Since its launch in November, WWE ’12 has been the unfortunate victim of a lack of game testing. Glitches, crashes, and even a semi-non-functional online portion. Fans were outraged, many even returning or selling the game within a week. We were told a patch was in the works, which took a little over two months to release. After the patches release on January 30th, things seem to be in even worse shape. Connection to the online menus only works about 50% of the time, the online play is laggy (often times unplayable), and custom searches on the Community Creations sends you back to the game’s online menu. THQ offered a “make good” DLC character, masked Kane, which many fans were disappointed about as it was merely a character model from SmackDown vs. RAW 2011 carried over, which a lot of experienced game coders have said was merely 20 minutes work.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot of options. Because of THQ‘s contract with WWE, the games are required to be released on an annual basis. Another problem is that the game is co-developed with Japanese company Yuke’s, and THQ has stated in the past that working with a Japanese company creates it’s own set of problems with communication and the language barrier. All of these problems have even set THQ behind on WWE ’13‘s development, which likely means that it will feature it’s own set of problems and it’s also likely that many of the problems in this year’s game could be carried over. THQ however refuses to ditch Yuke’s and cited the infamous WWE WrestleMania 21 as an example of what would happen if they did, and that game was released unfinished and caused Studio Gigante (headed by Mortal Kombat co-creator John Tobias) to go bankrupt.
Fans of the game have grown tired of the yearly problems, and have even started petitions to have WWE remove THQ as the developer of their games. Some have even cited that EA owns the engine used to create Nintendo 64‘s WWE No Mercy, which is often cited as being the greatest professional wrestling game of all-time.
On Monday, THQ posted a survey on their WWE blog, asking players about their online experiences and the problems they’ve encountered. They even posted a blog on February 23rd;
“In general, if you experience a disconnect or server unavailable message, this is likely due to an intermittent server outage or the connections to the database being maxed out. As we reduce the overhead for complex Community Creation database searches with some tuning optimizations we are rolling in over the coming weeks, the frequency of these notices should be reduced, getting our environment to a more stable and reliable state.”
While THQ continues to work on the servers, many fans have stated that they no longer support THQ and are done with the series. This could be a bad thing as the WWE games are one of the company’s top franchises, and low sales for WWE ’13 could bring a lot of trouble to THQ as they’re already facing a number of problems. Sadly, this could be the final stretch for THQ as a company.
While I personally don’t want to see a company have to close it’s doors, stuff like this makes me wish I wouldn’t have given such a generous review to WWE ’12, but I could have never predicted that the online issues would still be going on 3 months later. At the same time, I’m anxious to see how things play out after the release of WWE ’13 later this year. Oh, what a tangled web we weave.