Happy Wrestlemania week for those who observe it! It’s the biggest weekend of the year for WWE, but some folks may not realize that it’s also a massive event for the entire industry. The city Wrestlemania takes place in also hosts multiple shows from smaller wrestling promotions, various fan conventions, live podcasts, stage shows, and other events looking to capitalize on the giant influx of fans in the area. It’s a good reminder – or revelation for some – that there’s a lot of other great stuff out there besides Vince McMahon’s billion-dollar behemoth.
The same is true for video games, as wrestling games don’t often get a spotlight without WWE’s branding. Hopefully, this list rectifies that by bringing more awareness to other upcoming titles that replicate or reimagine sports entertainment in potentially promising ways. While there’s a lot more out there than what you’ll see here, these are the titles that have captured my attention the most.
WrestleQuest is as much a love letter to classic RPGs like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI as it is to sports entertainment. As a mega fan turned grappler, you’ll build your legacy by exploring a cartoony overworld parodying past and present wrestling organizations and their associated styles. The turn-based combat incorporates fan interaction as you perform over-the-top attacks to build and maintain crowd support, boosting your offense. WrestleQuests also features references and cameos from real-life stars, such as Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Jeff Jarrett, and “Macho Man” Randy Savage.
Wrestling With Emotions: New Kid on the Block
Romance can play a major part in wrestling storylines, so how about a full-on dating sim? Wrestling With Emotion takes place in 1994, with players controlling a custom-made superstar who joins a new federation seeking fame and glory through the power of relationship-building. This choice-driven adventure lets you woo seven single wrestlers by impressing them with your personality and hand-crafted moveset. Play your cards right, and you’ll walk away holding a world title in one arm and a lover in the other.
Here’s another RPG set in a fully 3D open world. Craft a wrestler from scratch (including their entrance music) and send them off to explore five colorful regions while forming a faction of allies. You can use your crew to perform powerful tag-team moves in combat while cooperating to unravel a sinister conspiracy threatening the business. The vibrant presentation and exaggerated character designs capture wrestling’s inherent silliness in the purest way possible.
The Wrestling Code
This ambitious simulator has turned heads due to its surprisingly impressive production values (it’s being made in Unreal) that mirror WWE 2K. The Wrestling Code boasts over 100 real-life wrestlers, from big indie names to WWE alumni, several of which performed motion capture for the game. Planned features include a robust creation suite, customizable gimmick matches, a feature-dense online mode, and post-launch DLC wrestlers. The Wrestling Code comes from Virtual Basement, a studio whose credits include Ark: Survival Evolved. It still has no release window, but it’s slated to come to PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.
AEW: Fight Forever
All Elite Wrestling’s first video game has been in the works for almost as long as the company has existed, and we hope that results in an exceptional grappler. Developed by former WWE games maker Yuke’s, Fight Forever’s big selling point is that its gameplay aims to recapture the arcade style of the celebrated Nintendo 64 AKI-developed games like WCW/nWo Revenge and WWF No Mercy. Sporting a roster of AEW’s top names like Chris Jericho, Kenny Omega, and Dr. Britt Baker, Fight Forever hopes to provide a fun alternative to fans aching for a retro-style arcade throwback.
What non-WWE wrestling game are you most interested in checking out? Let us know in the comments!