THQ Nordic and veterans of the wrestling genre Yukes recently made a long-awaited return to the ring, with AEW: Fight Forever the first serious competition to 2K's official WWE games in years. Initial reactions from fans have been broadly positive, with many enjoying a return to the more old school Yukes style, but obviously AEW as a brand doesn't quite have the heft of WWE: what this game needs is a standout feature. And it looks like it may well get one.
Out of nowhere THQ Nordic has released a teaser for an upcoming battle royale mode called Stadium Stampede, and it's the first time a wrestling game has got me interested in years. It's a rumble set in a giant football stadium that appears to be filled with items including jeeps, horses, guns, and lord knows what else, with 30 wrestlers battling to come out on top. It looks absolutely ludicrous and, for my money, wrestling games should be as ludicrous and over-the-top as wrestling at its best.
Developer Yukes has yet to date the mode beyond saying it's "coming soon" and the tagline: "30 wrestlers enter the stadium. Only one can reign supreme." In a slightly melancholy way this reminds me of Rumbleverse, the free-to-play wrestling style battle royale that was pretty good but failed to find an audience, and was closed after only six months.
Whether Yukes' latest effort can make an impact against the all-conquering WWE games (which it played a big part in establishing) remains to be seen, but if anything's a differentiator it's a wrestler driving a jeep into another wrestler before delivering a DDT to the stunned victim. So: where we dropping boys?