Hooked Gamers: Welcome, and thank you for joining us today. Could you introduce yourselves and what it is that you do?
Mateo: My name is Mateo Rojas; I am the lead designer for the Lucha Libre AAA: Héroes del Ring (X360/PS3) project.
Edgar: Hi, I’m Edgar Díaz, game designer at Sabarasa Mexico working on Lucha Libre AAA: Heroes del Ring (Wii) and also an amateur Luchador going “Pro” very soon.
Hooked Gamers: Could you tell us what Lucha Libre AAA is and what makes it different from American wrestling?
Mateo: Though there are many significant differences, I think the main one between American wrestling and Lucha Libre is that the spectacle of the lucha’s is based much more on the human factor. American wrestling, as I see it, usually revolves around the raw force or power that both the wrestlers and the show itself can demonstrate. In the case of the wrestlers, it´s all about powerful and slow moves that show to the crowd who is the toughest guy - the moves are slow. 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. On the contrary, in Lucha Libre the luchadores are constantly trying to be innovative inside the ring. They too try to show who is the toughest, but luchadores also try to show variety. Lucha Libre has a lot of different styles. Not only do they display strength, but they fly around the ring. It is very aerial. They take advantage of their own unique skills (kind of like Spiderman!). They also feed off the crowd. Without crowd support, you cannot win in Lucha Libre. The show does not rely so much on the lights, music and fireworks, but on the noise from the crowd. Luchadores feed on crowd response. You see the most important thing is the people who go to see the spectacle, who favor their favorite luchadores and create banners to support them.
Hooked Gamers: How will Heroes del Ring provide us with the most authentic Mexican wrestling experience possible?
Mateo: First of all, we did a lot of research. We recognized key elements that were Lucha Libre’s essentials: The “Luchas” - as named in México - are a part of a tradition. They are a fabric of our society. They are featured in the sports pages of all newspapers. Lucha Libre has been an important part of Mexican culture for more than a century and it has created national icons. The masks have become symbolic. Luchadores have been super heroic-like in Mexico. They have become movie stars.
We even have family dynasties whose members - both men and women - have fought in luchas from generation to generation. Lucha Libre is also a circus, as one of the main objectives of the luchadores is to endure in the ring while providing the best possible entertainment to the audience. And also, Lucha Libre is acrobatics. Matches are filed with different wrestling styles, most of them extreme, and very dynamic. We took these key elements and transformed them into a consistent and entertaining gameplay experience. We have created a game that is fun to play. It is easy enough for a beginner to pick up and enjoy, but it has enough depth for seasoned wrestling veterans to explore and build their own luchador. We made sure, for example, that the gameplay was dynamic, all the time, as well as fast paced, and we certainly tried also to make the gameplay enjoyable on single player and multiplayer.
Hooked Gamers: Could you explain in detail the story and game modes of Lucha Libre AAA: Heroes del Ring?
Edgar: It’s about a luchador that gets tangled up with a mean mobster who wants him to “throw” a match for money, and he has to fight his way out of the Lucha Libre underground to become an AAA star and recover the honor of his mask’s legacy. That’s all I can say, the rest the players will have to find out for themselves. Aside from the story mode, we also have a free play mode for up to four players, a tournament mode where you can create your own tournaments to play with friends and ladder elimination mode where you have to defeat a long line of opponents one after the other to win.
Mateo: Another important element of the Mexican Lucha Libre revolves around the drama that takes place inside the ring. The drama provides additional flavor and complexities to a luchador’s personality. In the Lucha Libre’s universe, you can see a reaper who fights for the good and fair, a clown whose obsession is to bully the kids, and a Dr. who thinks only of inflicting damage to his patients. These types of elements, the luchadores’ stories, are part of the unique story modes offered in the game. You begin as a rookie and must choose between good and bad. The story will evolve around your preference. As for the game modes, what I could tell you is that we put our effort into creating a system that allows players to freely customize their matches. There are single and multiplayer modes, all of which offer a unique perspective on wrestling.
Hooked Gamers: Heroes del Ring promises a character customization system that is far beyond the norm in games. Can you give us any further details about it?
Mateo: When creating the luchadores editor, we focused on several things: make an editor with lots of possibilities. Players can try to recreate their favorite luchador, or maybe a luchador we didn’t include in the game or make something never before seen. Last, but not least, we also focused our attention on one Mexican icon, not only for the luchas, but also for the entire nation’s culture: the mask. So yes, one of the features that we´re most excited about in the game is the never-seen-before Lucha Libre’s masks editor. Once you’ve created the body, skin tone, pants or legs, boots, gloves, etc., you get to decide on hair or mask. It is Lucha Libre so the mask editor is huge. There will be thousands of choices.