Fire Pro Wrestling Returns Revisited

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**NOTE** The online converter for changing PS2 Fire Pro save files to PS3 format mentioned below is sadly no longer with us. Since this article still gets a decent amount of hits, I’ve posted an updated method of conversion here.

AWHILE BACK I posted a letter I’d written to Karl Stern’s Classic Wrestling Audio Show about the PS2 video game Fire Pro Wrestling Returns. At the time, my only experience with the game had been using its sizeable out-of-the-box roster of 2000s-era puroresu stars, with some gaijins, legends, and other assorted weirdos thrown in.

I bought Fire Pro Wrestling Returns for my PS2 in 2009 (the game was released in the US in 2007), and during the four years I’ve owned it I’ve known that there’s a thriving online scene of modders and enthusiasts cranking out all manner of rosters, both fictional and real-world, using the game’s deep customizable features.

However, lacking the proper equipment for transferring files between a PC and my PS2 and generally being distracted with other things, I let the wide world of Fire Pro edit packs pass me by.

Fortunately during my correspondence with the Karl Stern show, another listener clued me in that Fire Pro Wrestling Returns had been re-released as a downloadable PS2 Classic game for the PS3. Now, with a copy of the game on the much more transfer friendly PS3 console, I figured I might have a chance at dabbling in the community of Fire Pro edits.

And indeed I have. Thanks to the excellent work of users Desertpunk and DJKM77, my Fire Pro experience has exploded into something even more all consuming than I could have ever imagined.

Although the following information for finding Fire Pro edit packs and transferring them to PS3 consoles has been documented in bits and pieces elsewhere, I figured I’d put all the info I’ve come across here, in one place, as well as links to some great edits.

First off, in order to turn your copy of Fire Pro into everything from a Territorial Era wrestling game to a full on simulation of what’s happening in the “real world,” to many points in between, you will need a PS3, a copy of Fire Pro Wrestling Returns downloaded from the PSN store, a USB thumb drive, and a computer.

Load up FPR on your PS3 and save a game. Now exit, and there should be a FPR save file in the PS2 save data section on your PS3. Insert your USB thumb drive into the PS3 and copy the FPR save data from your PS3 to the thumb drive. Now, transfer the save data (it should be in a folder called PS3) to your computer.

Next, get online and look for Fire Pro edit packs you’d like to use. There’s tons of stuff out there, but the following users and their work appeal to what I’m interested in:

Exhibit A is user Desertpunk’s catalog. It can be found here:  http://fireprosaves.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=fireprorsaves

Of particular interest (to me) are his FMW Ultimate Save (tons of wrestlers from the glory years of Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling), his 90’s Video Game Save (a Fire Pro homage the the golden years of wrestling gaming…WCW vs. NWO Revenge, Wrestlemania 2000, No Mercy, etc), his Real World Summer 2012 pack (the most recent of his “real world” saves, featuring tons of wrestlers from the real world), and Puroresu Kingdom 3, the final version of his Puroresu edit pack featuring just about everyone currently wresting in Japan.

Exhibit B is the catalog of user DJKM77. It can be found here:  http://www.fireproclub.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=23772

In the case of DJKM77, I’m into just about everything he does. Tons of historical packs (Territories, 80’s, Attitude Era, various couple year arcs from a number of promotions, etc…all great stuff). In addition, he has a great King of Indies pack that isn’t covered at the link above. Instead, you can find it here:  http://www.fpwarena.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=2104

From what I’ve read, Desertpunk seems to be done with making new edits, while DJKM77 is still active, putting out the King of Indies pack in June of this year. Still, both of these guys have so much content out there already, it’s questionable anyone would need more for a looong time.

In addition to the two users and work mentioned above, I’ve found two MMA packs that I haven’t tried out yet. MMA seems very under-represented in the Fire Pro community, but it’s a big part of the original game, so here are some MMA links to check out:

Deranged-Stu has an MMA pack here: http://fprstu.blogspot.com/p/mma.html that seems to focus largely on early UFC, Affliction, Dream, and EliteXC.

Meanwhile, Senator seems to have an edit pack that deals with more current UFC fighters (though he has classics on there as well), available here: http://www.fireproclub.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=13360

I haven’t tried either user’s stuff yet, but will get to it one of these days…maybe?…I hope!

Anyway, when you find what you want, download it and it will likely be in .MAX format. .MAX was the format in play for the PS2, but doesn’t help much when it comes to PS3. You need to re-format the files. How this is done is beyond me, but fortunately, a saintly individual has actually taken the time to PUT A CONVERTER ONLINE! Visit it here:  http://theemptyset.net/fpr/convert_save/

There are a few different conversion options, but my method is to submit the .MAX file I want converted, and have it converted as a zipped PS3 folder (slot 2). This will leave you with a zipped file of the edit pack you chose to convert. I put all of these converted zip folders in their own folder titled FPR Edits – Originals.

NOW, return to the save data file you transferred from your PS3. Click through all the folders until you find the files: ICON0.PNG, PARAM.SFO, SCEVMC0.VME, and SCEVMC1.VME. The two .VME files are the two slots of your virtual PS2 memory card. Go ahead and delete all of these files and replace them (or overwrite them) with the identical files from the converted zip file of the edit pack you want to play.

So, for instance, if you are trying to play DJKM’s Territories pack, delete the files from PS3 folder you transferred over from your PS3 and replace them with the identically named files from the Territories zip folder. It sounds kind of confusing, but will make total sense/become second nature once you get started.

NOW, put that PS3 folder with the replaced files back on your USB thumb drive and overwrite the FPR save data on your PS3. Start up FPR and load the data from memory card 2. Check the roster info and the edit pack you wanted to use should now be in play. Go ahead and save the data to slot 1. Now you will have the data you are working with in slot 1, and the master save in slot 2.

When you are done playing and if you want to use a different edit pack next time, overwrite the save data on your USB thumb drive with the data from your PS3, transfer it back to your computer, rename the PS3 folder something that will help you remember what it is (e.g. FPR Territories – Edited) and put it in a folder where you can find it later (e.g. FPR Edits – Modified). Now you should always have a master version of the edit pack in one folder, and the version you are messing with (changing teams, moving wrestlers around, etc.) in another.

Further, you can do all kinds of data manipulation (moving wrestlers from one edit pack to another, etc) so long as you remember that anything you save in slot 1 becomes a SCEVMC0.VME file and anything you save in slot 2 becomes a SCEVMC1.VME file, and you can manipulate them as you see fit. Just be sure to keep track of what .VME file is what (since they will all have the same name…again, use distinctive folders or rename the VME files until you are ready to use them).

It’s all a little clunky, but you will get used to it, and hours of OCD amusement await. The edit packs referenced above are great, because the creators not only did an excellent job of creating the wrestlers visually, but seem to have put a lot of work into the movesets, AI logic etc. as well. Great stuff, and these guys are all first ballot locks to the MSGV Hall of Fame. Thanks Desertpunk, thanks DJKM77, and THANK YOU FIRE PRO!

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