EXCLUSIVE Q&A with the creator of Journey of Wrestling: The Wrestling Booking Simulator Coming Soon to Steam

Read on for an overview of Journey of Wrestling, a wrestling booking simulator currently playable on desktop/mobile browsers and soon to release on Steam. Plus, an exclusive Q&A with the game's creator, and more.

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Fantasy booking is as much a mainstay in professional wrestling fandom as the actual wrestling is. The wrestling sub-sect of social media is saturated with fan-made event posters, side-by-side images of the very best not to have faced one another yet, and threads upon threads of reasoning as to why a story is going to take a direction it, more often than not, never does. But that's the fun of wrestling for some, the imagination, the possibilities, however remote those ideas may seem.

Wrestling booker simulators provide an outlet for those to get their ideas down and make something - albeit virtual - of their sprawling imagination. But it's an admittedly bare market. Fans have been drawn to WWE 2K for its leading adaptation of professional wrestling, and the GM mode has been found to be enjoyable, but that's just one feature of the wider game and is reasonably shallow to fit. For those looking for total wrestling management experience, e-wrestling has been an available outlet for years - a prime example is Total Extreme Wrestling - with even Tony Khan saying he first fantasy booked Dynamite in the 90s decades before founding AEW. But even still, there has been limited access to quality booking simulators, especially for those looking to get into the past quickly.

Look no further than Journey of Wrestling, currently playable on mobile and desktop browsers and coming soon to Steam. Journey of Wrestling is available to play for free on your browser, with a paid version to unlock all features. They also have a Patreon which offers different tiers of membership in exchange for rewards such as early access to new features.

The game has seen much growth since hitting the web in 2019, adding features like local multiplayer and an offline mode in monthly updates. Journey of Wrestling is prided upon by its creator for its ease of access, allowing players to load their choice of thousands of customized scenarios and start their unique booking journey. From there, total control of the player's chosen company is theirs, from signing to booking to beating out rivals in ratings wars.

For those who crave a challenge, particular scenarios have been devised with a story in mind. Such as Wrestling on Mars and Passion of Wrestling, the former putting the booker in charge of a wrestling promotion on Mars and overcoming the unique challenge that poses while the latter sees the player booking a struggling all-women's promotion in the 80s. Failing that, users are also afforded the opportunity to create their scenario, rounding Journey of Wrestling off as a comprehensive player experience.

Daily DDT spoke to Journey of Wrestling's creator, Mahin, in an exclusive Q&A to talk about Journey of Wrestling, the future of the title, and other games in the works:

What inspired you to develop Journey of Wrestling? And what are your desired long-term goals for the title?

I started working on the game in 2017. I was learning to program, learning Python by myself. The advice was to make little projects to get better, and I thought what better than to make a little wrestling game? I've been passionate about wrestling since I was a child, and loved playing general manager mode in wrestling video games. So I made a little program that ran in the terminal. You could book matches by typing wrestlers' names, and then go to your event and pick the winner, rinse and repeat. I thought it was pretty fun, and found myself playing it for hours that week. I forgot about it for a while then. And I don't remember why, but maybe a year later I thought: 'Why not put it up for other people to play?'. So I coded a web version and added some more features like making your scenario, but it was still pretty bare-bones. you didn't have weekly shows, or segments, or feuds, or even gimmick matches. But I released it anyway and, well, forgot about it again. A few months later, I noticed that people were playing it, asking for more features, and realized there were some legs to this project. So I started fleshing it out, and I've been working on it ever since.

The current goal is to release it on Steam, so it runs offline and it reaches more people. Later down the road, I still have many features written down, like eras, where each decade feels and plays out differently and you can progress your game through different times, increasing the longevity of saves and making each one unique. Something related to that is the ability to generate a new game in a unique universe, with its challenges, competitors, and lore. I was inspired by RimWorld for this, and that's a high ambition to aim for. But I think it could add even more replay value. Then there's online multiplayer, which would be pretty fun to add, but brings its challenges. And other little ideas, like adding territories [and maps], different arenas and locations, new story modes, etc.

What stuck out when I started playing it was the ease of access first but then the sheer breadth of options to play through. Especially the Wrestling on Mars scenario. What made you think of that?

I'm glad you felt that way. Games in this genre can be hard to approach but usually have amazing depth. I thought easing users in would make it more accessible, and then give them a breadth of features to explore. We have a more wrestling-centric story, Passion of Wrestling, about a struggling women's promotion set in the 1980s. But the first idea was something I'm super into Sci-Fi. Once I got the idea, it took hold, and I envisioned a future of wrestling where humans are living on Mars and of course, wrestling is present there. I then added lore, with "mutant" Martians and tied that into the story. The Sci-Fi setting gave me some new ideas for power-ups, like using mind control to sign a competitor's superstar, and overall have a lot of fun with the gameplay and story.

With the Steam release, it feels worth asking whether you have considered either consoles or a physical release further down the line. Is Journey of Wrestling just the beginning, laying the foundation for any other future titles?

It all depends on how the game does. A console release will be a really interesting challenge. I do have an idea for a career-mode wrestling sim, taking inspiration from Journey of Wrestling, but playing as a superstar, going through a whole career, learning traits, having dream matches, and aiming to become a legend. Of course, with lots of failures and silly moments.

Are there any plans to introduce working relationships between promotions, similar to AEW x NJPW?

Yes. I plan to add a 'cross-promotion event' feature, where you can collaborate with competitors to create a super show. You could negotiate to get a certain number of talent, and you could send some of yours too, but unlike trades, everyone will be available to be booked together. And down the line, it could integrate with a company relationship feature, where you can have allies and rivals.

With Passion of Wrestling, did you take real-life inspiration or was it a completely original concept?

I'm a huge fan of GLOW and you might notice that if you play the scenario. I wanted to make something focusing on women, so I took inspiration from that, then added my characters with their own unique narratives that worked with the overall story I wanted to tell.

Ideas I had just simply based on the Journey of Wrestling concept were either a UFC/MMA or boxing match-making simulator, would that be something worth considering? Or is it something that could potentially make its way as a particular scenario in Journey of Wrestling?

I've had many users mention that. To make it work well, I think it has to be its own thing, as Journey of Wrestling has many features and nuances specific to wrestling. However, I need to be passionate about the idea, and I'm only at that stage with wrestling right now.

To round off this Q&A if you could outline what you envision for Journey of Wrestling, and yourself, over the next year, that would be great.

For the next year, I plan to release the game on Steam, do a couple major content updates, and maybe have a teaser out for my next project.