AEW Fight Forever, the officially licensed All Elite Wrestling game developed by Yuke's and published by THQ Nordic, is supposed to be out this year. But a series of comments from AEW leadership and the game's developers have left fans confused as to the game's actual development status.
The confusion can be traced back to February when AEW wrestler and executive vice president Kenny Omega said on the Swerve City Podcast (via WrestleZone) that "the game has been done," but was currently in limbo trying to get an ESRB rating finalized. This was then reiterated by AEW president Tony Khan during a media scrum following pay-per-view event AEW Revolution:
"I can't say the exact release date," he said. "There's a lot of things that go into that, and I don't want to step on anybody with that. It is coming very soon. The game is finished."
All of this sounds pretty definitive, but THQ Nordic senior community manager Per Hollenbro has recently taken to Twitch and Twitter to debunk this. On Twitter, he wrote that AEW Fight Forever is "doing really well" but is "not 100% yet," and called discussion that it was done "just another rumour on Twitter."
I mean if you want an unfinished game sure we could release now 😆
The game is doing really well and is getting there, but not 100% yet, so yea just another rumour on twitter I fear 😔
— Zyddie (@Zyddies) April 8, 2023
On Twitch (via Wrestle Zone), Hollenbro went into a bit more detail as to why there was so much discrepancy between THQ Nordic and AEW leadership'sperspectives, saying the problem is that the two groups "see it very differently." He explained that as a publisher, THQ Nordic doesn't consider a game done until it's ready to go out the door, including elements such as platform certification, retail distribution, and a lot more. He also said that AEW Fight Forever is "in a good state."
“I do not believe anybody lied," he said. "I do not believe there’s any kind of miscommunication in any shape or form. I believe that simply some people look at it differently because they don’t look at it through the eyes of a publisher. A lot goes into it. And for me, as somebody who is part of the publishing house, it’s very different for me what completes a game and what doesn’t."
Speaking to Kotaku, Hollenbro clarified even further, offering a list of elements AEW Fight Forever still needs to finalize before it can be considered finished, including passing QA tests, localization in seven languages, "polish," retail and shipping deals, certification, platform optimization, marketing plans, and yes, that elusive ESRB rating. An additional THQ Nordic spokesperson told the outlet that "AEW: Fight Forever will be released when it’s done."
It's also worth pointing out that AEW Fight Forever is also in the midst of a trademark dispute with Game Changer Wrestling, which has disputed AEW's trademark of "Fight Forever" given its own use of the phrase for a 2021 charity event. GCW was granted an extension until May 31, 2023 to dispute the claim, and it's unclear how this will impact AEW Fight Forever's title or release date. But needless to say, this dispute is likely not speeding things along.
We've already had a number of opportunities to look at what AEW Fight Forever has in store, including a hands-on preview at last year's Gamescom and a chat with several AEW wrestlers at IGN Fan Fest. For now, AEW Fight Forever is still scheduled for release sometime in 2023.
Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.