mode that you could have a lot of fun with your friends playing. So not only could you just play that solo by yourself, you can also introduce multiplayer in there so you can bring your friends in to play the matches and you can all decide that on the fly as you’re going in. Even when you’re loading in a match we have a screen that pops up and says, “Hey…Which character do you want to select? How many controllers do you want to bring in?” That whole thing, so it allows you to do that on the fly as well. It really allows you to load up matches that no one’s playing. You can have user interference, interfere in a CPU match as well.

We really wanted to support all different aspects of that so you can play the way you want to play. It’s a perfect mode to be able to support multiplayer mode just like any other sports franchise because maybe you’re a fan of CM Punk and I’m a fan of Randy Orton and we want to play and see how our fates cross and match up. And we can do that in Universe and you can do that in other sports games, so it kinda makes sense to support that multiplayer in Universe.

GN: Okay.

CL: And your other question was on the…

GN: On have you ever made any updates or enhancements to sharing online and the matchmaking online?

CL: Right. Online Community Creations is back. What we’ve done is we’ve just made some small improvements to the search functionality in general. The items load a lot faster, we made some tech improvements to make that experience a lot better. We also allow you to post your Create-An-Arenas as well. Now people can share that. Those are probably the bigger improvements we’ve made to that mode.

GN: Okay. Cory, thank you very much.

CL: Absolutely Mike.

GN: And [we’re] looking forward to WWE ‘12 when it releases this November.

CL: Thank you. Appreciate it.


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Author: Mike Murphy View all posts by
Mike has been playing games for over two decades. His earliest memories are of shooting ducks and stomping goombas on NES, and over the years, the hobby became one of his biggest passions. Mike has worked with GamerNode as a writer and editor since 2009, giving you news, reviews, previews, a voice on the VS Node Podcast, and much more.

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