For many wrestling fans, the last week has been pretty monumental. The Undertaker has finally retired, taking one of wrestling’s larger than life stars out of the sport. It seems fitting, therefore, that we got to sit down with Netmarble president Simon Sim to chat about bringing the Undertaker, into mobile brawler King of Fighters: Allstars. During May, the online brawler brought together the world of WWE and the mobile gaming arena in a crossover that put wrestling royalty like The Undertaker, John Cena, The Rock, and Beck Lynch to a very different type of arena. The event added a total of eight wrestlers, available from a range of activities, and even features commentary from Michael Cole.
With new dungeons, rush events, WWE-Themed Summon Banners, and a new super mission all included during this crossover, the WWE’s entrance into KOF Allstar landed with something of a slam. It even plays better than some other big budget wrestling titles, in our opinion. With all that said, we got down to the mat and talked to Simon before somebody else’s entrance music interrupted.
Gamespace: King of Fighters x WWE is an interesting concept. We’d normally expect to see anime characters jump into mobile games more often than not. How did the collab come about?
Simon: There are many WWE fans at both Netmarble US Office and Netmarble HQ in South Korea. That was definitely a part of the decision. But mainly, we decided to do this because we wanted to give something unexpected and fun to our players, and we wanted to make history with a fighting game crossover nobody had ever seen before. We think we accomplished both goals with this event.
Gamespace: Why WWE in particular rather than another combat sport for example?
Simon: The King of Fighters franchise is known for featuring several playable characters that are predominantly wrestling/grappling focused, so we thought a collaboration with WWE would mesh well with the existing line-up. Being able to bring the wit and charm of the WWE Superstars into the mix also presented some very compelling and entertaining story-lines for us to explore.
Gamespace: How did you choose the characters to include and do you know how the wrestlers felt about it?
Simon: We worked closely with both SNK and WWE to take into account a variety of factors that ultimately determined which WWE Superstars we would feature in the collaboration. These factors included how popular the WWE Superstars were amongst both new and old WWE fans, how diverse the WWE Superstar skill sets would be within the KING OF FIGHTERS ALLSTAR engine, and how fun the WWE Superstars would be to play as in-game amongst the KING OF FIGHTERS ALLSTAR fans both familiar and unfamiliar with the WWE brand.
Gamespace: Each of the WWE Superstars has their own unique abilities, how did you decide on which moves to bring into game and still make the super moves feel fitting to the character?
Simon: Our very talented team of developers and artists in South Korea’s Netmarble Neo studio put great care towards studying WWE broadcasts to accurately portray each of the WWE Superstars. Many hours were spent modelling the Superstars to ensure their authenticity. Based on all the positive fan responses, it seems the developers succeeded in creating an art style that felt natural to both the WWE Superstars and the KING OF FIGHTERS ALLSTAR world.
Gamesapce: How important was it to make these characters an achievable goal, especially for WWE fans jumping in for the first time?
Simon: We did this event for KOF and WWE fans alike, so we put great thought towards making it achievable for players to unlock the WWE Superstars during the event period.
Gamespace: When you’re embodying characters that everybody has seen and heard so many times on a worldwide stage, how do you get the audio and authentic mannerisms just right?
Simon: Our talented dev team spent many hours studying the WWE Superstars to portray them just right. We also worked with WWE to secure some pretty awesome sound-bytes.
Gamespace: Are we likely to see more superstars in the future?
Simon: We will see what the future holds
— The King of Fighters ALLSTAR (@playkofallstar) May 21, 2020
Gamespace: How could we expect Omega Travis to fair against these WWE superstars?
Simon: Omega Travis is someone whose true potential I think has still not yet been unleashed. I think if he were to go head-to-head with the WWE Superstars, it would be a match that really pushes him one step closer to evolving into his final form.
If you want in on the action, then you can head over to the official King of Fighters Allstar webpage to check out all the 3D action as fighters are thrown into one of the world’s most prestigious tournaments. With no memories of your own, you’ll face off against some of the King of Fighters greatest heroes from KOF ’94 – KOF XIV and participate in a number of online challenges. From an engaging single player story to player vs player encounters, King of Fighters Allstar is an on the go battle that fans of the long standing beat em up franchise might want to take a look into. If it’s good enough for the Deadman after all.