WWE 2K17 wants you to master the art of the promo battle

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WWE 2K17 Week 4 screens (4)

Wrasslin’ is full of lethal moves as on any given night you’re going to have to face an arsenal of suicide dives, tornado DDTs and Hurricanranas off the top rope. But what the WWE realised many years back, is that each suplex needs to tell a story. Every slam, every clothesline carries with it a narrative that has been built up over the weeks. Specifically, through the art of the promo.

It’s not exactly easy to stand in a ring and wax lyrical about yourself or explain in detail how you’re going to rearrange the organs of your opponent. But over the years, the WWE has produced some fine silver tongues who have mastered the art of the promo. CM Punk’s legendary pipe-bomb sit-down, Chris Jericho on any given night adding “stupid idiots” to his list or Charlotte flying the heel flag loud and proud are a few such examples.

And with inspiration like that, players will also get to address the crowd in WWE 2K17 as they work an audience over. WWE 2K17 throws in a promo system this year, that has players connecting combat with charisma, as Game Designer Ramelle Ballesca explained to GameSpot:

We always thought it was something that’s missing from our WWE games. It’s half of what they wrestlers do–it’s all that athleticism combined with all that charisma, so we really wanted to try to bring that to our fans this year. It’s almost like a branching conversation system, but the crowd reacts to what you’re saying moment to moment.

You can be a good face or heel by picking the right choices, and just like we see on WWE TV, you can be a heel and the crowd would still buy into you, so that’s what we were really targeting for this time around. Not just, are you being a face or heel but also, are the things you’re saying, does it resonate with the crowd as a heel character?

There are going to be different types of crowds so one night you might have a kid-friendly crowd and if you’re a face it makes sense to say all the heroic things, but if you’re a heel you play against that. Or you might step into a hardcore crowd, where you want to say a lot of shock value.

WWE 2K17 Week 4 screens (6)

And just like in the WWE, you can expect to be interrupted, as your competition makes an appearance to talk some trash in your direction. “You’re in a sort of promo battle where it’s you against another person vying for the crowd,” Ballesca explained.

There are going to be two meters. One is a meter that shows you how much the crowd is liking you and then the other meter is for your face or heel status, which is separate to that. If you still want to, especially for career mode, if you still want to shift between being a face or being a heel or being a mega-face or a mega-heel, those two things are separate.

Saying the right things at the right time is just one side of the equation, as players will also need to deliver a “cohesive promo” to earn maximum bonuses for the event. “We’re going to give players bonuses for putting together a cohesive promo,” Ballesca said.

If you’re trying to be heel for that night, you’re trying to get the crowd to buy into you as a heel and you don’t flip-flop back and forth, you gain more popularity for that.

I’m hoping that there’s some genuine meatiness to this feature, as a great promo is the concrete foundation of a brilliant match. And I’m also certain that while I may be more Gillberg than Goldberg in the ring, at least I know how to run my mouth. Just like yer mum. Oooooohhhh yeeeeeaaaah…

Last Updated: September 29, 2016

Darryn Bonthuys

Word-slinger at Critical Hit. Inventor of the macho Swiss gym chocolate known as Testoblerone. That's...that's about it really.

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