One of the most fun filled wrestling games in history was the arcade game Wrestlefest from 1991. Retrosoft Studio’s is now making a sequel to that game that is scheduled to be out in July and we had a few questions to Michael Hermann who took time from his schedulle to talk to us a bit about the game.
Can you tell us about how the studio was created and its history until now, so that our readers can know a bit about you, please?
The studio started with just me in 2017. It was kind of a dream of mine to make a video game some day. Although I have made my living in the software industry for the last 20 years, all my experience has been in business software. So I finally decided in 2017 that I would make a commercial game and here we are.
Everyone in the studio has some very good background in gaming production. What were you looking for when you gathered your team? Experience, talent, drive, love for the business? How did you all come together?
Experience was the big thing I was looking for in my programmers. All the programmers on the team have at least one published title under their belt which is one more then I have. So it was important for me to get people with more experience than me. As for the artists, passion was important. All the artists really enjoy their work and it shows.
Let’s talk about RetroMania Wrestling, the official sequel to 1991’s WWF Wrestlefest. When did you start working on this game and why did you decide to go with a sequel to a classic game and not something new?
I guess technically I started working on it in 2010\2011. At that time it was just a hobby I was doing in my spare time. I wanted to re-create the original game and add a few more characters. The reason RetroMania is more of a Wrestlefest sequel then a new IP is just because I am making a game that I want to play!
There are no new 2d arcade style wrestling games out there and you know what, 2d arcade style wrestling games are fun to play. I will let the big boys take care of the state of the art graphics. I just want a somewhat simple fun wrestling game to play.
The game was probably in the final stages of production when everything in the world was slowed down. How is the current situation affecting the production and future distribution of RetroMania Wrestling?
Well, we definitely slowed down a little, but we are a 100% remote studio already so it wasn’t too bad. We still hope to meet our July date, but we will NOT rush the game out just to meet a date. We will launch when it is done.
Since you started this production, what were or still are the biggest difficulties and what makes you keep pushing forward?
The biggest difficulties definitely relate to the art pipeline. We have A LOT of sprites. Each wrestler consists of over 1000 sprites. I think we could have done a better job with the art pipeline and we definitely learned a lot in the process. But wrestling and in general fighting games have so many sprites and you need to keep track of them.
AS far as what keeps me pushing forward? Each day I get a new build of the game that is usually more fun then the previous build. So I know the end result is going to be worth it.
RetroMania Wrestling is announced to be a fast paced classic arcade game. Do you think that this sort of game is more appealing to the general public than the “realistic” wrestling simulation of a WWE2K for instance? Are you catering to a specific crowd of older nostalgic arcade players?
Well, I think there is a lot of room for alternative wrestling games. Years ago we would get several different games every year. Know we really get one.
I think there is room for other types of games. I don’t think we are catering to a specific crowd, although the nostalgic crowd seems to be the largest right now.
We know we will have single and tag team matches, cage fights and different arenas and even a story mode. Personally I remember the original game for the Rumble mode that will be included also. What are your personal favorite features of the game? If you could just name one or two selling points what would you say make this stand out?
One: fun, Two: easy to play. Our Retro Rumble is definitely a fun match to play. Our roster offers a little something for everyone as well. But the key here is we are really just trying to make the game a fun wrestling game to play.
The original Wrestlefest was an official WWF game, RetroMania Wrestling has a wider range of wrestlers including old school legends such as the Road Warriors or the recently announced Nikita Koloff, as well as Tommy Dreamer and some who are active like Jeff Cobb (hopefully with a Matanza Cueto costume), John Hennigan as Johnny Retro or the current NWA Champion Nick Aldis. Why did you decide to go for a mix of old and new as well as cross promotion roster instead of just licensing one such as WWE or NWA? Wouldn’t it be easier to have a full roster to play with?
Well outside of the WWE no other organization actually owns the wrestlers gimmicks. So for example, we do have a license to use the NWA but that does not come with any of the personalities. We had to license Nick Aldis separately. In addition to that, I just thought a mix of personalities from different places would be cool.
Your game will come with an impressive star-studded roster of 16 wrestlers at launch, with some more planned down the line via DLC. If you didn’t have issues with licensing and contracts, if you could have free reign, what would be your dream starting roster for your game?
Tough question. Really I would love just about every wrestler I have watched. But one particular time period I loved was the old UWF run by Bill Watts. Jim Dugan, One Man Gang, Dr Death, Ted Dibiase, the Freebirds etc… I really loved that TV show.
Lastly, after the game is launched hopefully with great critical and public approval, and a few more wrestlers and extras are added, what are the future plans for Retrosoft Studios? If you can reveal something of course.
We hope to keep updating RetroMania and adding content to it. Beyond that we are looking at doing a couple other projects but nothing is too far along yet.