Hey everyone! Capcom producer Daizou Nonaka with you once again.
Today I want to talk about Sakura Genesis on April 4, and Kota Ibushi facing Will Ospreay for the IWGP World heavyweight Championship. Since last year’s G1 Climax, Ibushi has broken precedent after precedent after precedent. He wins the G1 twice in a row, making three finals in a row. He then goes back to back in main events at the Tokyo Dome, winning both to first claim, and then retain double IWGP gold. Then he had a clear vision about what was to come: to unify the titles and make the two one.
He had a completely different vision for the two titles than Tetsuya Naito did, but he was able to back up his words in the ring. By defeating first SANADA, then Naito himself, then El Desperado, Ibushi moved to four defences of the Intercontinental and three of the Heavyweight Championship to finally call himself World Heavyweight Champion. It’s a huge deal for the IWGP branding that’s been around since 1983. In fact, it’s a huge deal for all of professional wrestling. It’s created an entirely new standard.
Now, that kind of new standard is pretty common in videogames. Just in the last decade or so we’ve seen huge generational shifts in the open world and FPS genres. Then we’ve seen location based GPS gaming, user generated content, the battle royal genre… There are a lot of games coming out all the time, and some might even exist in brand new genres, but they don’t become a standard unto themselves. There needs to be something special that sets those standards within a genre. Open world games needed ‘Grand Theft Auto’. The battle royal needed ‘Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds’, or ‘Fortnight’.
It isn’t enough just to be new. These genres need something truly special to show just how compelling these new genres and standards are. Like a new system, a new standard needs a ‘killer app’.
Yes, Kota Ibushi has definitely created something new with the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. But the fans aren’t going to be satisfied with newness alone. What the fans will want to see is Ibushi go on the road with this title and show everyone the world over something incredible; his own ‘killer app’ if you will.
Ibushi himself has talked about the title representing both the strongest and the best that there is. ‘Killer apps’ for Ibushi are matches that live up to that level and beyond. All eyes will be on that first defence against Will Ospreay. For a historic title match, the bar has to be raised higher than ever before.