Exclusive: Indie game designer Mat Dickie discusses how he tapped into the spirit of 1980s era pro wrestling as well as player-created content for his hit mobile game, Wrestling Revolution 3D, now featuring full controller support for NVIDIA SHIELD.
By Patrick Shaw | 11-18-2014 | 3:00PM
Wrestling Revolution 3D is a tribute to the golden age of professional wrestling in the 1980s.
The game’s larger-than-life wrestlers, presentation and in-ring antics are inspired by the era of pro wrestling ruled by stars like Hulk Hogan and “Macho Man” Randy Savage.
Mat Dickie, creator of Wrestling Revolution 3D and its predecessor Wrestling Revolution, tells NVISION that the game also harkens back to early wrestling games on home consoles like the Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64—a time he says when great gameplay was always more important than graphics.
“For me, the magic of mobile apps is that gaming has come full circle. Old-fashioned 2D games, and even simpler 3D games, are back in style—which suits independents like me perfectly,” Dickie says.
“I’ve been able to tap into the spirit of both 2D classics and 3D classics and keep those flames alive,” he adds.
Unlike officially licensed video games featuring the biggest names from organizations such as WWE, Wrestling Revolution 3D gives players the ability to create their very own wrestling superstars, allowing them to customize everything from a wrestler’s appearance and signature moves to their victory celebration and entrance music. There are thousands of possible variations players have access to when bringing characters to life.
While the characters featured in Wrestling Revolution 3D are entirely original, the game is heavily inspired by pro wrestling. Dickie recalls that he first became a lifelong fan of pro wrestling when he was 10-years-old.
“[In school, other children] showed me this picture of the Ultimate Warrior, who was so big and colorful that he looked like a real-life superhero…,” he says. “There was just something about that live action spectacle that fascinated me more than any competitive sport.”
“Then when I returned to wrestling as an adult, it was more for the politics,” he continues. “I was intrigued by what really happens behind the scenes with these guys; who got to be the ‘champion’ and what that meant in real terms. So now that’s the aspect of it that my games are known to explore. I took wrestling as a fighting game and turned it into an RPG.”
Wrestling Revolution 3D encourages players to use their imagination to develop their own wrestling stars. Dickie explains how a big part of the game’s appeal is the tremendous amount of freedom it gives players to shape their own experience.
“I like my games to be so ‘open’ that the players can do things that the developer didn’t even know were possible,” he says. “In Wrestling Revolution, there are so many different combinations of moves, in so many different situations, that you really do experience something unique each time.”
Often times, the user-created wrestling characters players dream up are as compelling to watch enter the ring as the real thing.
“Customization is at the heart of most of my games, because that’s what I use to create so many characters in the first place,” he says. “I then simply leave that closet unlocked for everybody else to enjoy rummaging through.”
After surpassing one million downloads in the first five weeks after its initial launch, Wrestling Revolution 3D has recently arrived on Android featuring full controller support for the NVIDIA SHIELD Portable. Dickie describes what it’s been like seeing his game grow and reach more gamers on new platforms.
“It’s almost too many people,” he remarks, “because I’ve got 5 million eyeballs on a demo instead of the finished game. By my estimation, every wrestling fan with an Android device is already aware of the game so there isn’t much higher to aim.”
The real challenge, as Dickie explains, is keeping those players thoroughly immersed in the game.
“Of course, new ways to play such as on NVIDIA SHIELD are also helping to breathe new life into the franchise,” he says. “Now that it’s gone live on TegraZone, it will be interesting to see how many of those gamers join the Wrestling Revolution!”
In terms of what’s next for the Wrestling Revolution series, Dickie is dedicated to building on the momentum he’s started and will soon be introducing brand new features like a full-blown RPG-style career mode where you get to live the fantasy life of a pro wrestler complete with backstage politics, meaningful matches, and the ability to run live Wrestling shows themselves.
“By the time it’s finished, it should be the most comprehensive simulation in the industry that you can fit in your pocket,” Dickie tells us. “After that, I intend to take a break from the genre—whilst side-stepping into one that has more than a few similarities…”
Wrestling Revolution 3D is now available to download for free on Android from TegraZone and Google Play.