Interview with the producer of TNA Impact - 06/03/08

Oren Nathan has conducted an interview with the producer of TNA Impact - Mark Turmell!

1. Even though "TNA Impact" is the first TNA videogame, what are your expectations from the game?

Mark: We are extremely excited about this game, and let me tell you why. TNA has so many elements that make great gameplay. Competitive head to head multiplayer action, move sets that are easy to pick up but rich with new moves and moments to discover, quick responsive controls, and great animations which make the players wince with pain and laugh at their outrageousness. When combining that with stunning next gen visuals, robust sounds; music and commentary, the unique nature of the 6 sided ring and growing popularity of TNA Wrestling, and you can see why we have strong expectations for TNA Impact the videogame.

2. It was announced that the season mode in "TNA Impact" will be based on a created wrestler, how will the season mode work? in terms of storylines, how much "freedom" will the player get?

Mark: Yes, the Create a Wrestler mode is at the heart of our story mode. Instead of doing a standard Season Mode, we chose to tell a story about the inner workings and power struggle within TNA. The Story Mode begins with a man who's been beaten to the edge of death, had his body dumped in Tijuana Mexico, and awakes in a Plastic Surgeons office not knowing who he is or how he got there. From there the player must re-establish his identity, recover his memories, and fight back to gain was rightfully his in TNA. The player has many choices as he creates his wrestler, expands his move set, and attempts to become a TNA Champion.

Erm...Excuse me, you have a baseball mit stuck to your face...

3. The game is scheduled to be released on all next-generation consoles; even with the better graphics don't you think that having only 4 wrestlers on screen at once isn't enough?

Mark: Given that this is our first TNA wrestling game, we wanted to focus on the match types and elements that get the majority of play and interest. So we opted to have our art team create incredible next-gen visuals by limiting the on screen wrestlers to 4. This still provides us with a wide array of matches and play style, and give us room to grow too!

4. Ultimate X and King of the mountain matches are scheduled to appear in the game, can you give us more details about these matches implanted into the game?

Mark: Yes, we do have a variety of matches in the game, and Ultimate X is unique to wrestling video games. The players must climb up onto ropes which are suspended above the ring, fight off their opponents, and attempt to untie the X which is dangling at the center of the ring. Players can attack from the X ropes down to the ring, to others on the ropes, and of course players in the ring or on the turnbuckles can attack opponents on the X ropes. Ultimate X matches are part of the Story Mode as well as matches you can play in VS Mode.

Looks at that realistic sweat...

5. Wrestling and nostalgia goes well together, what are the chances of seeing classic models like Kevin Nash, Blonde hair Sting, and even Classic Raven?

Mark: I'd say the chances are very high! While we do have a robust roster and several surprises in the shipping title, we also support downloadable content such as new wrestlers. We are always listening to the wrestling fans and trying to provide what they are looking for.

6. Online content is considered to be a very important feature in the world of videogames, will we see an online e-fed in the game?

Mark: Not in TNA Impact. While we enjoy watching the E-fed community and aspire to add such features in our products, it's just too early for us to focus on that. It's been a ton of work just getting players to fight head to head in a crisp and fair fashion! So we agree that on-line is critical, we believe we are providing enough content and enough leaderboards to satisfy the players of our first TNA title.

7. Many moves are being captured by the animation team, what are the chances of seeing popular moves that aren't associated with TNA wrestlers, moves like the pedigree, "Sweet chin music", F-5 and the Jackhammer?

Mark: While we did capture the moves of our TNA talent, it is safe to say that we went overboard and captured even more moves. Including the 3 you reference! We are still actively putting in moves and applying them to the appropriate wrestlers and situations, so you'll have to wait until the game ships to see who/what/when!

Those graphics, are just brilliant!

8. It is not secret that "TNA Impact" is scheduled to compete with THQ's highly popular "Smackdown Vs Raw" series, any thoughts about the comparison between the two games at this level?

Mark: Well, we have great respect for the WWE titles and can readily acknowledge the huge fan base, breadth of features, and excellent ring entrances. They are a strong force with 10+ years of constant development. However, we are not big fans of the moment to moment gameplay that the Smackdown Vs Raw games provide. Controller responsiveness and crispness is just not there. And we believe that is a key component of fun gameplay. So we've focused on that and are happy with our direction. It's more similar to the old N64 No Mercy game than anything else. So from a feature standpoint, our first TNA Impact videogame will not match up against Smackdown Vs Raw, but from a gameplay and in-ring entertainment standpoint we will shine. Competition is great for videogames, and I suspect our TNA Impact game will have an effect on future WWE titles.

9. Since there won't be any referee in the game, how will the weapons usage work, usually in a wrestling game the player has to distract the referee in order to use a weapon?

Mark: We took a fairly simple approach to this, and allow a weapon to be used only in specific match types, and limit the weapon to a number of strikes before it's broken. Actually, that is all very similar to the WWE game.

10. Last but not least, when will we see a wrestling game for the pc?

Mark: Well, if you come into our offices you'd see a version of TNA Impact running on PC! The PC is a different animal, and we love it, but it's up to the marketing folks to figure that out!

- Oren Nathan