Interview: Sabarasa talks Lucha Libre

October 5, 2010

The upcoming Lucha Libre AAA: Heroes del Ring does a lot of things we haven’t seen in the gaming industry with a sport we haven’t really gotten to play. We got Sabarasa, the developer of the game’s Wii version, to answer some of our questions about the title.

SBG: The game offers the chance to participate in “mask vs. hair” matches online against other players. Will the consequences of losing the match be reflected in the character models? Will this match type be available offline for local multiplayer and/or the campaign mode?

The Hair vs. Mask wager is one of the big highlights in the game. But to make things clear, what makes Lucha Libre AAA: Heroes del Ring’s Hair vs. Mask wager so interesting is that the stakes are very high. Following the sport’s rich tradition, players will wager their created mask or hair online against an opponent. Winner takes all. Loser will have his mask ripped from his head or his head shaved. If that happens to you, you must win three ranked matches in a row in order to receive the ability to create a new mask. You can create the exact same match or an entirely new one, but you can never get your original back from the person who beat you.   To lose your mask, in the game and in real life, is like losing your pride. A real luchador who has his mask ripped off loses his career. He must wait seven years before he can compete again at that character. Usually it signals the end of a career. The mode is a multiplayer online mode and can be found in the story mode as well.

SBG: What other kind of modes/match types are available both online and offline? What’s the upper limit for how many wrestlers can be in or around the ring at the same time?

There are ranked and unranked matches, with up to 4 luchadores online. You can customize the rules and create the match the way you want. The most in a ring at any one time is four luchadores which we call Fatal Four Way. That is one of three multiplayer modes offered. The other two are Hair vs. Mask and Triple Theat. We also offer quick matches and story mode. Actually, I will side bar from here to talk a little about the story mode. In the story you mode you must create your own luchador. The luchador editor is one part of the game that we are very proud of, as we have made sure players have a many thousands of possibilities when creating their character. You can recreate your favorite luchador or create a brand new one.  In this editor, players will have the chance to create a mask of a Luchador that hasn’t been seen in video games or they can try to recreate a professional luchador’s mask. In the luchador creator you can create their fighting style as well as which their alignment. You will use your created character to enter the story mode as well as play online.  The possibilities for creation are unlimited.

SBG: Are there any hidden or unlockable characters other than the thirty or so mentioned?

Yes, as you progress through the story mode you will unlock characters, even some hidden ones, but we want to save those surprises for fans.

SBG: How will the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions differ from the Wii version, which is being developed separately? Will the Wii version have support for the Classic Controller or rely on motion controls?

The Wii version, which will come out in November, takes advantage of the motion controls and has been created specifically for the Wii from the ground up. It is not a port or a lesser version of the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions. Sabarasa has been working on the Wii game. The Wii version offers some similar and some new luchadores for players to battle with as well as new venues that won’t be found on the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions that were developed by Immersion Games. The story mode in the Wii version is completely different from that of the Xbox 360 and PS3 version. Even the online modes are different.

What all three have in common a game is that Lucha Libre AAA: Heroes del Ring captures the Latin flavor found in Lucha Libre. Lucha Libre differs greatly from American wrestling leagues like WWE. We were able to translate those differences from real life AAA to the video game. The game is a simulation, but we also mixed in some arcade elements to further enhance the fun factor. If you have ever seen a real life AAA battle, you know that Lucha Libre is much more aerial and spectacular in nature. One of the main goals was to create a Lucha Libre game for all three consoles that showcased the fun sport of Lucha Libre as well as its rich Hispanic culture. All three versions include intense, aerial action with humor and addictive gameplay. The gameplay incorporates features that fight fans will instantly recognize and some that we be completely new to them. We incorporated all the folklore, the amusement, the color and the spectacle of the luchas. The genre has been stale for some time. We are bringing our own perspective to the genre. That means competition. Competition breeds innovation which means that fans can expect this genre to get better.  Though there are many significant differences, I think the main one between American wrestling and Lucha Libre is that the spectacle of the fight. The fight inside the ring is based on the human factor. In Lucha Libre, luchadores are constantly trying to be innovative inside the ring. They too try to show who is the toughest, but luchadores also show variety in fighting styles. Not only do they display strength, but they fly around the ring. It is very aerial. They take advantage of their own unique skills. They also feed off the crowd. Without support, you cannot win. Luchadores feed on crowd response. You see, in the fights, the most important thing is the people who go to see the spectacle, who show favor to their favorite wrestlers and create banners to support them. You have to win the respect and admiration of the crowd before you can win. We have implemented the crowd factor, popularity, aerial action and diverse fighting styles into all three versions of our first game.

SBG: The game features a popularity system that unlocks more impressive moves as you win the support of the crowd. Gaining fan support as a “face” técnico sounds intuitive enough, but how does this system work for the “heel” rudos?

The popularity system is necessary whether you battle as a “face” or a “heel.”  You must act within the nature of your alignment in order to gain fan support.  If you are a “face” and act like a “heel” during a match, the crowd will not support you. If you don’t earn the crowd’s support, you will not be able to unlock signature moves during the match.  We have created a sign or banner editor where you create banners that will appear in the crowd during your match. If you are winning, and earning the respect of the crowd, more of you banners will appear. It’s pretty funny to see some of the insulting banners fans of creating during testing. Again, you must earn the respect of the crowd by performing well inside the ring, taunting as well as acting the part of a “face” or “heel” according to your alignment.

Lucha Libre: Heroes del Ring is published by Slang and developed by Sabarasa (Wii) and Immersion (360/PS3). The 360 and PS3 versions release October 12, while the Wii game is slated for a November release.