Will the return of the Attitude Era in WWE ’13 finally allow wrestling fans to let go of WWF: No Mercy?

When you talk to fans of wrestling videogames, many still claim—to this day—that the N64’s WWF: No Mercy, released in November 2000, is the best wrestling game they’ve ever played. Whether it was the storyline dynamics the game introduced, the massive roster and customization features it boasted, or the unavoidable truth that the game released during the most popular wrestling era in history, one fact is clear: Players just refuse to let go of this game.

Flash forward 12 years later—so long, in fact, that the WWF’s now been the WWE for 10 years—and take a quick look at the current wrestling scene. CM Punk’s currently the most popular personality the WWE has—and it all started last summer when the straight-edge superstar went allegedly “off script” in a rant that shook the company to its very core. His feud with John Cena—and, ultimately, the WWE brand itself—led Punk to walk out of his hometown of Chicago as the WWE Champion, but supposedly no longer under contract. All this did was rile up fan support for Punk even more. He was this generation’s Stone Cold Steve Austin. Someone you couldn’t censor, couldn’t predict—and, most importantly, couldn’t stop.

So, naturally, Punk needed to be the cover wrestler for WWE ’13, as the momentum he started in 2011 hasn’t slowed down at all. But Punk isn’t just the most popular wrestler of this era; he also hearkens back to the nostalgic time of WWF: No Mercy—the Attitude Era. The late ’90s were dominated by D-Generation X, Stone Cold versus the Rock, and Mick Foley and that damn stinky Mr. Socko. CM Punk reminds a lot of wrestling fans of those larger-than-life personalities from that era—the ones that helped make WWF: No Mercy so great.

So, in order to strengthen the bridge between now and then, WWE ’13 is introducing a new option called “Attitude Era” mode, where you’ll get to play through eight classic storylines from that era all over again. Whether it’ll have the branching paths of No Mercy is yet to be seen, but the idea of being able to play through those classic storylines with those legendary wrestlers—but with a modern gaming engine—might be too good to be true. We also have no word on just who these classic eight might be, but I think I made a few decent suggestions in the previous paragraph!

When you combine that homage to the past with an even beefier WWE Universe mode, refined Predator animation technology, the new WWE Live system that features “Spectacular Moments” like ring breaks and barricade crashes, and a brand-new audio system, the only question that remains is this: Will the Rock’s storyline end with him in the midst of a mediocre movie career? That, and where the f*** are our ice-cream bars?!