THQ is shedding its assets faster than Lance Armstrong is losing accolades. One of THQ's most valuable assets is the WWE video game license. There are rampant rumors swirling through the twittersphere at the time this article is being written. Electronic Arts is the front runner to get the license, but 2K games and others have also been the source of speculation as well.
Many fans of the long running game franchise want to see a new company make WWE games. They are tired of over promised and under delivered games that THQ has produced since having the WWE license. With issues ranging from servers that are nearly impossible to get on at times to poor A.I. and a reluctance to patch such issues in a timely manner (or at all), it is understandable why longtime fans would be ready for a change.
Just be careful what you wish for, because you may not like the result. Historically, when a franchise changes hands or just switches to a new engine, the first year is not very good. It could take years just to get a franchise back to where it was at the point of the transfer.
I remember when this generation of gaming consoles were in their infancy and the Xbox and PS2 were in their last days. I was excited to see what Madden Football could accomplish on "next gen" systems. When the first "next gen" Madden finally arrived, it was highly underwhelming. It took years and years of developing just to get that game back to a point where it at least had the majority of the features that were on older consoles.
If the WWE license changes hands, I would prefer that Yukes and the THQ WWE games team remain involved in the game in some capacity. I don't want to start over from scratch. It would take three to five years for a WWE game to be developed to the point where you have such a rich feature set as fans currently enjoy.
If that happens, don't expect a fully fleshed out creation suite. Look at other western wrestling games in their first year or two. The TNA game, the AAA game and even WWE Superstars (which was also published by THQ) had horrid creation suites. Why? That kind of thing takes years to develop.
The reason many like the Smackdown/WWE game series is because they can make it into any kind of game they choose. If you are more a fan of TNA than WWE, you can make this game a better TNA game than the actual TNA game ever was. Likewise, this game can be a New Japan Pro Wrestling game or a Lucha Libre game if that is what you want. You can create the wrestlers, wrestling moves and arenas. If you aren't good at creating them yourself, you can find just about anything you want already created. You can also make this game a fighting game starring your very own friends and family. If you have always dreamed of putting your boss through a table head first, you can do that.
If this franchise is sold to another company and if that company does not want to use the current game as a base to build from, you can forget about all that stuff. The first year or two will be spent on redeveloping the very basic mechanics of a wrestling game. While the end product may be better than the current product, it will take years to get to that point.
The first year will probably yield a very basic creation suite and very drastically fewer moves. Superstars will probably share many of the same moves. There will probably only be a few basic match types to choose from. If fans can live with that for a few years, then the new game may be fantastic... but there is no guaranteeing that it won't be much worse.
I believe the best thing for fans would taking the game as it is now and putting it in front of new and innovative eyes. I have long held the opinion that the thing that has held this series back has always been the upper management of THQ and not the WWE Games team that works on the game. Most of the issues with this game could have been solved by a better budget and a bigger development team.
It may be a great thing for the future of this franchise to let a fresh new team of developers get their hands on the WWE franchise, but starting over from scratch is not the best thing for fans. If you get the resources of a company like EA behind what is already there in the Yukes engine, there is no limit to how great this game could be.