After many years of using the WWE Smackdown vs. Raw moniker, WWE has decided to make things much more simple. But it's not just the name that's been changed with WWE '12, Yuke's has decided that now is the perfect time to re-brand the entire franchise and bring it more in-line with the WWE experience that you witness on your TVs.
This year's game will include a host of new features, but the one that THQ are really pushing is the new "Predator Technology". It's essentially a new animation system that's allowed Yuke's to mimic wrestlers in a way that's far more accurate, but it also allows for moves to be interrupted. Archaic remnants, such as ground-based signature/finisher moves causing both characters to warp to the middle of the ring will also be eradicated due to this new technology.
The odd strange collision detection will still be there, but the Predator Technology has allowed Yuke's to decrease these oddities by a considerable amount. Not only that, but almost every aspect of the ring contains better physics.
It shows how serious the developers are about making the WWE games fresh - they aren't satisfied with pumping out average games every year. And this year's game looks like it will benefit from the new rendering technology and other back-end fixes.
There are over 70 wrestlers for you to pick from, including divas and legends - Brock Lesnar even makes an appearance. THQ also outlined some of their plans to include some never-before seen wrestlers into the game via upcoming downloadable content packs.
You'll be able to use all of these superstars in the game's Universe mode, which has been revamped to include much more customisation. You can now create your own calendars, so that means you can just drop Raw from the line-up if you want and replace it with an event of your choosing. And it's this kind of customisation that really appeals to the hardcore fans of the franchise - they can effectively be the owner of the WWE, deciding what events take place and who wrestles where.
If Universe isn't your up of tea though, there are of course the classic stories. This time there's a villain story based around Sheamus, an "outsider" story based around Triple H and the hero story that's based around your create-a-wrestler. THQ has promised that the mode is now much more expanded and playing through the various stories will be similar to a standard single-player experience found in many other genres out there.
In other words, whatever your tastes are, WWE '12 will have your story cravings covered. Even the much request "create-an-area" mode has been included, so you can bring back WCW or ECW if you really want.
With this year's re-brand, Yuke's show that they've been paying attention to what the fans want from their primary wrestling video game. Here's hoping that when the game releases next week, it's able to deliver for PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii gamers around the world.