AEW Executive: Fight Forever game was a ‘pretty easy pitch’ to Tony Khan

Image Courtesy: AEW, THQ Nordic, Yuke's

A senior AEW executive has said that getting Tony Khan to green-light the Fight Forever video game was a “pretty easy pitch.”

AEW Senior Vice President of Business Development, Partnerships and Video Games, Nik Sobic, was speaking on the AEW Unrestricted podcast.

Three-and-a-half years in the making, AEW Fight Forever was officially released on Thursday for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Windows PC.

Sobic spoke about how early the game was pitched:

Genesis from the Bible story. So, on day one, Tony Khan creates AEW. On day two, Tony Khan creates AEW Fight Forever.

Day one, I’m the first employee of AEW. And on day one, we pumped a bunch of money into this company to get it off the ground.

And on day two, we had the nerve to go back and ask him for another pile of money to make this video game.

And the nice thing about Tony is he’s not like a super emotional thinker. He’s a super strategic data and analytical thinker. And so we just presented our case.

Sobic then described how the game was pitched, with an emphasis on the type of game he felt wrestling fans wanted to play:

We said, “We think that there’s a gap in the market for a game like this.” Our audience, AEW’s audience, frickin’ loves video games. If you look at social media sentiment and you look at sort of the type of game people have been asking for, this is like 20 years in the making.

People have been waiting for a game like this for a very long time. So it was actually a pretty easy pitch. Obviously, you know, it was a successful pitch because three and a half years later, we have a video game ready to go and ready to share with the world.

Evil Uno also appeared on the podcast and talked about his involvement in the game’s development:

I learned pretty quickly [about the game] from Kenny Omega because in the early phases, he met with a lot of us to get input on what we thought were fun about that generation’s wrestling games.

They really wanted to have input from pro wrestlers, right? Because at the end it’s a pro wrestling game. And also I was a huge gamer.

Adam Cole also spoke of his involvement in the later development of Fight Forever, again citing Kenny Omega:

A lot of my free time is spent gaming. Kenny is also incredibly passionate about video games, but specifically very passionate about wrestling games.

So even before I saw footage of anything, just watching Kenny talk about his excitement about some of the features in the game and the little details of things made me automatically excited.

And then of course, when I got to see some footage of the game, I totally understood because it made me just as excited. But I think our fans pay attention to the details. And I think a lot of video game fans really do love and appreciate the little details.

And I felt like from a very early stage, Fight Forever had this concept and this idea of what a modern pro wrestling video game should be like. Again, like mentioned earlier, it’s what fans have been clamoring for for quite some time.

Nik Sobic drew comparisons between the founding of AEW and assembling the team that made the game:

There are so many similarities between launching the AEW as a company and launching Fight Forever the video game.

Day one at AEW, we went out and got the best talent in the world.

We got the best talent in the world who is available to work on this video game. So we have the best video game publisher in the world, THQ Nordic. We have the best wrestling development studio in the world, Yuke’s. We have, in my opinion, one of the best like creative minds and wrestling working on this game every day, Kenny Omega.

And then the icing on the cake for me is we went out and found a guy named Hideyuki Iwashita, AKA “Geta”, who was the creative director on No Mercy 20 years ago. So we built a dream team over the course of, like, a week to work on this game and very similar to kind of how we launched AEW, go get the best people to make the best product.

Sobic also hinted that players would enjoy the details and hidden Easter eggs in the game:

Another thing that like sort of this game shares with kind of the way AEW fans are used to experiencing AEW, it wouldn’t be an AEW product without some surprises. So I’m very excited at some point for people to start to find some of the Easter eggs and some of the sort of the things that we have up our sleeve, in addition to the amazing core base game.

About Neal Flanagan 822 Articles
Based in Northern Ireland, Neal Flanagan is a former newspaper journalist and copy editor. In addition to reporting for POST Wrestling, he co-hosts The Wellness Policy podcast with Wai Ting and Jordan Goodman.