WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 publisher THQ has dismissed comments from TNA wrestling star Kurt Angle that its game "is going to look like all the other games in the past", labelling it "trash talk".
In a February interview with VideoGamer.com ex-WWE wrestler Kurt Angle, who is spearheading Midway's wrestling game TNA Impact!, said: "I've been there. I know how much effort they put behind it. For each wrestler they usually take about two-and-a-half minutes and that's it. They (Midway) have actually spent hours with wrestlers to make this happen with TNA Impact! You're going to see it's so much more authentic. It's a no brainer. We're going to win the war definitely."
When we caught up with Mitchell Cameron, associate brand manager for WWE at THQ's recent Gamers Day in San Francisco, he revealed that the team has pinned VideoGamer.com's article on the wall and is using it as a motivational tool.
"You know we passed your article around our office," he said. "We've got that printed out and hung up with paper-clips. Just because, Kurt Angle was... I mean he was talking trash! We put it on the wall and it's like, let's look at this, this is motivation for us! He's a competitor in the field, we're taking notice of what he's got to say and we're going to try to respond in our game. We threw that around!"
While Cameron admitted that TNA Impact!'s entry into the video game wrestling market had created extra pressure on developer Yuke's, he said the team welcomed the added competition and predicted that it would help create an even better SVR game.
"He's (Kurt Angle) an outspoken guy," said Cameron. "We monitor, we see whatever they release. Whenever a new trailer comes out we're dying to see it. I know that our creative team and our developers are itching to see what comes out. We really haven't had a competitive wrestling game on the market in quite a few years. Competition is always good. Yuke's are dying to see where it puts our game.
"As far as our expectations for the product, from what I've seen the visual aspect of it looks really nice, but our game's been around for so long that the depth of the game, we're adding on it over and over, it's like layer over layer, tonnes of different match types, that I don't believe they'll be able to match us with this year."
TNA, which currently broadcasts on Bravo in the UK, is positioned as a slightly more adult version of professional wrestling compared with WWE, which goes out on Sky One and Sky Sports. Publisher Midway is trumpeting TNA Impact!'s authenticity and graphical prowess with its video game wrestling debut, while new headline features of SVR09 include revamped tag team fighting and a new create your own finisher mode.
Cameron added: "We welcome the competition. We're very curious to see the product, I'm dying to play it myself just to see how their game stacks up. Hopefully it will raise our game! Hopefully it will be inferior so we'll be OK, but whatever they bring to the table will help push us."
WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 is scheduled for release some time in 2008. TNA Impact! is scheduled for release this summer.