Look out, WWE 2K series, Fire Pro is back!

Was catching up with the news during my sabbatical, and I came across some news that made me a very happy person indeed. Up until recently, if you wanted a wrestling game on consoles, you had.. one choice which is no choice. But the mood is about to change..

TOKYO – March 3, 2017 – Spike Chunsoft Co., Ltd., at their first-ever Western press event last night, revealed several new projects and confirmed North American and European launch dates for its most popular franchises and games. Leading the evening’s line up of exciting unveilings was fan favorite, Fire Pro Wrestling World. After a 10-year hiatus, director Tomoyuki Matsumoto’s Fire Pro Wresting World brings the hit franchise to Windows PC and PlayStation®4, with Steam Early Access confirmed for this Summer. Building upon the core gameplay, the game will offer improved graphics, updated features and online matchmaking connecting players from around the world. The PS4™ version has not yet been rated by the ESRB.

Now, for those of you who may not be familiar with the series (or worse yet, associate it with only the piece of dreck that was on Xbox Live), Fire Pro Wrestling was a more simulation-like game approach to a wrestling game rather then the button mashing style focus that was the WWE series of game. Timing of button presses and action was  a lot more important then smacking buttons repeatedly at the “right time” and hoping you got it right. (if you hit at wrong time, you’d be “locked out” of succeeding inthe grapple for a short amount of time, so it was more timing the impact rather then button smacking.

And as opposed to US style wrestling which is, well, I’ll say it bluntly, sometimes more focused on the glamour and glitz around the wrestling ring rather then the matches themselves, in Japan the matches are presented as athletic competitions, so you’ll see flash KO’s, and long grinding matches. They also tend to relegate their 50 year old ex-star workers to the comedy six man tag match, and not the thirty second pay per view main event. (yes, I’m looking at you Mr WWE 2K17 cover star!) The previous versions were detailed enough and while they couldn’t name the people due to those pesky rights issues, they were pretty good approximations of the famous wrestlers you knew and loved, and supported a super-robust modding system that was way ahead of its time back on the Super Nintendo days (yes, we’re going back, what, five generations?).

So this game is definitely on my watch list.