Top-tier wrestling newcomers All Elite Wrestling look set to expand their horizons into the video game market with three new titles including AEW Elite GM, an as of yet untitled WWF No Mercy inspired project with wrestling game alumni Yuke’s, and most concerning – AEW Casino: Double or Nothing.
AEW Elite General Manager, a mobile game in development by Crystallized Games, looks set to put players in the booker’s chair, allowing fans the opportunity to book their own matches, shows and rivalries, while taking control of all of the behind-the-curtain work that goes into putting on a world-class wrestling show.
The premise of Elite General Manager may sound familiar to wrestling game fans as a similar mode proved very popular in WWE games of past, and more recently in the Fire Promoter DLC for Fire Pro Wrestling World. Calls from fans for a General Manager mode to return to WWE games have been commonplace for several years now though these requests have seemingly fallen on deaf ears as the mode was last seen in Smackdown Vs Raw 2008.
“Calls from fans for a General Manager mode to return to WWE games have been common place for a number of years now, however, those requests have seemingly fallen on deaf ears”
Fans are invited to sign up to the AEW Games mailing list to stay up to date on development and have a chance to participate in a future AEW Elite GM beta testing program.
The as of yet untitled AEW/Yuke’s project is the most traditional take on wrestling games of the bunch, looking to release to both current and next-gen PlayStation and Xbox consoles sometime next year. Yuke’s have a rich history of developing video games dating back to 1995 and including titles like WWF SmackDown! and resulting sequels, along with WWE 12/13 and the WWE 2K franchise up until the 2K19 entry in the series. Yuke’s absence from WWE 2K20 is cited by many as one of the biggest reasons the game had so many issues and scored so poorly with critics and fans alike. With such a proven and focused history of producing wrestling games, it’s hard to imagine that AEW could have gone to a better developer with the intention of creating a strong entry title for their future franchise of games.
AEW Casino: Double or Nothing sounds most concerning here, with the games industry already plagued with legally dubious randomized loot boxes and packed to the brim with microtransactions, the idea of a company actively seeking to create a gambling game using an IP that is child or youth-friendly concerns me and seems like a move at ends with the wrestling promotion’s progressive and socially conscious image. Under the development of Kama Games, Europe’s largest mobile poker operator with an industry-leading portfolio of free-to-play casino games, players will be able to tackle the house online and offline in tournaments and solo play on their Android and iOS devices with chances to real real AEW merchandise. AEW Casino: Double or Nothing will feature AEW branded versions of slots, blackjack, poker and roulette and feature tie-in media such as AEW licensed music, sounds, videos, wrestler virtual avatars and gift packs.
As a whole, this announcement seems promising, and the Yuke’s title could be a much-needed shot of diversity to the wrestling game market, which in recent years has stagnated with WWE games not having to fend off contemporaries or innovate in any way to stay competitive. While I remain dubious on the legitimacy of a Casino game, there exists no evidence that this game will be cash-based gambling, more likely to be microtransaction based in buying set chip amounts to continue to play.
We’ll keep an eye out for further information on these titles. You can check out the AEW Games reveal event below, or check out the AEW Games website HERE.