Season mode is a feature in every SmackDown! game where you select a wrestler and guide him through a career in the WWE. Every year the season mode has been changed and updated.
In the first edition of SmackDown, you and up to three others could control a WWF Superstar to guide through the rankings. Season matches and title shots were based upon a ranking list, which lists everyone on the roster based on their wins and losses. In the start, people like Triple H and Steve Austin were on the top of the list while people like Mark Henry and Hardcore Holly were futher back. CAW wrestlers are placed as far back as possible and have to be developed. To use them in season mode, you have to place them through a "Pre-Season", which guides you through a year, or 12 matches, in the WWF.
There was only one card per month in the game, so you will be going from year-to-year pretty quickly. There was no running storyline or plot arc. You would often see attacks backstage, plotting, requests to help beatdown someone else, among other random things.
Playing through season allowed you unlock additional characters, but they were not unlcoked fully into the game. You'd have to create them in the CAW system.
WWF SmackDown! 2: Know Your Role
The season in the sequel was changed and given more direction. There was some minor storylines, more cutscenes, and more cards. Each card now represented a week with the PPV being the last week of each month. The ranking system in which you were giving title shots in season was changed as well. Now each wrestler was placed in a specific rank. So, Steve Austin and Triple H were placed in the WWF Title ranks while Scotty 2 Hotty and Funaki were in the Cruiserweight Title ranks. You could edit these ranks anyway you wish, but once someone moves to a rank, they're immediately placed on the bottom of the list.
Unlike the previous game, you could unlock actual people to the game. Steve Austin, Mick Foley, Billy Gunn, among others are unlocked for use through Season mode. Also, at random times an unknown man or woman would be seen walking down the hallways. These characters are named Unknown A-Z and are draped in attire that you cannot yet use in CAW. If you are able to beat the Unknown, you unlock the clothes.
WWF SmackDown!: Just Bring It
With SmackDown now moving from the Playstation to the much hyped Playstation 2, people were quite hyped for what improvements were giving to the new SmackDown game. Unfortunately, people were met with much disapointment as WWF SmackDown!: Just Bring It seemingly watered down the mode. This season mode was influenced by the highly successful WWF No Mercy, but it didn't seem to translate as well as THQ expected.
When you selected the superstar you wanted to play, you will be put into different situations where you have to make a decision. Each decision affects what happens in the next story point. The season's length varied on what you do. Some season modes only last a few matches while others could last a little longer. You are also required to play through season to unlock several different characters. When you run into the characters during the mode, you will unlock them. These characters include Tajiri, Rhyno, Spike Dudley, and a few others.
Upon completion of the Season Mode, you will earn cards which unlock movie vignettes, move lists, CAW parts, among other things.
If you ever play as a champion, your season will only be one match long where you defend your championship against a random competitior.
WWE SmackDown!: Shut Your Mouth
Shut Your Mouth completely changed the face of season mode for the series. Once again you are able to choose any of the male WWE Superstars on the roster to play as. The immediate storyline that takes place is the WWE Draft, a real-life storyline that took place just months before the game was released where the entire roster was put exclusive to either WWE RAW or WWE SmackDown. You can control either Vince McMahon or Ric Flair to simulate your own draft or you may skip it and customize the way you would like the drafts to look like. If you play as Steve Austin, you can even simulate the real-life event that occured after the draft where Ric Flair and Vince McMahon campaigned for him to join with either brand.
The game's calender is similar to WWF SmackDown 2: Know Your Role in which each card represents a week with the last one being the PPV. Before each card, you may control your wrestler throughout the arena. You can visit the GMs office to request title shots or check your ranking, you could explore various rooms to find wrestlers to interact with, or you could even take a train down to WWE The World in Times Square where Sunday Night Heat was taped at the time. Interactions with superstars in the hallways could lead to negative or positive reactions, negative reactions usually leading to a hardcore match right in the room you are in.
Each month may have a storyline that you are involved in as well, which will usually conclude at the PPV. These storylines can vary from a superstar angry over an autograph, the nWo's arrival to WWE, or a traitor that is trying to sabotage the brand you work for. Much like WWF SamckDown!, this game has a ranking system in which everyone on the brand you are on are ranked based on their wins and losses. This usually determines what storylines you will be in. So if you start off as Maven or Randy Orton who are both among the lowest in ranks, don't expect any sort of title shot right away.
If you choose to play as a CAW, a similar "pre-season" will be played for the first month. Here, you will fight exclusively on Sunday Night HEAT trying to make a name for yourself.
Season Mode ends after two years. If you are able to make it to the Main Event of WrestleMania in the last match of the season, you will get to beat up Vince McMahon at it's conclusion saying the game's catchprase, "shut your mouth!"
When Season concludes, rankings will carry on to the next season, however the title holders will always be reset.
WWE SmackDown!: Here Comes the Pain
Here Comes the Pain took a similar approach to their season as it's previous title, Shut Your Mouth. You will once again choose a wrestler to play as. You will now be able to choose what brand you want to be on and whether you want to be a face or heel. Regardless of what you choose, you will always be a face. But, if you choose a heel, you will always face off with face competitors. On the flipside, if you are a face, you will primarily fight heel performers.
The game will start the same every season. The wrestler you chose will be in a black-and-white vignette about why they became a wrestler. In the first week of every season, Vince McMahon will arrive in his limo and address you, saying he could make or break you.
Much like Shut Your Mouth, each month you will usually be put into a storyline that will pan out the entire month. Unlike the previous title, the storylines branch out a lot more and the decisions you make are a lot more important.
Rather than the first person view of the arena before cards where you could walk around, there is rather a selection screen that shows each room in the arena and who is presently in it. You could interact with wrestlers in various areas. This could lead to a variety of things. You could form stables, make a friendship, or the usual case, start a fight.
The season can conclude in a variety of ways, but if you make it to WrestleMania and win your match, you will be treated to another Black-and-White vignette of walking down the hall after your fight. You will see other wrestlers walking by either casually or looking sore and you will see Vince McMahon sitting on a chair in his ring gear.
An improvement from the previous series, the titles and rankings will not reset after the season concludes.
WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW
WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW 2006
WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW 2007