Cory Ledesma, Paul Triple H Levesque reveal ‘30 Years of WrestleMania’ with WWE 2K14 video game project

 

Miami Herald Writer

The upcoming WWE 2K14 is shaping to be one of the most impressive and ambitious sports entertainment video games in history.

Creative director Cory Ledesma revealed the single player campaign for this year’s installment of the popular franchise would be centered on the rich history of WrestleMania. The milestone event will turn 30 when it emanates from New Orleans in 2014.

“This is an announcement all of our fans have been waiting for because it’s such an important part of the game and the mode itself ends up defining a large portion of the game’s roster,” Ledesma said during a conference call with Paul Triple H Levesque.

“…Our new single-player campaign is called ‘30 Years of WrestleMania.’ This will be a nostalgic journey spanning three decades that will allow players to relive the greatest moments and matches of WrestleMania history. It’s all of the unforgettable moments that have defined the greatness of what WrestleMania has become over the last 30 years.”

Gamers will have the opportunity to play in more than 45 matches, reliving some of the biggest showdowns in the most interactive way possible. Among them is the colossal battle between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant from WrestleMania III.

“That’s right. We just announced Hulk Hogan is in the game,” Ledesma said. “[There is also] WWE 2K14 cover superstar Dwayne The Rock Johnson versus Hulk Hogan billed as an ‘Icon vs. Icon’ match at WrestleMania and also WrestleMania 28’s much anticipated main event of The Rock versus John Cena. This is just a small sampling.”

Ledesma believes the game, which is the first published by 2K Sports, will have the greatest roster ever assembled in a WWE videogame. The official roster reveal occurs Saturday, Aug. 17 at WWE’s SummerSlam Axxess at L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles.

A close attention to detail was made to ensure all the unique presentation elements were recreated in each historic contest. Everything from the arena, tailored graphics and crowds to superstar ring attire and entrances replicate the matches as it happened.

Ledesma says the vintage screen effects during the 1980s and ‘90s will transform gamers back in time. WWE-produced video packages were made and placed before several bouts as a refresher to the storylines that led to the ‘Mania mat classics. Fans can also look for in-game cinematic cut scenes and historical in-game objectives to reproduce matches as they transpired, rewarding players with unlocked goodies.

Levesque is no stranger to creating history during his legendary career at the biggest spectacle in sports entertainment. WWE’s executive vice president of talent and live events says the company is extremely excited about the videogame concept of “30 years of WrestleMania.” He thinks WWE 2K14 will appeal to all ages, casual and hardcore fans alike.

“A lot of them may have watched all 30 years of WrestleMania as it grew from a closed circuit event to a pay-per-view event with 90,000 people watching at the historic Pontiac Silverdome between Hulk Hogan versus Andre the Giant, which you will be able to play in this game,” Levesque said, “to the global phenomenon it is today, stadiums every year and the global impact that WrestleMania has, and the long-lasting impact WrestleMania has for 30 years. As it has grown, WrestleMania has become the Super Bowl of WWE...It has become an event city after city all across the United States are coming in to bid just like they would a Super Bowl as to who is going to get WrestleMania. We are getting years ahead…

“It has become a cultural event that even if you are not a hardcore WWE fan, it becomes a cultural event that is water cooler talk, if that still exists. I guess that would be social media. It’s a must-see event for everyone. I think this game is going to represent the nostalgia of that, the excitement of that. I’m a real big believer in history and knowing where you came from is important to where you’re going to go. As WrestleMania continues to grow, I think it’s important to see where WrestleMania has been in seeing these iconic moments…”

Levesque, whose nickname is “The Game,” says they are excited about the superstar alum brought back in videogame form. These include “Macho Man” Randy Savage and the Ultimate Warrior, who was recently announced as pre-order exclusive playable character.

“I’ll go out on a limb and say my match with the Ultimate Warrior might not make it into the greatest moment’s aspect of the greatest moments of WrestleMania history,” Levesque said of his encounter with the man from “Parts Unknown” at WrestleMania XII.

“Although it was a phenomenal moment for me, the opportunity for me to step into the ring with probably one of the greatest icons that there have ever been in this industry, the rest of it didn’t matter. The fact that I stepped in the ring with him on the biggest stage in the world at WrestleMania was all I needed to know at that time. It was moment that I will absolutely never forget. So for me, it is an absolutely incredible WrestleMania moment.”

Levesque has been credited with helping what may have been considered unheard of take place. He was a big part of securing Bruno Sammartino in the WWE Hall of Fame this year. Now the Ultimate Warrior has started working with the company on projects such as the videogame under his watch.

“For me I’m a real big believer in the history of our industry and of WWE,” Levesque said. “I come to this maybe differently. It’s a business, but also just every day I come into my office, and I’m a six-year-old kid on Saturday morning watching Saturday morning wrestling on my TV and thinking it’s the greatest thing I’ve ever seen. So to me, you look at a Hulk Hogan. You look at Ultimate Warrior, these are the guys I grew up watching, and they should be a part of this great business and WWE.

“This is what it is. Vince McMahon had a vision of one global brand that encompasses it all, and I think he succeeded in that vision. They should be a part of it and participate in it. As time goes on, people have their reasons as to why they are here or not here, day-to-day. Everything falls into where it does I guess, but I look at it from a bigger picture.

“Is there not some way we can work together because at the end of the day this is all about the WWE Universe, our fans and what they want and what they want to see. I think they want these people to be a part of it. They want to remember their childhood and remember the past. This is not the only way for them to watch back but participate in it and be a part of it. With this videogame franchise, to me, that is just huge.”

It has been years since Warrior has been associated with a WWE-related production. Levesque thinks the colorful performer was excited about coming back into the fold.

“A lot of water passed under the bridge,” Levesque said. “A lot of time goes by, and I think everybody realizes, ‘What are we doing?’ Everybody grows and everybody becomes different people. I think it happened on all sides. We just decided it was the right time. Him jumping into this videogame I think is a tremendous step forward.

“We are working on a continued relationship. Obviously, this is a great partnership with Warrior, who is one of the most well-known and iconic brands in WWE history. We are excited to have him in this game and that the WWE Universe will be able to play that character and be the Ultimate Warrior. How cool is that? I think he is excited about it, and I look forward to the future in working together in making everything exciting for the fans or our fans.”

• WWE 2K14 will hit stores for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on Oct. 29. For updates and everything else regarding the videogame, visit www.wwe.2k.com and facebook.com/WWEgames.

• Follow WWE 2K14 on Twitter @WWEgames.

• Get live updates from SummerSlam Week in Los Angeles and at WWE 2K14 roster reveal by following me on Twitter @smFISHMAN.

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