Official cover artwork featuring CM Punk
|Publisher(s)||THQ (Original Versions)
2K Sports (Later Versions)
WWE '13 is a professional wrestling video game developed by Yuke's and published by THQ (later by 2K Sports) for the PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360. It is the second game in the WWE (now WWE 2K) series and the 14th overall in the combined series. It is the sequel to WWE '12 and is succeeded by WWE 2K14. It was released on October 30, 2012 in North America and November 2, 2012 in United Kingdom. It is also the final WWE game to be published by THQ before the company's demise in January 2013, thus ending the WWE/THQ relationship after 13 years.
The game focuses on the Attitude Era of WWE, replacing its Road to WrestleMania Mode with an Attitude Era Mode where the player plays through the Attitude Era in six different storylines. The game also brings back its Predator Technology engine, adding in a new audio system called WWE Live. The game is said to be the second phase of a "Revolution" in WWE video games, with cover athlete CM Punk taking charge. Following its release, the game received favorable reviews and was nominated for the Spike Video Game Award for Best Individual Sports Game. This is also the last WWE game to be released on the Wii and (so far) on a Nintendo console, as the sequel WWE 2K14 and beyond have only been released for Sony and Microsoft consoles. The online servers for WWE '13 were shut down in December 2014.
WWE '13 runs on the engine called, "Predator Technology 2.0", which succeeds the first version from WWE '12. The Predator Technology 1.0 game engine has been updated from the previous WWE games to allow for more fluid animations, with odd collisions and transitions having been fixed and updated, it also allows over 300 new moves. Past problems have been fixed with a better weight detection system, contextual animations and automatic attack homing, to ensure that the character always strikes towards the opponent(s). The contextual animation system has been refined to ensure that it dynamically swaps out moves to make sure that the game is using the appropriate move animations at any given time and state. The weight detection system makes it so that small superstars such as Rey Mysterio are unable to lift larger wrestlers such as the Big Show. Thus, the contextual animations ensure that more appropriate attacks are put in the superstar's normal moveset. The game's new homing system is designed that when doing high flying moves, a player will hit the intended target with better precision. The homing system also tracks tables so that they will be better detected when doing grapples on a ladder in TLC and Ladder matches. This feature allows for environmental moves such as ring breaks, barricade breaks, announce table breaks, and catching (mid-air) finishers to be possible. Another new feature is a different model for the giants in the game. Previously, a single body structure was used for all superstars. THQ has also claimed that the game has the most life like superstars. Another important aspect of the game is the new revamped audio system with remastered sound effects. The crowd reactions and commentary audio has directly been taken from live WWE events. Online servers have been enhanced to allow for players to test out creations before downloading them into the game. The "Special Referee" game mode has been added in since its last iteration on WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2007. During online matches, AI will fill in for absent players when not enough players are available.
WWE'13 features 105 in-game superstars and divas including Downloadable Content (DLC) on each console. WWE '13 marked the video game debuts of Ryback, Tensai, Antonio Cesaro, AJ Lee, Damien Sandow, Jey Uso, Jimmy Uso, Jinder Mahal, Hunico and Epico. It is also the final game to feature Kelly Kelly, Eve, Kharma, Beth Phoenix, and Yoshi Tatsu. This is the first game to feature Chris Jericho and Primo since WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011 and also The Great Khali since WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2010.
Attitude Era Mode
New to the series, and replacing the "Road to Wrestlemania" mode, is the game's "Attitude Era" mode, which acts as a season mode of sorts for the game. Although the Monday Night Wars are present, WCW is minimally present. To ensure that players get the full experience of the Attitude Era, they are given 35 of the Attitude Era's top superstars and over 60 cutscenes detailing aspects of the Era. To fill in the gaps and storylines necessary to understand a feud or match's context, THQ worked with WWE editors to produce 20 video packages. Other major elements, for example WCW, will be given a few nods and mentions through the way of a ratings chart that follows the player through the mode as they progress and shows them changing the ratings. Due to this, during the Monday Night Wars, players will play through only the WWE's side of the Wars when the brand was losing to WCW in ratings and display how the WWE forced its way back up in ratings to become the sole juggernaut in wrestling entertainment. Smaller details, such as entrances, arenas and television graphics from the Attitude Era too have been recreated.
In addition to this, playing through the mode and its historical objectives, a non-mandatory feature added to recreate several moments from the Attitude Era, allows the players to unlock over 100 unlockable items. Commentary from the Attitude Era, which featured Jerry Lawler alongside Jim Ross, too will be present, with the Attitude Era Mode being the only mode in the entire game to feature Ross' commentary, though Lawler is present in Exhibition and Universe modes alongside Michael Cole.
Through a season of 65 matches spread out over a 2-year season, the Attitude Era Mode allows players to play through a variety of storylines, in turn, the player will switch superstars as they complete storylines, hence the mode is divided into chapters of varying lengths. Within the chapters, players are given a chance to play through the eight different characters or entities of Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, D-Generation X, The Undertaker, Mick Foley, Kane and Bret Hart. These chapters have been given the titles, the Rise of DX, Austin 3:16, the Brothers of Destruction, The Great One, Mankind, and WrestleMania XV. In sync with the game's video packages, the player will not play through every match in the Austin-Rock feud, but will understand why the two fought against each other. The Off Script has a storyline focusing on the epilogue of WCW into the WWF/WWE Smackdown era, near 1999 to the official end to the Monday Night Wars. It features The Godfather, Vader, Chris Jericho (1999), Edge and Christian (both 1999), Lita (2000), Trish Stratus, Eddie Guerrero and The Acolytes (as The APA).
Returning is the Universe Mode, a seasonal mode designed with assistance from Paul Heyman. The mode allows for more interaction than ever before, with the ability to use created arenas and stadiums on any given show. Each recurring show, divided into major and minor, SmackDown and WWE Superstars respectively, can have its theme, roster, belt and arenas adjusted. However, only "major" shows are allowed to have belts assigned to them. The option to create a pay-per-view has also returned, in addition, players get the option to choose which rosters are able to participate in the PPV and what theme or match type is consistent through the event. Players can also delete shows entirely, as well as add new shows or move shows around on any day of the week. Statistics and rankings are also once again included, the former of which divides ranks into tracking record holders, historical information, the period of time a title was held and the number of times a title was held. Titles are again divided into minor, major, tag-team and divas. Scenarios also play out differently, with the game giving the player options to lead out to a branching storyline based on decisions made within the match. This allows players to choose how to attack during cutscenes, whether or not to attack and gives the option to break up tag-teams and alliances. This allows for over 200 new storylines placed in the mode in unison with all previous existing storylines being carried over from the previous two iterations of the feature. The option to turn injuries on and off is also present along with a host of the other features. When a Universe Mode gets too "clunky", cumbersome or confusing, the option to reset it is present.
On October 3, THQ announced the downloadable content for WWE '13, with three packs to be released over the course of three months. Each superstar will be available for 80 Microsoft Points or $0.99 on the PlayStation Network to buy separately and with the Accelerator Boost, Championship Belt Pack and Moves Pack for 160 Microsoft Points or $1.99 on PSN each. Fan Axxess returns, where, all the packs are included at a one time cost of 1600 Microsoft Points or $19.99 on PSN. Players who get the Axxess will get Diamond Dallas Page and Goldust playable characters exclusively.
- The first pack, the "Attitude Era" Superstars Pack, includes Rikishi, Scotty 2 Hotty, Grandmaster Sexay, Gangrel and Val Venis playable characters as well as the Accelerator Boost, which allows players to unlock all unlockable content straight away and change superstar attributes.
- The second pack, the WWE Superstars Pack, includes Tensai, Ryback, Drew McIntyre, Yoshi Tatsu, AJ Lee and Natalya playable characters, a Championship Title Pack, which includes 10 championship belts from WWE, WCW, ECW and AWA, with the pack also including an alternative attire for The Undertaker free of charge.
- The final pack, You're Welcome in Five Different Languages Pack, includes Damien Sandow, Antonio Cesaro, Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, Brian Pillman and Chainsaw Charlie playable characters, as well as 20 new moves, with the pack also including Layla as a playable character free of charge.
Marketing and release
On May 28, 2012, on WWE Raw, during a segment featuring John Laurinaitis and CM Punk, Laurinaitis revealed the release date of the game would be October 30, 2012, while Punk revealed the official cover art for WWE '13. On June 19, THQ then confirmed that Mike Tyson will be available in the pre-orders of WWE '13. The full roster was revealed at SummerSlam Axxess. Days later, a video detailing the Attitude Era Mode was revealed.
On July 16, 2012, THQ announced that there would be a Collector's Edition of WWE '13, which is available by pre-order for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in North America, and Europe. Also, pre-orders for the PlayStation 3 in will include Disc 3 of "Stone Cold Steve Austin: The Bottom Line on the Most Popular Superstar of All Time". Pre-orders for the Xbox 360 will include Disc 4.
During an interview with his friend Colt Cabana on the "Art of Wrestling" podcast released on October 24, 2012, CM Punk revealed that he was not WWE's choice to be on the cover of WWE '13 (according to Punk, Sheamus was WWE's choice for the cover) and that THQ had chosen him in spite of WWE's objection. CM Punk described the situation as follows (transcribed from podcast):
The company [WWE] still has the guys that they want in the limelight that they want to kind of shove down people's throats. And I've obviously come to terms with the fact that I will never be that guy…They just kept throwing, you know, a certain somebody at them [THQ]. No, no, this is the guy that we want. Not Punk…not Punk.— CM Punk
Paul Heyman, who was involved in the development of the game, corroborated CM Punk's account in an interview with New York Post:
I've known since day one WWE does not consider CM Punk to be the poster boy for this company so this decision was made by THQ against WWE's wishes to put CM Punk on the cover.— Paul Heyman
Transfer to 2K Sports
In January 2013, THQ filed for bankruptcy and began to dissolve, thus ending their partnership with WWE. 2K Sports also stopped releases on the Wii. As of February 2013, Take-Two Interactive, which owns the 2K Sports brand, bought the rights to all future WWE games, and continues to support WWE today.
WWE '13 received largely positive reviews. IGN gave the game an 8.4 out of 10, praising the Attitude Era Mode, but panning the commentary, stating that aside from a few moments in Attitude Era Mode, "WWE '13 feels like you’re listening to a couple guys reading generic statements off of cue cards." They also dislike the new camera angles and audio samples of crowd sounds saying that "they ruin the feel of an entire match".
Midlife Gamer gave the game 9/10, stating "The new Attitude Era is a welcome addition to the single player campaign and the Universe mode is as good as always." and that "the sheer variety of wrestlers you are given to control during the entirety of the (Attitude Era) mode makes this a refreshing change to the series. They also stated that although WWE '13 has "the largest ever roster in a WWE game...a lot of the characters are various interpretations of the same person"
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