Since the very first teaser trailer dropped in November, 2020, wrestling fans around the world sat in anticipation for All Elite Wrestling’s debut game. However, for the nearly two years following its announcement, updates on the game’s status remained scarce. With the exception of the occasional (fairly obvious) roster reveals, news remained relatively dark about AEW: Fight Forever.
Fast forward to last week, and the lack of information on AEW’s video game rapidly changed pace. Along with the announcement of THQ Nordic officially signing a global publishing deal, we also got tons of new information on what to expect from the title. So, as we await the upcoming release of AEW: Fight Forever, here’s everything we know so far!
Good old fashioned pro-wrestling action
Apart from its attachment to the highly popular AEW brand, Fight Forever’s biggest selling point is its revitalization of arcade-style wrestling. Executive Vice President and former World Champion Kenny Omega made this mission abundantly clear from the very beginning. Along with the over-the-top teaser trailer, some of the game’s earliest announcements included Yuke’s helming the development team and WWF No Mercy director Hideyuki Iwashita stepping into an advisory position.
Additionally, throughout the game’s development, Omega frequently doubled down on the team’s goal to make a fast-paced wrestling game that captured similar aesthetics to the classics of yesteryear. This past February, in response to the ultra-realistic graphics of WWE 2K22, Omega admitted that visuals are low on the team’s priority list. As opposed to realism, he stated that the focus of AEW: Fight Forever is quite the opposite: addictive and fast-paced arcade fun.
We’ll never be [able] to compete with the production value of WWE’s games. You look at 2K22; it’s absolutely gorgeous. We just want the wrestling to feel like how it used to feel for the people who would play wrestling games back in the day.Kenny Omega
AEW: Fight Forever combines nostalgic, arcade-wrestler feel with innovative AEW finishers and tandem offense moves!THQ Nordic
Be the elite!
Since the game’s announcement, AEW sporadically revealed more wrestlers who will feature in the video game’s roster. As AEW beefed up its own active roster, fans also began speculating which newer additions would make it into the final game. Although it’s no secret that the game going over budget led to some newer additions not making it past the cutting room floor, we will see some of the company’s major stars.
Earlier this year, Fightful Select reported that AEW: Fight Forever will launch with around 50 wrestlers. While this is only half of the current active roster, AEW has plans to increase the amount of wrestlers in the game through post-launch DLC packs.
So, we’ll have a great roster when we launch, and then we’ll still be able to add people through DLC as we go, but making sure we get the best possible roster when we start.Tony Khan, President of AEW
One roster inclusion at launch that may shock fans, however, is Cody Rhodes. As anyone who follows professional wrestling knows, the former AEW EVP left the company earlier this year to make his WWE return at WrestleMania. As a result, many speculated that Rhodes ultimately would not appear in AEW’s game.
Instead, Omega confirmed that regardless of Rhodes’ current status as a WWE Superstar, he will feature prominently in the game. In fact, in an interview with Sports Illustrated, Omega emphasized the importance of preserving AEW’s legacy from the company’s inception. Since Rhodes played such a pivotal role in founding the promotion, there was never a possibility of him not making it into the game.
I was very passionate about making sure his legacy and position within the company was preserved… …You get to experience AEW from the beginning, from day one. The game is going to reflect a lot of that, even though our locker room is ever-changing.Kenny Omega
To this point, AEW has confirmed 19 total wrestlers who will appear in Fight Forever’s roster at launch. From released screenshots and trailers, to mentions in interviews, here are all the confirmed wrestlers in the game so far:
- Adam Cole
- Britt Baker
- Chris Jericho
- CM Punk
- Cody Rhodes
- Darby Allin
- “Hangman” Adam Page
- Hikaru Shida
- Jade Cargill
- Jon Moxley
- Jungle Boy
- Kenny Omega
- Kris Statlander
- Nyla Rose
- Owen Hart
- Penta Oscuro
- Thunder Rosa
- Yuka Sakazaki
Oddly, word just came out about two notable wrestlers who will not appear in the game. Via Fightful Select’s Sean Ross Sapp, FTR, the team of Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler, will not be in the game at launch. Though, while some fans may be outraged at the news, FTR themselves are not upset.
Become an AEW legend in Career Mode!
While all of WWE’s games feature a Career Mode in some capacity, recent installments have not lived up to the glory days of No Mercy and the early SmackDown! games. These games were known for branching storylines that changed depending on win/loss records and always creative (sometimes outlandish) story arcs that gave these titles endless replayability. From the team working on the game to the comparisons made by Omega himself to these classics, AEW Fight Forever’s Career Mode is a feature many fans are excited for.
Although full details remain scarce on what exactly Career Mode looks like in AEW: Fight Forever. Publisher THQ Nordic did cue us in a little in the game’s official description. Overall, the mode will involve taking a created wrestler through their AEW journey, where you’ll start from the bottom and upgrade your wrestler’s stats over time.
The mode will take place across an event schedule where you will feature in a series of matches and stories. The mode will also feature a skill-based progression system where you’ll earn points through winning matches and completing special objectives. You can then use these points as currency to improve your wrestler’s attributes across various areas.
Although that’s definitely a vague description that seems standard for all wrestling games, we’ll likely learn more details about Career Mode in the coming weeks as THQ Nordic ramps up promotion.
Go All Out on your creations!
Another feature fans are chomping at the bits to learn more about is the creation suite. All the way since WWF: Warzone, wrestling fans became accustomed to getting the ability to create their own wrestler, and the mode is now a staple for all games in the genre. Therefore, it should come as no shock that AEW: Fight Forever promises a deep and intuitive creation suite.
Currently, we don’t yet have any information on the scope of options players will have when customizing wrestlers. However, we do know that the overall creation suite will feature a breadth of areas within the game to customize to your liking. THQ Nordic details the full list of everything included in the creation suite.
These options include:
- Custom wrestler attires and appearances
- Original move sets
Did somebody say exploding barbed wire?
Since its inception in 2019, AEW put on a variety of unique match types. From the outlandish Mimosa Mayhem Match to the carnage of Blood & Guts, AEW: Fight Forever has a lot of interesting stipulations to pull from. However, for now, THQ Nordic officially announced nine matches players can duke it out in.
- Casino Battle Royale
- Falls Count Anywhere
- Unsanctioned Lights-Out
- Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match
Naturally, most of the featured match types shouldn’t come as a surprise to wrestling fans. Standard one-on-one, two-on-two and three/four-way matches are the core matches you can expect out of any wrestling game. In addition, ladder matches and variations of weapon-based no-holds-barred matches (Unsanctioned Lights-Out and Falls Count Anywhere) are also highly common.
However, the truly interesting additions are the Casino Battle Royale and Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match. For those unfamiliar with AEW programming, the Casino Battle Royale puts a spin on WWE’s famous Royal Rumble. The rules involve 21 entrants in an every-man-for-himself competition, where wrestlers are eliminated by getting sent over the top rope with both feet hitting the floor.
However, instead of only two competitors starting off, we begin with five. Every 90 seconds, five more wrestlers enter the ring. This continues until the first 20 competitors enter. Finally, the wrestler who drew the Joker card enters last at the coveted entry number of 21. The last competitor in the ring wins.
Changing the pace a little, the Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match is exactly how it sounds. The ring is surrounded in barbed wire that also detonates explosives when wrestlers make contact. Although AEW’s take on the spectacle garnered criticism for its lackluster pyros, featuring the match within an arcade style video game should give wrestling fans the carnage and extreme booms they crave.
For now, these are the only nine matches we can officially expect to see in the game. However, there is always the possibility of rule variations that could allow players to get creative with stipulations. Unfortunately, we cannot say whether not that will be the case at this time.
Form the ultimate online tag-team
Of all the wrestling AEW offers on a weekly basis, they arguably have the best tag-team division of any promotion. With teams like FTR, The Young Bucks and The Hardys, it’s no wonder tag-team wrestling is treated with so much respect there. Naturally, this will translate heavily into the video game.
To make tag-team wrestling stand out in AEW: Fight Forever, Yuke’s added new features that prioritize working together and pulling off tag combos. Though we haven’t seen the new mechanics in action yet, the video game promises to feature sequences of team maneuvers and combos that make teaming up feel more cooperative than ever before in a wrestling game. These co-op mechanics will also translate into online play, where you and a friend can work together to be the best tag-team in the world.
Take a break from suplexing with some wacky mini-games
Although THQ Nordic originally didn’t plan to reveal any new gameplay until today, the official gameplay showcase already leaked online last week. For the most part, the humorous video showing Dr. Britt Baker and Tony Schiavone playing some of the game doesn’t reveal much new. However, after you watch the video for yourself, we can dive into one interesting feature revealed that may make you scratch your head.
The most interesting reveal in the latest trailer is the inclusion of mini-games. Although it’s not something I ever thought would appear in a wrestling game, one of the mini-games even involves dancing. In addition, another minigame sees wrestlers hit giant exploding baseballs with wrestlers attached to them inside a football stadium. Lastly, one of the mini-games features wrestlers battling to collect giant falling poker chips.
No, this wasn’t a fever dream.
Bringing home the gold at Gamescom 2022
Though fans got small teasers and glimpses of gameplay in the past, AEW: Fight Forever’s Gamescom 2022 demo revealed the most substantial footage to date. At the event, AEW wrestlers Evil Uno and Colt Cabana picked up the controllers in a match between Kenny Omega and Adam Cole. During the stream, fans could watch the whole match from start to finish. In case you missed it, you can watch it for yourself below.
Watching the video, you really get a sense of the WWF: No Mercy inspiration AEW’s first gaming outing has. From the overall visual presentation to its controls and momentum system, the game takes players back to the arcade-style roots of the N64 wrestling days. The impressively fun gameplay of Fight Forever received massive praise during Gamescom, even netting the title “Best Sports Game” at the event.
AEW: Fight Forever powerslams into your home soon!
AEW: Fight Forever is developed by Yuke’s and published by THQ Nordic. The game will release worldwide for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC. You can also learn more about the game and pre-order it on the official website!
Are you excited to get in the ring and enjoy some arcade-style wrestling as some of your favorite AEW stars? As always, let us know what you think down in the comments!