Just about any legitimate wrestling fan out there who still plays wrestling games to this day knows for a fact that the greatest wrestling game ever is WWF No Mercy (tied alongside Virtual Pro Wrestling 2). To this day there has yet to be a wrestling game as emergent, unpredictable and dynamic as No Mercy.
Storytelling was actually possible in that game (and was one of the key elements in the career mode and during wrestling matches) and ring psychology played a huge part in how matches unfolded (running someone into the ring post would bust them open and could completely zap their momentum). Well, that kind of wrestling may not be present in today’s wrestling video games, but some industry veterans are hoping to revive the kind of gameplay present in the AKI engine from the AKI Corp who made the THQ wrestling games on the N64.
The name of the game is called Saturday Knights and it’s being headed up by Bob Ramos and Joe Mares, two vets who have worked in the wrestling business and the game design business, including having worked on games like League of Legends.
Saturday Knights will feature 10 indie darlings from the indie circuit, including the Young Bucks and Joey Ryan, and will feature four arenas, multiple match types and special customization. Oh yeah, and they’re bringing back intergender matches… something that WWE and Yukes have been veering away from after they made it where the guys couldn’t touch the women in order to keep the WWE PG-friendly. The Attitude era wept.
There’s a pitch video below where Ramos and Mares enthusiastically pitch the game to the public.
They have no gameplay footage or prototypes to showcase, but they do mention that the core of the gameplay will center around a lot of the indie-style wrestling and counters, something that was partially present in WWF No Mercy for those of you who were good enough to pull off the counters. Smackdown vs Raw 2007 also had some lucha libre style chain-counters as well, but the rest of the game was still typical Yukes.
I don’t know if this kind of project will actually take off, and they’re looking for $270,000 to bring Saturday Knights to life, so it’s a long shot. I’ve been hoping and wishing for a wrestling game to finally come out that rekindles the technicality and depth of WWF No Mercy, but the closet thing we’ve had in recent years is MDickie’s Wrestling. And yeah, I know, Fire Pro games come close but they’re a whole different kind of beast with a completely different play-style.
Anyway, if you trust that Ramos and Mares can deliver on their promise, you can learn more or pledge to the campaign by visiting the Kickstarter page.