Posted on May 11th, 2010 5 comments
…Fire Pro Wrestling, Human’s first independent game release.
Fire Pro’s design roots undoubtedly lie with the original Nintendo Pro Wrestling, and there was some discussion in the comments about whether Human themselves developed Pro Wresting on a subcontractor basis or not. I’ve done some more research since then, and I’ve come up with a definitive answer — it wasn’t Human, but it was the company that became Human (they went by the name TRY back then), and the same programmer/designer is behind both games.
Here are some excerpts from an interview with Masato Masuda, the top man behind Fire Pro during its entire history, as published in Volume 11 of CONTINUE.
Q: So you started out as a programmer.
A: Right. At the time, people who could code games also wound up writing out the designs for them.
Q: Is that how the process worked with Pro Wresting?
A: It was. That was made mostly by myself and someone else who drew the graphics. I thought up the game system and programmed it by myself. [...] When you watch wrestling on TV, you start to notice that most casual fans drift toward the villains instead of the good guys. When my friends and I played Pro Wrestling, there was always at least one guy who wanted to be The Amazon. There’s something about his biting and illegal weapons that’s really easy for people to get into. It made me realize how important the heel role was to the whole thing.
Q: The game itself was pretty popular, too. It sold a lot of copies in the US.
A: Oh, it was crazy in the US. According to Famitsu, it was the number-one game over there for about two months. I was so happy about that; it felt sort of like I had the #1 music single in the US or something.
As I touched on briefly in my Fire Pro review, the chief difference between Masuda’s first two wrestling games (besides the viewpoint) is how they control — Pro Wrestling is all about quick button mashing, while Fire Pro forces players to keenly hone their timing skills to pull off moves. It’s a small improvement that made the resulting game much fairer, much more reliant on skill then luck, and ultimately much more successful. In Japan, anyway.