Fire Pro Wrestling Returns Re-Revisited: In Memory of Masato Masuda

fire-pro-wrestling-returns-20071114050640834-000THE PS2/PSN classic Fire Pro Wrestling Returns has been a topic of discussion twice here already at the “Mr. Sensational” Gino Vega blog, but circumstances necessitate kicking the tires one more time.

To refresh, Fire Pro Wrestling Returns (FPR) is one of the greatest pro wrestling video games ever made, standing alongside giants like WCW/NWO Revenge, Wrestlemania 2000, and No Mercy, but excelling past those games in some ways by virtue of its timeless customization options.

While FPR is showing its age a bit now at almost ten years old, it still functions well as a sandbox for recreating any kind of real world or fantasy wrestling organization a player is looking for. From indy feds doing moonsaults down at the local gym, to international superstars trading rest holds on the grandest stage of them all, Fire Pro’s got you covered.

What’s really kept FPR alive all these years though is the community of modders who’ve tirelessly cranked out save files of hundreds and hundreds of created wrestlers. From grapplers active at the dawn of the 1900s, to current rosters of every contemporary wrestling organization imaginable, there are folks out there who’ve put their own blood, sweat, and tears behind making these characters available.

When last I wrote about FPR, I included a link to a website that hosted an easy conversion method for changing PS2 save files into a format usable on the PS3. Many of the original save files of created wrestlers are uploaded to FPR sites in PS2 format, but lots of folks (myself included) have taken to playing the PS3/PSN re-release of the game. Sadly, that conversion page has since gone dark, so I wanted to include a link to instructions for a much more cumbersome (but effective!) method of conversion. To convert PS2 (.max) FPR save files to PS3/PSN (.vme) format, please follow the instructions here: http://www.fpwarena.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1965

Meanwhile, the FPR modding community is still alive and well, and you can follow its goings on at http://www.fpwarena.com. Check the FPR save file section, where most of the news/discussion re: created wrestler save files takes place.

My two favorite creators, desertpunk and djkm77 are happily still active. Desertpunk continues to keep the contemporary Japanese wrestling scene handled with his excellent Puroresu Kingdom releases, and djkm77 has most recently brought us a current WWE update, a complete History of Chikara save (every wrestler who’s ever competed in a Chikara ring), and the staggering First 100 Years of Pro Wrestling pack, covering the years 1865-1965. Unbelievable.

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Finally, I’d like to give a shout out in memory of Masato Masuda, the creator of the Fire Pro Wrestling series, as well as the game that started it all, Pro Wrestling for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Mr. Masuda died in March at the age of 48. I hope it means something to him somewhere that there are those of us still here, marveling at his handiwork every day.

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