Written by Adam Jennings
Wrestling Federation Manager (December 1999)
This is where the road to Promotion Wars first began.
Way back in December 1999, my only experience of a wrestling sim was Wrestling 2000, a very basic free game I'd downloaded from download.com, where you simply chose 2 wrestlers from a drop down list and then it generated a very simple match between them, in text.
Realising that wrestling games didn't have to be WWE-level, I debated making a game like Championship Manager, except you control WWF or WCW instead of football clubs. I decided against it in the end, thinking that people wouldn't be interested in merely taking over the duties at an already established promotion. I couldn't have been more wrong.
Anyway, I chose instead to base the game on starting up your own promotion, and running it against the big two. You chose the name of the promotion, and even designed the logo (by simply choosing a font and a colour). You started with a roster full of indie guys who I took from magazines like Pro Wrestling Illustrated, none of whom I had seen wrestling. One of them happened to be a certain Elix Skipper, who I got totally wrong when creating a description for.
The wrestlers all had their Draw and Entertainment values, just as in PW, and the rosters worked as in PW - clicking on their name brought up their profile. You created primary and secondary singles titles, and a tag team title. You chose a venue from which to permanently have your shows (like how ECW had the ECW Arena), and chose either singles or tag team matches. Only the main event could be given a stipulation, and as there was no commentary, there were several gimmicks to choose from, each having a varying degree on your attendance.
Once the matches were chosen, you were taken to a screen showing a poster of your show, advertising your main event match. Then you were simply taken to the results screen, where you were told who beat who, and which titles changed hands. You could also sign talent from WWF, WCW, ECW or Other, as in PW. Because of the small bank balance you begin with, it is very difficult to afford anyone to start with. There was also a training camp, as in PW, where you could choose how much money was put into it, and that reflected the talent you got out of it.
Once your promotion got popular enough, you were given a TV deal, and got to see your ratings compared to the WWF and WCW. Ratings were shown only as a percentage, however. Another nice feature in WFM was buying a ring - you had a selection of different qualities, at varying prices. You could also see what it looked like, complete with your designed logo on the side, and you could choose the colour of the apron. Bear in mind, this was displayed in a very, very basic way.
I made this game during my early days of programming, and learned the harsh lesson a lot of people end up discovering. I thought I knew enough to make a game of that scale, but later discovered that in programming, there are ways to do something...and there are ways to do it well. Two very different things. I ended up using 50 forms for the Visual Basic project (PW uses less than half that). The game had serious memory issues, and thus was never really completed as such, although it is 99% done.
I still have the game, and one way will put it into a playable form for people to try. As of 2021, it has never been played by anybody but me.
Wrestling Federation Manager 2 (January 2000)
After learning a lesson while making WFM, I set out to avoid all the mistakes I had made, and remake the game as a sequel. I didn't get very far into this before I found Extreme Warfare 9000. This got me thinking about how I could adapt WFM to have the WWF and WCW instead of creating a new promotion. Work on WFM2 was scrapped, and I began work on a game called Promotion Wars...
Promotion Wars 1.0 (October 7th 2000)
Started in January 2000, Promotion Wars was uploaded to the internet on October 7th 2000, and announced on the Extreme Warfare discussion board. It caused a wave of interest on the EW Board, who believed they had seen the last of EW, and had been given nothing but empty promises by other programmers. Promotion Wars 1.0 was never destined for the internet, and it wasn't until about 70% into the game that I started considering the possibility. Then came the problem of getting it onto the internet, which was solved after several different attempts.
PW 1.0 looked different to all the other PW's. It had a white background, and looked pretty ugly. The font which I had used was not on a lot of people's computers, so their computer was replacing it with a bigger one, thus hiding some of the text and increasing the ugliness. But the features were a big step up from WFM. The matches now had commentary, using a mix of Championship Manager and Extreme Warfare influences. There were now a selection of venues to choose from, which was an idea taken from EW. TV ratings were now the actual numbers instead of a percentage. In general, the game was written specifically around WWF and WCW. The signing of wrestlers, and the training camp, were carried across and modified slightly from WFM. Commentators were dropped from PW1.0 after repeated 'Out of Memory' messages.
Promotion Wars 1.1 (October 14th 2000)
After a week on the net, the first refinement to Promotion Wars was uploaded. The major change here was the look of the game. The whole thing was redesigned. The white background replaced by a dark blue background (an idea I had when reading about LMA Manager in a magazine), and the font which nobody had was replaced by Verdana. Also added was the ability to see your champions highlighted in gold on the roster.
Promotion Wars 1.2 (October 21st 2000)
A week after 1.1 came another refinement. PW 1.2 allowed the player to rebook a match if they made a mistake, and had the sortable rosters feature added. Some of the bugs were also fixed for this version.
Promotion Wars 1.2a (October 25th 2000)
It was a mere four days before another new version arrived. This simply mixed a mistake or two.
Promotion Wars 1.2b (January 1st 2001)
It wasn't until the new year rolled in that another new version of PW arrived. This version was meant as a final polishing of PW1.2 before the big 1.3 arrived. Interesting side note, it used to take me 3 and a half hours to compile the code into an exe file. I believe it was when making this particular version, that, having gone through the 3 and a half hours, I noticed an error. So - you guessed it - it was another 3 and a half hours to compile the corrected version. Happy New Year indeed! For comparison, Promotion Wars: 21st Anniversary Edition took around 6 minutes to compile...
Promotion Wars 1.2c (June 2nd 2001)
In June, 1.2b was polished a little bit more. More bugs were fixed, the general difficulty of the game was improved, and a much requested back button on the roster was added.
Promotion Wars 1.2d (July 30th 2001)
For the first time in Promotion Wars' history, almost all information within the game could be changed by the player. 1.2d also makes the player buy out the contract of a wrestler if he wants to release him against the wrestler's will. The game starts by default with the starting promotions being the WWF and the WCW/ECW Alliance.
Promotion Wars 1.2e (December 31st 2001)
1.2e dropped the save slots and gave the player unlimited saves. It also introduced Challenges, where the player had to complete certain targets by a certain time, or the game ends. The expected draw value for world champions, the expected ratings for the main show and PPV, the expected bank balance and the minimum draw value for a top liner could all be edited. Weekly rating was affected a lot more if the player is in debt, and shows cost a lot more money to put on. The bug where the weekly rating could show as more than 100% was fixed. Hell in a Cell and Triple Cage can now be used for any promotion. The files were now no longer kept in folders, which allowed me to just use Winzip, and not a setup program. This brought the download to less than 1 MB, when it had been over 3MB.
Promotion Wars 1.2e Small Update (January 6th 2002)
The money problem was fixed, and a choice of the classic blue background or the new black background was added.
Promotion Wars 1.3 - Beta Test Demo (August 16th 2004)
The first new Promotion Wars release for 2 and a half years, version 1.3 was the 1.2e code re-written. The several changes included the possibility of up to 11 playable promotions including the option of starting a brand new indie promotion, editable match endings, interviews and venues, more shows, more titles, customisable match stipulations, new wrestler stats and more.
Promotion Wars 1.3 (October 7th 2004)
After the public testing, version 1.3 was officially released as a complete game on the 4th anniversary of the first ever Promotion Wars release. This was really intended as the final Promotion Wars. EWR had quite deservedly taken Promotion Wars' crown as the favourite wrestling sim, and this was an attempt to leave Promotion Wars on a more positive note, after the cancellation of Promotion Wars 2.
Promotion Wars 1.31 (January 1st 2021)
There was sporadic talk over the years of making a modern stats update for Promotion Wars, but that never seemed to materialise. However, in December 2020, PW fan CorZ, now known as Valo, actually managed to make one. On one hand, this was great, on the other, I was quietly concerned at how it would expose how old the last released version of Promotion Wars was. I dusted off the code for the first time in a long time and spent a few hours one day fixing as many little things as I could to minimise any embarrassment, while also updating the built-in text referring to who had last made the stats for the game and things like the old email address and old website.
Promotion Wars 1.32 (June 26th 2021)
With Valo releasing an expansion to his stats update (UK promotions), knowing there would again be people playing the game which had been untouched since 2005 except for v1.31's small fixes, I again spent a few hours one day just making small fixes and tweaks where I could. This was mainly preventing errors, but there were a handful of minor new things, like being told your sponsorship/merchandise/TV income in an email each month, and being told the match of the night (which had been a feature in the pre-1.3 versions). There was an email after each show telling you the net profit or loss of that show, and you could also move the screen around your desktop for the first time (it had been rooted to the centre permanently until then). So, a few more features but still a very minor update.
Promotion Wars: 21st Anniversary Edition (October 7th 2021)
(aka Promotion Wars 1.4)
After a very encouraging response on Facebook when I posted on the 20th anniversary in 2020, I always had it in mind that I wanted to do something special for the 21st anniversary. It wasn't until mid-August 2021 that I decided I'd make a sizeable update to 1.32. First and foremost, I wanted to enlarge the screen (it looked very small by 2021 standards) and return the font to the classic PW font Verdana. In the process of manually enlarging each screen, I ended up changing several things to make the game look tidier and more consistent. I basically looked at every single screen and thought to myself, how can I improve this? So that resulted in quite a visual change, with some screens being completely redesigned. I also added several other news things, see a full run-down in the News section.
The release of this game coincided with the unveiling of the new website, pwremastered.com, which is the first time in about 14 years that I've had my own website for Promotion Wars that I have full control of. This marked the beginning of the 'Remastered Era' for Promotion Wars.
Promotion Wars 1.41 (February 5th 2022)
See the Fixes and Improvements page for a full list of the changes and fixes added.
Promotion Wars 1.42 (April 17th 2022)
See the Fixes and Improvements page for a full list of the changes and fixes added.
Promotion Wars will continue to improve, so keep an eye on this site and the social channels for the latest news!
The changing look of Promotion Wars