If you haven’t heard of RetroMania Wrestling yet, perhaps this will get your attention: It is now officially the sequel to the beloved 1991 arcade game WWF WrestleFest.
Let’s back up a bit, as licenses are involved — and RetroMania Wrestling is not affiliated with the WWE/WWF. Still, WrestleFest remains an intellectual property owned by the famed fighting game savants at Arc System Works (having acquired it from original publishers Technos of Japan). And now they’ve licensed it to Retrosoft Studios, which started development on RetroMania Wrestling last year, calling it a spiritual successor to the 1991 cabinet classic. Well, now it is canonically the sequel.
WWF Wrestlefest had a lineup of 12 real-life WWF fighters; RetroMania’s roster will have Nick Aldis, Tommy Dreamer, Johnny Retro (John Hennigan), Zack Sabre, Jr., Colt Cabana, Austin Idol, the Blue Meanie, Stevie Richards, and Hollywood Nova, all of whom had runs in the ECW and WWE more than a decade ago. RetroMania also features Road Warrior Hawk and Road Warrior Animal, the NWA tag team that moved to the WWF in the early 1990s and were a boss-stage adversary in the original game.
Perhaps more significantly, whatever deal that Retrosoft reached with ArcSys also includes the rights to the lineup of 1985’s Mat Mania — which includes Insane Warrior and Karate Fighter, Coco Savege (sic), and The Pirania (sic) as well as, one hopes, studio announcer Cory. As a longtime Mat Mania fighter myself, I’ll be disappointed if I can’t take down Savege with repeated headbutts.
Retrosoft says that Mat Mania’s lineup will appear in RetroMania Wrestling’s story mode, and be available as player characters later in post-release DLC. RetroSoft is eyeballing an early 2020 launch for RetroMania Wrestling on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and Windows PC.