With the release of WWE Smackdown Vs Raw 2011 right around the corner, we thought it only right to sit down with SVR Producer, Marcus Stephenson, for a little chat on the franchise’s past, its present, and most excitingly of all its future. Let’s jump right into it.
1. ZoKnowsGaming: How long have you been working on the WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw franchise and what is your role in the development and promotion of the game?
Marcus Stephenson: I’m a Producer on the Smackdown Vs Raw team, and I design features in the Smackdown Vs Raw franchise.
2. ZoKnowsGaming: The franchise was already wildly successful selling over 47 million copies to date; did you feel pressure to maintain that success?
Marcus Stephenson: There is always pressure. We do this every year (the annual titles business), and are expected to maintain and exceed the previous year. There’s pressure.
3. ZoKnowsGaming: Before you started working on the game, were you a wrestling fan and if so, has working on the game made you a bigger fan?
Marcus Stephenson: I came here because I was a wrestling fan. I was perfectly happy at EA SPORTS, but the opportunity to work on wrestling drove my decision to come to THQ.
ZoKnowsGaming: Ok, so enough of the past, let’s talk about the present and this year’s Smackdown Vs. Raw 2011.
4. ZoKnowsGaming: As with any game, time always becomes a factor and you can’t always get in everything you had hoped. Were there elements for the game this year that just didn’t make the cut due to time constraints?
Marcus Stephenson: Absolutely. That is the reality of the annual title business in this industry. You have a ton of ideas and elements you want to incorporate into the game, but you just can’t get everything in. At some point, you just have to press stop.
5. ZoKnowsGaming: Speaking of things that didn’t make it into the final cut, let’s talk DLC. So far we know that there will be alternate outfits for certain wrestlers and DLC characters including British Bulldog, Lex Luger, David Otunga, Justin Gabriel and Layla. We know there are more DLC characters yet to be announced, but are there other types of DLC planned and if so what are they and how many?
Marcus Stephenson: We have announced that there will be 3 DLC Packs.
6. ZoKnowsGaming: The name that stands out on the list of DLC characters that we just mentioned is Lex “The Total Package” Luger. Luger hasn’t been featured in a videogame in quite a while, how did you manage to get him into this one?
Marcus Stephenson: We try to get new legends into the game every year, and we think we’ve introduced a good amount of them. Luger continues that tradition I think.
7. ZoKnowsGaming: This year’s game will again feature the largest roster to date, who’s your favorite(s) characters to play with in this year’s game and why?
Marcus Stephenson: Sheamus and Swagger – They just broke out so much this year, and I love their movesets.
ZoKnowsGaming: Alright folks, now it’s time to bring this interview full circle and talk about the future of WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw.
8. ZoKnowsGaming: This year THQ has announced a real commitment to the WWE brand with WWE Universe and WWE All-Stars, what implications do these new products have for the future of SVR?
Marcus Stephenson: WWE Universe is in WWE SmackDown vs. RAW 2011, that is a feature. WWE All-Stars is a different experience from our simulation WWE game, SmackDown vs RAW.
9. ZoKnowsGaming: Alright Marcus, we are going to let you get out of here but first we want to know if there is anything you want to say to all our readers and WWE SVR fans out there about what they can expect from this year’s game?
Marcus Stephenson: Thanks for having me. This isn’t a year-long process, this is a never-ending process. When you make a title every year, and things get cut out, we carry it over to the next year. We want everything that you want in this game. Please join us on this journey to create great wrestling games!
Well that’s it folks, we want to thank Marcus for dropping by and chatting with us. As always keep it locked to ZoKnowsGaming for all the hottest news and interviews and don’t forget to pick up Smackdown Vs Raw 2011.