AEW Fight Forever

EXCLUSIVE – AEW Fight Forever Couldn’t Be Delayed Further Due To Budget Issues

When AEW Fight Forever, then unnamed, was announced back in November 2020, the excitement among fans for the young promotion was high. People were eager to play as their favorite AEW wrestlers on the system of their choice.

Unfortunately, however, that excitement began to dwindle as information on the game came few and far between. From the revelation that the creation suite would be limited for created wrestlers to an outdated roster, many were upset about the state of the game.

When launched, the game received mixed reviews. Concerns from players ranged from the aforementioned roster, a limited mode offering, and multiple bugs at launch.

Our review put it in the “wait for a sale” range, saying at the time, “It’s clear there’s a foundation here of a great game, but, at this point, AEW Fight Forever needed more time in developmental before hitting the main roster.”

Now, nearly a year after its release, the state of things remains tense around the game with questions regarding how money was spent on development, Yuke’s’ future working with AEW, the future of the company in gaming, and more.

A Fight From The Start

Multiple sources within both AEW and around the development at Yuke’s have said that the game shouldn’t have been announced as early as it was. One source went as far as saying that announcing it as soon as they did nearly “killed the game from the start”.

“It put even more pressure on the developers to not only deliver something great, but deliver something faster than what it should’ve been,” a source told Insider Gaming on the condition of anonymity due to still being around the game. “The longer we went without updating people, the more pressure we felt which led to, for some people, carelessness with what was being done.”

As more of the game was shown publicly, those working on the game took note of the perception immediately. While almost everyone believed they had a good game being made with a foundation being laid, many felt that keeping the game in development and holding back at least another year or so would’ve been for the best.

So, why did it get released when it did in June 2023?

“We needed to recoup money from development,” one source said.

While AEW owner Tony Khan has, at least publicly, made it known about not being afraid to invest high amounts of money into things around the company, there was a belief and feeling of many that the game was one area that money had to be made back.

“They (AEW) knew they were going to lose money on this game,” another said. “But there was a lot of pressure to make money back solely because of how overbudget the game went.”

That budget, which wasn’t small to begin with, fell somewhere between 1.5x to 2x the original expected development cost. This led to a number of features planned for the game at launch being either delayed or cut entirely.

“Around a third of the planned launch features didn’t happen, and some may still not happen at all,” Insider Gaming was told.

One of the features that was talked about for launch but was ultimately added as part of the game’s DLC plan was the “Beat the Elite” game mode. The mode, which was released for the game in December 2023, sees players face 10 randomly selected wrestlers with the goal of getting to the Elite and beating one of the in-game members of the group.

Another feature that was planned, and even publicly mentioned as being a part of the game at one point, was cross-platform play. Insider Gaming was told that testing of the feature produced too many issues during development, leading to it being scrapped with plans to revisit down the line. When specifically “down the line” is, it was said that “your guess is as good as anyone’s”.

AEW Fight Forever
One of the DLC releases for $11.99 included an outdated Toni Storm character and 10 songs.

The Future Of AEW Fight Forever

Since its release, AEW Fight Forever has released regular DLC updates to the game. These updates, however, usually feature one added wrestler at a time along with things like cosmetic additions for created wrestlers, new soundtrack songs, and, in some cases, new arenas like the now old AEW Dynamite arena as well as a new beachfront arena.

Though new traditional match types haven’t been added to the game, the plan was always to introduce more variety to the game as it aged. Stadium Stampede, the game’s take on the battle royal genre, was added as a free update to the game, and was well received both internally and externally. Many at the time felt it was a step towards adding more matches to the game as part of future updates.

That said, things like adding Trios matches, sources say, continued to be more difficult to implement than the Stadium Stampede was.

“They’re trying, but it just feels like something that may have to wait for the next game if they don’t put extra resources to it now,” one person said about adding bigger matches to the current game. The source did acknowledge that discussions on how to implement the bigger match types could be done. Where those discussions went, however, is currently unknown.

Speaking of the next game, there is a lot of doubt surrounding the continued relationship of AEW and Yuke’s. While the relationship started off strong, it continued to go downhill throughout the game’s development and remains tense as work continues.

“No one knows what’s going to happen when the planned updates are done,” sources said. “We know AEW wants a second game to be made, but as far as who will make it, that’s completely up in the air. Them (AEW) owning the game engine puts the ball in their court for where to go from here.”

Currently, Yuke’s is still working on updates to the game per its agreement with AEW. As of now, the plans are to finish up all existing agreements before a firm decision is made on the future.

Insider Gaming reached out to All Elite Wrestling, Yuke’s, and publisher THQ Nordic multiple times for comment on this story before publishing. As of publishing, each request has gone ignored.

  1. The entire company is run awfully Yuke’s should reach out to PFL go back to making MMA games since there hasn’t been a good one since Undisputed 3 or reach out to Rizin.

      1. Yeah I just hope this isn’t the end for them as a combat sports game developer. Any of the other promotions should offer them a contract to make a game unlike AEW those companies would let them do their thing.

    1. They should work with Amazon Games and One Championship MMA that would be even better just look at those fights it’s better than UFC.

    2. At this point I think Tony should sell either offer it to the Saudi’s or sell to TKO for equity that way he doesn’t look too stupid.

  2. If AEW somehow fixes itself I would say they should go to a free to play system moving forward with realistic visuals and AKI gameplay. First they need to fix their product get people who know what they’re doing to run the company get someone like Delirious as the booker. I don’t know if they keep their TV deal but you would think AEW would go to streaming before WWE it’s surprising they did it first. No I actually wonder under the current company if they do what gaming fans want and make a modern version of No Mercy also remake No Mercy and SmackDown Here Cones The Pain. I could see Yuke’s teaming with EA for WWE games and UFC games if 2K loses the license. My guess they needed a proper producer for the game some like Josh Holmes might have been the right guy. This game should be scrapped in favor of a new one.

  3. Kinnikuman is getting a new anime Yuke’s should make a game for it the same way AKI did and take their time we don’t need another 2K20 or AEW.

  4. If Yuke’s is available now and they can replicate the AKI style EA or Activision should get them to make a new Def Jam game.

  5. AEW can’t stop taking L’s all the drama and now this report if they lose the TV deal next that’s going to really make it worse and somehow more hilarious.

  6. “We knew we had garbage and sold it anyway” must be difficult for all the sycophants who bought it and acted like it was an amazing, 10/10 game and not the overblown PS1 demo disc it is.

  7. The problem with the Game is there no GM Mode or create a PPV also there was a limited create a wrestlers option and limited match types, if those things where added that would have improved the game, I still like the game although I was disappointed with lack of options

  8. I hope Yuke’s can move on from this maybe finally make the wrestling game people want but for sure want to see them back in the combat sports game arena so I hope they get some MMA license next or maybe NJPW let’s them make a game for them I mean that would be cool and unlike AEW, NJPW has order. Something like a mix of NJPW, NOAH, with some FMW would be cool basically Fire Pro stages but with No Mercy/HCTP gameplay.

  9. I hope that Yuke’s can do an improved game sequel for AEW because I really wanted to see more in FIGHT FOREVER. now all we can do is wait and see what will happen over the next months.

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