There’s nothing quite like stepping into the shoes of a wrestler, unleashing a people’s elbow, pinning down an opponent, and soaking in a glorious victory. Playing wrestling games is one of my guilty pleasures — and I’m sure it is for many folks, especially long-time fans of the Fire Pro Wrestling series. The most recent Fire Pro title, Fire Pro Wrestling World, was originally released by Spike Chunsoft on PC back in December 2017 and was later released on PlayStation 4 in August 2018.
To this day, the game continues to get mass support, including DLC content and updates. Speaking of DLC, we recently shared the announcement for Fire Pro Wrestling World: Fighting Road: 2017 NJPW Heavyweight Championship, but also recently, Spike Chunsoft revealed that Suda51 is working on DLC scenario for Fire Pro Wrestling World. Curious to know more about what’s coming up for Fire Pro Wrestling World, Noisy Pixel took a moment to chat with David Kracker, localization director at Spike Chunsoft, to learn more.
Brad Crespo: You mentioned that Fire Pro Wrestling World: Fighting Road: 2017 NJPW Heavyweight Championship marks a series first since the DLC officially has an NJPW (New Japan Pro-Wrestling) license. How’d that happen and how has the licensing partnership gone so far?
David Kracker: The partnership has gone well! The gaming industry is surprisingly small, and people in it just know each other. Our contact in NJPW actually worked with one of our producers from Danganronpa, like way back in the day, and the two have stayed in touch. Basically, the contact saw that we [Spike Chunsoft] were working on a new Fire Pro and thought “oh, they’re working on a new Fire Pro, maybe I should approach them to see if NJPW can get involved?” And so, we kind of just went back and forth about the idea of getting an NJPW license, and then it happened.
BC: It seems that the developer has been really receptive to community feedback, especially since there are so many community creations in the Steam Workshop for the game. Is this something that will continue?
DK: Yeah, so we’re kind of handling the game almost like a games-as-a-service kind of way. It originally came out in Early Access in 2017, and ever since then, fans have been requesting new features. The devs, themselves, are also huge fans of the game, and so fans have said “we want features A, B, and C” and then the devs actually think of the same things. It’s really assuring for the devs to hear that fans want similar things in the game — it gets them excited. Generally, devs don’t get that kind of feedback, and it’s nice that what fans want has meshed so well with the Fire Pro devs vision of the game.
BC: The upcoming DLC is releasing on PC on March 13 but isn’t getting released on PS4 until April 11. Was there a development issue or something along those lines that caused this?
DK: No, not really. So for one of our previous DLC’s, the new content came out on PS4 first and then it wasn’t added to the PC version until later. So, we felt kind of bad about that, and ideally, we wanted a simultaneous release for both versions to show both the PC and PS4 community that we appreciate them. Releasing the upcoming DLC on PC first is our way of making it up to the PC community and show that we appreciate all of them — especially players that have been playing the game for years and have been active in the game’s forums.
BC: As far as the recently-revealed Suda51 DLC scenario goes, is Spike Chunsoft pretty much giving Suda free reign to do whatever he wants with the DLC?
DK: Yeah, we basically kind of discussed with him a basic idea of what we wanted to do with the DLC, and that we were thinking of having it as a sequel to the original Fire Pro game, which Suda worked on. Aside from that, whatever Suda wants to do is cool with us. There were some crazy wrestling moves in the original Fire Pro, and Suda is thinking about new moves for the original game characters that will be coming back in the new DLC he’s working on, so the developers are going to have to come with animations that have to match Suda’s vision. Suda himself is a pro wrestling fan and so he wants to create something that’s never been done before.
BC: How did the opportunity with Suda51 even begin? Did he just come knocking at Spike Chunsoft’s front door, asking to work on DLC for Fire Pro Wrestling?
DK: We’ve known Suda for a long time. One of the producers for Fire Pro has worked with Suda on past projects, so the two have known each other for a while. The producer has asked Suda to collaborate on a Fire Pro project before, but nothing had happened. However, Suda’s recent project Travis Strikes Again released recently, so he was like, “well, now I have the time.” So yeah, he basically has the time to work on a Fire Pro project now, which is great.
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