Publisher THQ has announced that the next game in its long-running WWE Smackdown vs. Raw
series will be titled simply WWE '12
, reflecting the unified nature of the wrestling game brand.
The PS2's Smackdown
series started in 2000 and the Xbox-based Raw
series launched in 2002, both based on competing WWE branded television shows.
In 2004 the series were merged together into the cross-platform Smackdown vs. Raw
franchise, which has endured through six annual updates since then.
"The name of the franchise evolved a couple of times over the years, and it has gotten to the point where the name doesn't really mean anything," creative director Cory Ledesma said in an interview posted on the game's official site
"WWE currently doesn't have brand wars, and the shows themselves are rarely competing against each other, so SmackDown vs. Raw
as a name doesn't really have a meaning," he continued.
The new title comes alongside "a true franchise reboot," Ledsema said, with a focus on new animations and strategic gameplay less focused on button mashing.
THQ paid $13.2 million to renew its license with the WWE
for eight more years in late 2009.