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Wrestling Spirit (WreSpi) is a series of professional wrestling computer games that was created by British programmer Adam Ryland for the PC since 2004. The games are published by Grey Dog Software. The games in the series are seen as complementary games to ones in Ryland's Extreme Warfare series. The games cast the user as a rookie wrestler who has to make it big in the world of wrestling, in the similar veins of Edge of Survival Wrestling Federation but with a more serious approach.
Relation to the Extreme Warfare series
Since the release of Total Extreme Warfare 2004, titles from the Extreme Warfare and Wrestling Spirit series were released in an alternating fashion. Due to this, the first WreSpi continued the story of Ryland's fictitious wrestling world called the CornellVerse from Total Extreme Warfare 2004, showing the fictional world a few months later, and was followed by Total Extreme Wrestling 2005 and Wrestling Spirit 2.
Many of the main features from the TEW games were included in the WreSpi but were used for different reasons. One example of this is the use of backstage relationships between two workers. In TEW, this feature affected both the booking along with the hiring and firing of one of the worker followed by a change in worker morale if one of these acts were made. Meanwhile in WreSpi, the relationships between workers could affect your chances of possible feuds or even your chances of a job.
One of the main differences that Ryland emphasised between the WreSpi series and the EW series was that while the EW series aimed to try and make a realistic approach to the professional wrestling business, the WreSpi series instead aims for a more "kayfabe-like" situation and as such, making what would be staged fights in the EW series real fights in this series.
Games in the series
Wrestling Spirit: Rookie To Legend
On November 30, 2004, Wrestling Spirit: Rookie To Legend (WreSpi) was released. The game was originally going to be called Fighting Spirit but was quickly changed after it was found out Sony Computer Entertainment were releasing a game called Fighting Spirits.
Similar to TEW 2004 in its later stages, WreSpi was distributed by ELicense and had a trial that made the user able to play the main game for one game month. Its exhibition mode was restricted in the trial however. WreSpi tries to mix the real-life situations of getting work in a promotion, approaching staff for feuds and fitness regimes with actual participation in the matches and interview segments.
With the game having been programmed in Visual Basic, the matches in WreSpi are generally textual-based (with the optional aid of pictures of moves and commentary sound) unlike the graphical portrayal on other major wrestling games such as the WWE SmackDown! series. Despite this, the matches are still challenging, requiring the use of ring psychology, stamina and reaction of the crowd to not only pull a victory but make a good match. Also included are interview segments in which the user faces an opponent in a three-minute war of words, which they must win with the combination of different styles such as toilet humour, mixed metaphors and shoot comments.
Wrestling Spirit 2
The sequel to Wrestling Spirit, Wrestling Spirit 2 (WreSpi2), was released on June 29, 2006. As well as updated versions of the "Rookie to Legend" and "Superstar Challenge" modes, two new modes called "Pro League" and "World League" have been included consisting of fighting in a sports league situation. Beta team member Phil Parent has claimed creative paternity of the new modes, something Adam Ryland recognized in an official development chat in May 2006. The depth of the game has also increased with larger movesets, an increased number of moves and more in-depth records. A modified booking AI from TEW 2005 has also been confirmed to be incorporated in this game as well.
Wrestling Spirit was reviewed in the November, 2006 issue of PC Gamer, where it scored 73%.
Adam Ryland announced on the Grey Dog Software forums that Wrestling Spirit 3 was coming out in Fall 2009, however delayed it till Q1 2010, before being put on a indefinite hiatus so Ryland could work on Total Extreme Wrestling 2010.