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   Wed, April 23, 2008



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TNA's resident gamers pumped for TNA Impact!'s release
By BOB KAPUR - SLAM! Wrestling




LAS VEGAS -- The TNA Impact! video game was previewed last week at a media event hosted by Midway Games, the company that will be releasing the game in September. SLAM! Wrestling had a chance to talk to a number of TNA stars about the game and their involvement in its development.

A.J. Styles was one of a few roster members, along with Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels, former company star Senshi, and Sonjay Dutt, who was involved in the motion capture process. Wearing a special body suit covered in sensors, Styles would perform the moves, and through a process too difficult for this reporter to comprehend, these would be programmed into the game as movements for the on-screen characters.

"It's a little challenging," Styles said about the process, "because you're doing all of these other peoples' moves, and you're never going to do them exactly right. But I think we did really well overall."

TNA announcer Jeremy Borash was also brought into the Midway studios as part of the game's creation. Unlike Styles, though, his efforts were completely within his comfort zone.

"My work," he explained, "mainly consisted of time in the studio. It was actually very easy. (In the game), I'm doing the ring announcing. I just had to, for example introduce AJ Styles ten different ways. I was out there for a couple of days, and I think I'm going to go out there more as (work on the game progresses). There's a lot of voice work in the game; I did a lot, and I know that (commentators) Mike (Tenay) and Don (West) did a lot. I'm really looking forward to seeing the final product when it's all put together.

Echoing these sentiments are Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley, collectively known as the Motor City Machine Guns. During the hands-on portion of the media event, the duo could be found battling each other on-screen, a far cry from their teamwork in the ring.

"We wanted to play as a team," laughed Sabin, "but Tag Team mode isn't available on the demo version. If it's anything like the Ultimate X match, though, I'm sure it's going to be a really good option when it comes to fruition."

Shelley agreed, noting that, "the game is a blast so far, and with four more months of development, I can only imagine what it will be like when it finally hits the shelves."

X Division champion Jay Lethal is having a tough time even waiting for those four months to be over.

"I consider video games to be a good 60% of my life," he joked, "so of course I'm excited to see the final product. My favourite feature? The fact that I'm in it. It's every gamer's dream to have themselves in a video game."


Samoa Joe in a motion capture suit.
TNA champ Samoa Joe has actually had that dream come true in the past, but being included in a past Japanese game pales in comparison to his inclusion in TNA Impact!

"I was included in a Japanese game, but they slightly change your image, and change your name to just get around your copyrights and all that. So I consider this my first legitimate chance to be in a video game. And I'm very happy with what (Midway and TNA) have come up with. I think the final product will be something that people around the world have been waiting for: a unique game with good gameplay and unique matches that doesn't feel stale. I think we've really accomplished that."

RELATED LINKS

  • A look at the upcoming TNA video game
  • Photo Gallery: TNA Impact! video game preview
  • Past SLAM! Wrestling video game stories and reviews

    Bob Kapur still hasn't beaten 'Freebird' on Expert. Wish him luck at bobkapur@hotmail.com.