Fighting in the Backyard
We'll fight them in the paddling pools
Eidos is muscling in on the wrestling sim genre, having picked up the license to Backyard Wrestling and set developer Paradox to task bringing it to PS2 and Xbox this summer. You can see the first fruits of their labour here.
Clearly the Tomb Raider publisher wants a piece of THQ's SmackDown shaped pie, and Backyard Wrestling (which is effectively lots of preposterously named characters beating the crap out of one another with barbed-wire baseball bats, thumbtacks, light bulbs and stop signs in somebody's 'back yard') is as good an opportunity as any to pinch a slice.
Paradox has wasted no time in one-upping itself with regards to the feature set either. Things which BYW will have, which SmackDown does not, include the aforementioned weapons, real-life BYW wrestlers (Josh Prohibition, MDogg20, etc - sounds like a Compuserve chat room to us) and back yard arenas, along with a rather spangly damage engine which accounts for cuts, bruises and gashes all over wrestlers' bodies. Although we're not sure cuts, bruises and gashes will cover the act of hurling someone off a 25 foot rooftop onto a burning table far below.
"Backyard Wrestling will redefine the wrestling game genre for next generation consoles," product manager Kevin Gill predicts, somewhat tediously. "Breaking free of the restrictive ring and non-immersive environments that have traditionally been offered in the genre, Backyard Wrestling will be the most outrageous and over-the-top extreme wrestling and action game available on the market today," he continues. Then again, when we reviewed SmackDown Shut Your Mouth late last year, we agreed there was definite room for improvement - perhaps BYW has a chance after all.