This month gamers are going to get their hands on a new contender in the wrestling game genre as developer Immersion Games releases Lucha Libre AAA: Heroes del Ring for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Recently, I got a chance to talk with Mateo Rojas at Immersion Games on all things Lucha Libre. Take a look at what Mateo had to say...
Can you talk about why you decided to create a game based on the AAA league? Is the style that much different than what we see in the WWF?
The Lucha Libre has been a part of México for a really long time, and since then, it has evolved into a tradition. It is the second most popular sport behind football (soccer). Many of the luchadores have become national icons. You could say that Mexican Lucha Libre is renowned all around the globe. Lucha Libre is a combination of show, tradition, and most of all, human effort. The show incorporates the crowd. The luchadores feed off the crowd. The crowd is a participant and can help determine the results of a match.
Tradition is also a really important part of the sport. There are families and entire dynasties that have dedicated their lives to the sport. Let’s not forget the masked luchadores themselves. The mask is a treasured and iconic article of clothing. In the famous Hair vs. Mask matches, luchadores wager their mask or hair and their pride. Lucha Libre AAA: Heroes del Ring’s Hair vs. Mask wager is so interesting because the stakes are very high. Winner takes all. Loser will have his mask ripped from his head or his head shaved. To lose your mask, is the equivalent to losing your pride. A luchador who has his mask ripped off loses his career. He must wait seven years before he can compete again as that character. Usually it signals the end of a career. Finally, the human effort: as said before, the luchadores in this sport have to earn the attention of the crowd in order to win, and for that, they push themselves to the limit, always performing outstanding moves and trying not to leave one second of time without an outstanding action. AAA is committed to make the Mexican way of wrestling an international phenomenon.
What separates AAA apart from the competition, which launches later in the month?
It’s not wrestling. It is not mixed martial arts either. It´s Lucha Libre! So yes, as in reality, the game will have its own characteristics, and will earn its own place in the fighting genre. The genre has been stale for some time. We are bringing our own perspective to it. That means competition. Competition breeds innovation which means that fans can expect this genre to get better. Though there are many significant differences, I think the main one between American wrestling and Lucha Libre is fight inside and outside the ring. The fight inside the ring is based on the human factor. American wrestling, as I see it, usually revolves around the raw force or power which is fun but can be slow, not always but sometimes. The wrestlers are mainly focusing on showing their strength, and not their agility. The show is about how powerful the lights, music and fireworks can be. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact it is a lot of fun. Lucha Libre also has that, but it also offers a lot more. In Lucha Libre, luchadores are constantly trying to be innovative inside the ring. There are some luchadores who use brute force trauma as their fighting style, but the majority of luchadores implement a wide variety of battle styles. Many of them are known for flying around the ring and their opponents. Lucha Libre can be an aerial display. Luchadores also have to play to the crowd in different ways depending on whether they are a “face” or “heel.” They have to not only dominate inside the ring, but they have to play to the crowd. They must encourage their fans to support them. Without support, you cannot win consistently in Lucha Libre. Luchadores feed on crowd response. You see, in the fights, the most important thing is the people. Fans go to the luchas to support their fighter. They create banners and songs for their fighter which they sing or play throughout the match. You have to win the respect and admiration of the crowd before you can win. We have implemented these differences between the WWE and AAA and many more into the game so that when you play it, you get an authentic experience.
Do you find the lack of familiarity with the AAA federation a hurdle in the promotion of your game? How are you trying to bridge that gap?
Our biggest concern was to make an internationally enjoyable and understandable game, taking advantage of the Latin characteristics and the sport’s rich tradition. As mentioned before, the AAA league has already taken steps toward making the league more of a brand with wrestling fans. Just this summer MTV2 started showing matches on TV. But we don’t think the lack of familiarity with the AAA federation is a massive hurdle. We think fans of the wrestling and even MMA have been seen a little stagnation in the genre and are hunger for something different. For years it was dominated by one main brand, all be it a very impressive brand. The MMA has come in a provided a needed burst of competition. We too are adding to that competition. Competition breeds innovation and higher quality products. That in turns signals success for fans. When you play Lucha Libre AAA: Heroes del Ring, you will learn about the league, its luchadores and the history. It won’t be a long drawn out history lesson. The rules and facts about the league come out in a nature way as you play the game.
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