Fans have long argued that wrestling games peaked in the N64 era with titles like WWF No Mercy, but no modern developer has managed to properly capitalize on that nostalgia. An upcoming indie game called Ultra Pro Wrestling might be set to change that.
Ultra Pro Wrestling takes its name from the Nintendo 64's 'Ultra 64' codename, and if that doesn't clue you into what you should expect, the gameplay footage below just might. Some moves appear to be pulled straight from the N64 classics, and the whole vibe very much captures the feeling of the in-ring action in No Mercy. In an FAQ, the devs are pretty explicit that they want this to feature every single move from the AKI games here, plus more modern moves like the Canadian Destroyer.
The game started development as a tie-in for a small Scottish wrestling promotion, according to the official site, but backstage drama meant that the promoters soon started to request changes to the game's roster. After languishing for close to two years, development on the project resumed when lead developer Sam Vallely decided to take it fully independent.
While Ultra Pro Wrestling features a roster of fictional wrestlers - I'm already a big fan of Blue Collar Bill Dollar - it also features real-life wrestlers through its Free Agent DLC, which the devs say features a "unique payment model" that "will see your cash go DIRECTLY to the wrestlers you choose to support." The names in the DLC range from modern indie favorites like Matt Cardona and Warhorse to genuine legends like Arn Anderson, Bull Nakano, and Jake "the Snake" Roberts. (Plus a fair few kitschy '90s names like Gangrel, Sandman, and Glacier, too.)
The game has been in development for some time, but the showcase video above is new. Maybe the most notable thing showcased there is the robust create-a-wrestler mode, which offers extensive ways to alter your character's physical look and entrance attire.
While it's definitely got some rough edges, it's tough to imagine anything truly modern-looking capturing the No Mercy vibes to any meaningful degree. Ultra Pro Wrestling is currently scheduled to launch in late 2024, first on PC and then on Switch, PS4, PS5, and Xbox Series X and S.
Pro wrestling JRPG WrestleQuest suffered a last-minute delay mere hours before launch, but is now here and one of the more creative takes on the genre I've ever seen.