AEW Fight Forever has been confirmed as the big new rival to WWE 2K22. All-Elite Wrestling’s first sim game was announced in 2020, but it took nearly two years for the company to unveil a name and other concrete details. It’s being developed by former Smackdown studio Yuke’s, and roster members confirmed so far include Chris Jericho, CM Punk, and Sting. What else do we know? Venture ahead into your AEW Fight Forever guide to find out…
Watch the AEW Fight Forever trailer
The first AEW teaser trailer dropped in November 2020, and features Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho smacking one another in the face – before a surprise interruption. You can see it right now on Youtube (opens in new tab).
See more AEW Fight Forever footage
Yes! In addition to the first trailer, a sneak peek of in-match gameplay landed in June 2021. It showcases the character model for Darby Allin, and demonstrates him performing a punch, a springboard back elbow, and an Irish whip outside the ring into the apron. You can see it at the 8:10 mark of the above video.
AEW Fight Forever release date looks to be summer 2022
AEW Fight Forever is actually the third and final entry in a collection of All-Elite Wrestling games which were announced at the same time.
The first AEW video game release date for your diary is therefore ‘out now’. It applies to AEW Casino: Double Or Nothing, which launched on February 26, 2021 for Android and iOS devices. It does what it says on the tin, offering “AEW-branded versions of slots, blackjack, poker and roulette, along with AEW music, sounds, videos, wrestler virtual avatars, gift packs and more”. In an intriguing twist, players can score real AEW merch and prizes via live tournaments and sweepstakes. Cool.
Next up was AEW Elite GM, a mobile offering available on both Android and iOS devices. The company describes it as “the evolution of the GM simulator genre, taking the strategic elements of simulation and fantasy games to create a competitive and engaging space for the wrestling community to take part in”. It has a 3.8 rating on the Apple’s App Store.
The AEW Fight Forever developer is Yuke’s
2000 N64 release WWE No Mercy is considered legendary in virtual wrestling circles, and when news of an AEW game broke in 2018, Japanese developer Syn Sophia was strongly linked to the project. Fans responded with unrestrained glee: Syn Sophia is the current name of famed No Mercy developer AKI Corporation.
However, those rumours proved false. It’s another Japanese studio renowned for its wrestling prowess which is overseeing AEW’s console debut. Yuke’s has been synonymous with digitised powerbombs and spinebusters since the release of PS1 classic WWF Smackdown, again in 2000, and 2K’s decision to cut ties with the developer midway through the creation of WWE 2K20 is seen as the main reason for its downfall. (Which infamously led to WWE 2K21 being cancelled.)
Yuke’s reputation slipped a little after control of the former Smackdown series passed from THQ to 2K. Yet that’s precisely why the switch to making AEW games should trigger excitement: it’s a fresh start for a revered developer with a point to prove. And there is one AKI Corporation connection, too. No Mercy creator Hideyuki “Geta” Iwashita is attached to the project in an advisory role.
Who’ll make the AEW Fight Forever roster?
So far, 13 names have been confirmed for the AEW Fight Forever roster. Former WWE favourites Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan), Chris Jericho and CM Punk are among them, but so too are AEW originals such as Darby Allin and Jungle Boy.
Jericho was one of the first three wrestlers announced, alongside fellow main eventer Kenny Omega and long-time women’s champ Hikaru Shida.
Recent confirmations include Nyla Rose and Kris Statlander, whose Youtube unveiling you can see at the link above.
However, it’s strongly rumoured that the AEW Fight Forever roster won’t make any attempt to compete with WWE 2K22. While that game features more than 200 grapplers to step into the ring with, AEW apparently is keeping its line-up down to 50.
Still, that half-century of muscle should pack in some serious talent. Former Shield member Dean Ambrose is a lock to appear under his AEW name of Jon Moxley: ditto Miro (known in WWE as Rusev), Jake Hager (Jack Swagger), Pac (Neville), Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy.
Expect Brodie Lee (Luke Harper) to appear too. Real name Jon Huber, the big man passed away in December 2020 at the age of just 41. AEW has kept his legacy alive with moves such as awarding his son Brodie Jr the red TNT Championship belt, and you suspect a role in the video game will be another small sign of tribute to a man beloved by his contemporaries.
Below are all the names confirmed for the AEW Fight Forever roster so far.
- Bryan Danielson
- Chris Jericho
- CM Punk
- Darby Allin
- Jungle Boy
- Kenny Omega
- Hikaru Shida
- Kris Statlander
- Nyla Rose
- Ruby Soho
- Thunder Rosa
- Owen Hart
AEW Fight Forever legends list will include Sting
Appealing to old-school fans is critical when it comes to sales of wrestling games, which is why WWE repeatedly crams its sim offerings, and more offbeat efforts such as WWE 2K Battlegrounds, full of famous names from yesteryear. Yet while both FIFA 21 and PES 2021 offered the opportunity to play as Diego Maradona, Frank Rijkaard and Fernando Torres, there’s less-than-zero chance of The Rock or Steve Austin appearing in a TNA game.
However, the hot newcomer can call upon some familiar veteran names, in addition to Jericho and the Hardyz. Former WCW world champion Sting – himself a major attraction of WWE 2K in recent times – debuted in 2020 and is already confirmed for the video game. Arn Anderson, Billy Gunn, Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts and Taz all have on-air roles and could receive makeovers to represent their prime years, and Bret Hart can also be considered an outside bet. The ‘Hitman’ has never been shy of criticising WWE and made a surprise one-off appearance for AEW at Double Or Nothing in May 2019.
“I do have a lot of fondness for what they’re trying to do, and I support them,” he said at the time. “I hope they become a real big wrestling company in the next year.” Well, that last part came true…
What can we expect from AEW Fight Forever gameplay?
According to Omega, a massive gaming fan as well as a main eventer, this won’t be like Yuke’s wrestling sims of yesteryear. “The biggest challenge we have right now is kind of representing the current wrestling style in a way that still makes it feel like the games of old,” he tells Talksport (opens in new tab). “Because things have changed, it’s not the same wrestling climate as it was in 2000.”
That first footage suggests that this will be a Smackdown-No Mercy hybrid, offering a degree of realism but equally focussed on weighty fisticuffs and blockbuster moves. In case you didn’t watch it, its big surprise is female grappler Hikaru Shida pummelling Omega at its climax, suggesting male vs female matches – a colossal no-no in recent WWE games – are in. Create-a-wrestler and online modes are also confirmed.
What’s the deal with AEW Fight Forever crowd chants?
While gameplay details remain scarce, AEW has been less secretive about audio for the upcoming game. Indeed, at an April 2022 show in Pittsburgh it recorded crowd noise which will be used in Fight Forever.
AEW owner Tony Kahn kicked off the show with a quick speech about the videogame, asking the crowd if they wanted to participate in an impromptu recording session. Naturally, the watching masses proclaimed ‘yes’ in unison. Ring announcer Justin Roberts then led the audience in chants for Adam Cole, Sting, Jeff Hardy, referee Aubrey Edwards, Adam Page and FTR, follow by individual chants for FTR members Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood.
Expect to hear those exact chants in-game, and consider Wheeler and Harwood (known in their WWE days as The Revival) to be locks for the roster as result.
Are AEW Fight Forever live updates a possibility?
Yes, according to Omega in his Talksport interview. A major drawback of recent WWE games was the series’ inability to keep up with new signings, surprise departures or other roster changes in a similar vein to FIFA, Madden, NBA 2K or MLB The Show. Omega says changing the perception of wrestling games staying locked for an entire calendar year is a priority for both AEW and Yuke’s.
“As great as it is on launch, as our roster grows – let’s say we add a pay-per-view name, add a new arena, let’s say we sign whoever, anybody! – we want to be able to support those new additions as well… Hopefully the new additions/updates will be really prompt. That’s the plan anyway! So everyone can feel up to date with our roster, and how AEW grows.”
Will there be an AEW Fight Forever 2?
Interesting question. Supposedly working with Yuke’s may be a one-off deal from AEW’s perspective. Sports Gamers Online report that the Fight Forever project is over budget, which is said to be one of the reasons for the modest roster and lack of updates over the last 18 months. That said, if the game emerges and is considered a success then you’d figure AEW may wish to continue to the arrangement – potentially for future DLC updates, or even Fight Forever 2.
Want all your AEW favourites in WWE 2K22 instead? Then you need to leap on over to our WWE 2K22 CAWs guide.