THQ's keeping a lid on their next WWE franchise for now, but "WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011" is public knowledge and as part of their eight-year deal with WWE they'll be bringing their series' latest installment to stores on October 26 with an online pass and extra features only available without cost to first-generation buyers.
"'WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011' is on track to deliver the most incredible WWE simulation experience to date in our storied franchise," THQ core games executive vice president Danny Bilson said in a press release. "This year's game will offer players a variety of intuitive new gameplay features, impactful upgrades, industry-leading creation and customization tools, as well as unparalleled freedom to experience their own virtual WWE moments in line with those seen weekly in WWE."
Using a strategy similar to EA Sports' Online Pass system, THQ will look to encourage new game purchases and get some revenue out of used game sales by limiting functionality for secondhand owners.
If you buy the game new, you'll get online access, a DLC package, which is expected to include Chris Masters as a playable character, Rey Mysterio in "Dia de los Muertos" Halloween-themed attire and WWE Diva Kelly Kelly in a "Devil" Halloween-themed costume. The same features will be available to second-gen owners for 800 Microsoft Points or through the PlayStation Network "for an anticipated cost of $9.99."
Online play seems to have found a new role in generating industry cashflow this year, and more and more companies are finding ways to leverage it against used game sales. It's going to be fascinating two years down the road to see how much of a dent these online pass plans end up making.
Do you think publishers are being fair by offering more content to first-time owners? Would you buy the extra content if you bought "WWE SmackDown Vs. Raw 2011" used? Let us know in the comment section or on Twitter! You can also follow me, MTV Multiplayer writer Brian Warmoth, on Twitter!