Fire Pro Wrestling World was recently released to early access on Steam, and the game is just the latest in a long series of titles dating back to the early 1990s. The game was a long time coming, ten years in the making with more changes on the way, according to the executive director of the title, Tomoyuki Matsumoto.
Matsumoto was emotional in his post on the Steam page, stating it has been a long journey but "I followed through to the end, and look where it got us. But I wasn't alone... you and fans like you helped push me through the rough spots."
Recently, Matsumoto sat down with Jeremy Parish of Retronauts, conducting an interview on Fire Pro Wrestling World. Much of the interview discusses Matsumoto's history with the series- from how he joined Human Entertainment, the previous IP owners of Fire Pro, a year before they went out of business. At the time he was working on his first title in the series, Fire Pro Wrestling G, which was released on the Original Playstation only in Japan in 1999.
The return to the series for Fire Pro Wrestling World was mounted by a small, ten person team of developers, coupled with Matsumoto convincing the series current IP owner, Spike Chunsoft, to release a title on Steam as a platform due to its widespread use in the West and growing use in Japan.
Part of that strategy was to release the game on Early Access. "The main reason that we're doing Early Access is so that we can create the new Fire Pro with the community," stated Matsumoto "We're pretty much open to whatever fans have to say so, you know — all of you long-term Fire Pro fans, just let us know what you want and we'll definitely consider it."
Some examples include small gameplay tweaks suggested by fans, including new layers for the game's robust editing mode, to running into the ring to keep up a matches momentum. The fundamental gameplay of Fire Pro Wrestling World, however, which involves a lot of timing and strategic play, will not be changed.
Matsumoto is excited about what post-release additions the team can add to the game. One suggestion by the fans is a management mode, where players can run their own wrestling promotion, ad Matsumoto notes that the more feedback they get on what features to add, the harder it is for the team to ignore it. "We want as much feedback as we can possibly get from people," states Matsumoto. "And the Fire Pro community is very specific with their wants and needs, but so am I. So anything goes."
One of the new additions to the title is an online mode, which Matsumoto is proud to include in the game. He hopes to add more online features, including a form of YouTube integration, in the future to help support the Fire Pro community. Outside of the online mode, the rest of the game, despite being built from the ground up on a new engine, retains almost all of the features found in previous Fire Pro titles.
The game will not only be on Steam either, as a PlayStation 4 version will be made available later on. Matsumoto noted that the PS4 version of the game was not released yet due to Sony not allowing early access titles on the system. Matsumoto, however, hopes that Fire Pro Wrestling World can travel even beyond the PS4.
"Speaking for me personally, I would love to put the game on Switch." stated Matsumoto at the end of the interview. Currently, however, there are no plans for a Switch version of the game.
For Matsumoto though, the goal in the end for Fire Pro Wrestling World is simple; "I see World as a journey to create the ultimate Fire Pro game. We're really not focused on a sequel right now. We plan on continuously updating World based on user feedback. We want to create a Fire Pro that gives the fans everything that they've ever wanted. So we'll see where things go from there."
Fire Pro Wrestling World is available on Steam Right now.