We enjoyed Fire Pro Wrestling World when it launched last August, but as we noted at the time, there was no answer for the WWE 2k series’ Universe Mode where you could simulate being the booker. That has officially changed now with the arrival of the Fire Promoter DLC, which allows you to take charge of your own promotion, hire and fire talent, run monthly cards and more, albeit at the cost of an additional $19.99 US.
As a mode, Fire Promoter is quite different than Universe Mode, for better and worse. There’s more of a business aspect at work here, and you’re not given carte blanche to stick all the best guys into matches. Managing costs is a big part of your early time as you’ll begin with very few wrestlers under contract and a pretty tight budget, leaving you to try and fill rural gymnasiums before eventually looking to expand into other areas and larger arenas.
Your goal is ultimately to grow the popularity of your promotion, and at the end of each year you’ll be graded on several factors to earn an overall rating. In between you’ll be able to run 12 cards, one per month, choosing between standard card and tournament. There are some gimmick matches on offer, but it pales in comparison to 2k‘s offerings. It also feels very limiting as the only way to select one is make the entire card cage or barbed wire matches.
Contract negotiations feel similarly small in scope as you can only make one offer per month — not one to each wrestler you’re interested in mind you, one total. A scouting department will unearth new talent at times (you decide where they look and what wrestling style), adding them to the free-agent list, but you’ll still need to sign them. You can also try to poach contracted wrestlers from other promotions.
There are a number of other options to put on a quality show, including co-promoting with another brand or “borrowing” talent where you pay them for a single shot. The latter is an invaluable tool early on when you only have a half-dozen grapplers on the roster. You can also advertise to boost attendance, adjust ticket prices, venue size, referee assignment, add title matches and more. We wouldn’t call it expansive, but it’s pretty enjoyable.
That is until some of the game’s random events start befalling you. Injuries are understandable and, though never welcome, something you can at least plan for. No shows, however, are a different beast. First, they occur far too often. Second, and more importantly, you’re given no option to adjust. So if one-half of the tag champs fails to show up the match is off and the other three guys don’t appear on the card. That’s definitely not it works.
Fans will also depart in droves if a match is cancelled, and it’s incredibly annoying to watch a sold-out suddenly draw at 70 per cent capacity because the fourth match of a eight-match card is gone. The trickle down is substantial as you lose money and the show gets panned since attendance and match quality govern how “successful” a show is.
Even with its problems, Fire Promoter does have a lot of areas to track that make it a pretty involved experience. You’ll need to improve your training facility (expanding it allows you to have more wrestlers under contract) and maintain it, keep an eye on the health and happiness of your talent, sign sponsor and broadcast deals, loan out wrestlers to other promotions, produce merchandise and a lot more.
Despite its substantial cost and a handful of meaningful shortcomings, Fire Promoter was easy to get lost in as we spent hours growing our fledgling company. It’s a solid investment for anyone that wants to have a management-style sim for running a promotion