WWE SmackDown! (formerly WWF SmackDown!) is a series of professional wrestling video games released by THQ. The franchise takes its name from World Wrestling Entertainment's weekly Friday night (previously Thursday night) TV show of the same name. The game is developed by Japanese game developer YUKE's Future Media Creators, who had previously developed the popular Toukon Retsuden series of Japanese wrestling games. In Japan, the series is known as Exciting Pro Wrestling. The series as a whole has sold quite well, with WWE claiming total sales in excess of 26 million units for the whole series.
After SmackDown! vs. RAW, the series took a shift of focus from its original arcade-like roots to more of a realistic wrestling simulation game. With this shift, the next game in the series was called SmackDown! vs. RAW 2006 matching the naming scheme of other sports games such as Madden NFL and the FIFA Series.
WWE SmackDown (formerly trademarked as WWE SmackDown! and known as WWF SmackDown!) is a series of professional wrestling video games published by THQ, based on World Wrestling Entertainment's television program, WWE Friday Night SmackDown!. Games in the series are primarily developed by the Japanese based company, Yuke's Future Media Creators. The original series was produced from 2000 through 2003, and was titled under the SmackDown name, while the present series, which has been produced since 2004, is titled SmackDown vs. Raw. The series was published by Yuke's and known as Exciting Pro Wrestling in Japan until 2005. Following SmackDown vs. Raw 2007, THQ took over as the Japanese publisher and the series adopted the western name.Initially, the series was exclusive to PlayStation video game consoles, and was featured in all of the seventh generation consoles by 2008. The SmackDown! series is among the best-selling video game franchises with 37 million copies shipped as of 2008.The game engine for the series is based on that used by the Japanese professional wrestling video game series, Toukon Retsuden and Rumble Roses, a fictional professional wrestling series, both developed by Yuke's.THQ and YUKE's Future Media Creators consider one reason the series has remained so popular is due to series bringing "WWE programming to life through a host of key new features, extensive rosters with WWE's most popular Superstars, incredible graphics and engaging action in and beyond the ring."
The first four games in the series were each titled after one of The Rock's catchphrases. Here Comes The Pain was named after Tazz's catchphrase in reference to Brock Lesnar. Following Here Comes The Pain, taglines were phased out.
The first installment of the series was released for the PlayStation (PS1) in North America on February 29, 2000 and in Europe on March 9, 2000. It was released in Japan as Exciting Pro Wrestling on August 3, 2000. The game was the first PlayStation WWF game to be released by THQ, who had recently secured the license to release WWF games. Its fast, arcade-style gameplay were different from past slower paced WWF games. The game also featured the first extensive Season Mode in a WWF game, in which the player was allowed to participate in WWF storylines.
The second installment was released on the PS1 in North America on November 19, 2000, and later in Japan, as Exciting Pro Wrestling 2, on January 25, 2001. The game is generally considered by fans of the series to be superior to its predecessor, with its vastly increased roster of wrestlers, backstage areas, matches, and improved Season Mode. However, this game has was criticized for having long loading times in comparison to the first Smackdown game.
The third installment was released on the PS2 on November 18, 2001. It was the first American wrestling game released for the PlayStation 2 (PS2). It also holds the distinction of being the first SmackDown! game to feature semi-authentic wrestler ring entrances and the first entry in the series to allow players to walk around WWF backstage areas. Notable flaws about the game are its large use of Memory Card space, its Season Mode, which was criticized for being short and repetitive, the general lack of improvement in gameplay, poor but unintentionally hilarious commentary, and the fact that the roster did not include any members of the Alliance from WCW/ECW during the Invasion angle and was thus a source of dismay. It is, however, worth noting that it is the only game in the Smackdown series to allow tag team matches with 8 wrestlers in the ring at once. It came out January 24, 2002 in Japan as Exciting Pro Wrestling 3. All new copies of the game are now titled "WWE" SmackDown! Just Bring It.
The fourth installment of SmackDown! was the first released on the PS2 after the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) changed their name to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). It was released in the United States on Halloween, October 31, 2002, November 15, 2002 in Europe, and February 6, 2003 in Japan, as Exciting Pro Wrestling 4. The game features an extensive roster of WWE stars, including Hulk Hogan, an improved Season Mode which includes storylines involving the nWo and a wide variety of unlockable features. Also notable is the game's soundtrack, which includes licensed theme music for several wrestlers; "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" by Jimi Hendrix (Hollywood Hulk Hogan's theme) and "Also sprach Zarathustra" (Ric Flair's theme). On the cover was then-SmackDown! superstar Triple H and others on the same roster.
The fifth installment of the series is considered by some fans to be one of the best American-produced wrestling games, and by others the best wrestling game of all time. It was released on the PS2 on October 27, 2003 in North America, November 7, 2003 in Europe, and January 29, 2004 in Japan as Exciting Pro Wrestling 5. The game introduced a more traditional grappling system while retaining the series's fast gameplay.
Smackdown Vs. Raw Series
The sixth installment of the series is SmackDown! vs. RAW. This installment features a highly increased polygon count for characters, a "Create-a-PPV" mode, a "Create-a-Belt" mode, the "Parking Lot Brawl" and Internet play many felt was lacking in Here Comes the Pain and a widely disappointing smaller roster of roughly 45 wrestlers. However, the lack of current superstars is countered by an increased amount of legends, including Mankind, The Rock and Bret Hart. This installment of the franchise has generally been seen by game critics as a "transition game" for the series offering little in the way of innovation. The game was released on the PS2 on November 9, 2004.
The seventh installment in the series brought out a more realistic approach to gameplay. New features included a momentum meter, interactive backstage settings, stamina rating and a General Manager mode, and for the first time ever a Buried Alive match. In North America, the game was released on the PS2 on November 15, 2005 and released on the PSP December 5, 2005.
The eighth installment of the series is the first game in the "SmackDown!" franchise to be included on the Xbox 360 as well as the PS2 and PSP. A PlayStation 3 (PS3) edition was planned but eventually cancelled. New features for the game include a more interactive fighting environment, including fighting within the crowd, high impact combination moves, and a new analog control grappling system. The Money in the Bank ladder match type was also added to this installment. In North America, the game was released on all consoles on November 14, 2006.
IGN posted screenshots and videos of WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2008 and so far Bobby Lashley, Triple H, Undertaker, Kane, Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio, Chris Masters, and John Cena are confirmed as playable superstars. It will also be the first WWE game to be released on the PlayStation 3 as well as the Nintendo DS and Wii as reported on WWE.com. It will also be on Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation Portable as well as mobile phones. It will be the first in the series to feature the revived ECW brand.
The latest installment of the newer game series with more matches and more superstars. It was featured on the Wii, Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, and Nintendo DS as well as bringing back the ECW chapter featured in SVR 2008.
Released in 2009 for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PSP, Xbox 360, DS, Mobile & Wii
Released in 2010 for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PSP, Xbox 360 & Wii
Released in 2011 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 & Wii
Released in 2012 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 & Wii
The Rock, Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, Brock Lesnar, Torrie Wilson, Stacy Keibler, Rey Mysterio, Batista, and Triple H have filmed commercials for the SmackDown! games. The Rock did the first one (with Various WWF Superstars such as D'Lo Brown, Edge, Debra and Kane), Kurt Angle did the second, Jericho did the third, Lesnar did both the fourth and fifth (Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit, and Torrie Wilson were also featured in the fifth commercial), and Wilson and Keibler did the sixth as fighting over which feature (voice over and online mode) is better. (John Cena's theme was featured in the commercial, but no actual superstars were featured for the seventh commercial). In the eighth commercial Triple H, Torrie Wilson, Rey Mysterio, John Cena and Batista were featured.
Since Here Comes The Pain, each game in the SmackDown! series has included unlockable legend characters. The legends featured either former WWE Superstars such as André the Giant, Bret Hart and Ted DiBiase or old personas of a current Superstar such as The Undertaker from the early 1990s and Kane's masked attire.
Only five playable characters have been featured in every game in the series up to and including SmackDown vs. Raw 2007. They are Kane, Triple H, The Undertaker, The Rock, and Edge. Although The Rock has been in all of the games in the series so far, he has been featured as a legend and shown as his persona in the late 1990s rather than his current persona in the sixth and seventh installment, however in the eighth installment he is in his 2002 persona. The Big Show was not selectable in Know Your Role, but was in the game and playable through a GameShark. Vince McMahon has also appeared in each game, however he has not been a selectable wrestler since Here Comes The Pain, but Vince can be unlocked in SmackDown! vs. RAW 2006 and SmackDown vs. Raw 2007 with the use of a cheat device.
Fred Durst is the only celebrity to be a playable character in one of the games. He was a secret character in Just Bring It, and Raw for the Xbox.