For the first time in 15 years, it looks like there isn't going to be a mainline WWE video game release.
While nothing is official as of now, the word going around is that 2K Games and WWE will be taking a year off from their WWE 2K series. After the poor reception of WWE 2K20 and with the much of the world at a standstill thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, it would make sense that the two companies would want to give the series a short break, something that had been suggested a while back.
However, that doesn't mean that we'll be without a new WWE game this year altogether. According to the same GamesIndustry.biz article, former narrative writer for the 2K Games Justin Leeper commented,
"I have heard also that there is another WWE game this year, that 2K is publishing a different kind of WWE game from a different kind of developer that's not Visual Concepts [the current WWE 2K developers]... I could say more on that, but I won't because I've already probably [ticked] off a lot of people at 2K," he said.
Well, that's got the old wheels turning. What could this game, that Leeper describes as a 'palate cleanser,' be? Well, here's 5 ideas we think they might be working on.
#5 A console version of one of WWE's mobile games (or something new along those lines)
When it comes to their smartphone games, the reputation WWE has is one of, well, "not bad." Granted, the mobile version of the actual 2K series is pretty lousy but the majority of them are actually pretty fun.
WWE Immortals, a fighting game from NetherRealm Studios (the folks behind the current Mortal Kombat and DC's Injustice games) put together a pretty good fighting game based on fantasy versions of WWE Superstars. WWE SuperCard is literally a card collection fighting game that's shockingly a lot of fun.
There's others, too, but let's get to the point.
It's possible that 2K is working on a free-to-play type of WWE-centered combat game - similar to the business plan of games like Fortnite or Apex Legends. In fact, with the battle royale genre still doing exceptionally well financially (especially these days), a WWE game based around a literal battle royale might not be such a bad idea.
2K could hire a developer to modify the assets and engine they already own and focus on a game that's just that mode - and, like in Legends, give players a choice of six or so WWE stars to choose from (with others unlockable). Though developing games takes an enormous amount of effort, one feels something like that could be up and running by October, the month the WWE 2K games usually see release.
Granted, that could be the wrestling game equivalent of announcing a Diablo mobile game when people are expecting Diablo IV - who would do that? - except with less outrage. But, it's something that could happen. And people might want to play it.
#4 WWE All Stars 2
Back when THQ had the rights to the WWE license (back when there was still a THQ), the company put out more than just the usual yearly titles. In 2009, they released Legends of WrestleMania, which had players recreating classic moments from the Showcase of the Immortals over the years, but with a more simplified control scheme.
It didn't do well critically, but it encouraged THQ to try more games like it. This led to 2011's WWE All Stars. And, this game was awesome.
The game featured 30 wrestlers, which included a mix of "Legends" like Hulk Hogan, the Ultimate Warrior, Eddie Guerrero and current "Superstars" of the time, like The Miz, Edge, and CM Punk. Unlike the mainline titles, however, this game was arcade-style all the way.
Wrestlers were built more like Masters of the Universe action figures than anything else. Finishing moves were performed as if gravity wasn't really anything to worry about. And the victims of these moves bounced off the mat as if it were a trampoline.
I hadn't had this much silly fun in a wrestling game since I played WWF WrestleFest in the arcades years before.
Is it possible that 2K has a team of developers working on something along these lines for release in 2020? Seeing performers of today in the original All Stars style - Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, AJ Styles, or Daniel Bryan - would be worth the price of admission alone for this title.
Plus, after months of matches in empty arenas, it would be great to see something way over the top for a change.
#3 WWE SmackDown: Here Comes The Pain Reloaded
So, this one is a little far fetched, for a number of reasons - but hear me out.
WWE SmackDown: Here Comes The Pain is considered one of the best - if not the best - WWE games to come to home consoles since the Nintendo 64/PlayStation era ended. Released in 2003, it was a PlayStation 2 exclusive and featured on the cover a rising new star named Brock Lesnar. It was the first video game to feature a variety of "legends", such as Jimmy Snuka and Roddy Piper, as well as alternate version of wrestlers, including the original Undertaker from his debut in 1990.
Now, I called it "Reloaded" because of two reasons. Firstly, a simple HD remaster of the original probably isn't feasible, what with licensing rights and all that. Secondly, that's probably what WWE would call it, knowing them.
But, remastering the original graphics and adding current performers (think EA Sports adding current teams and players to NHL '94), as well as tweaking the season mode (as well as probably doing away with options like the "bra and panties" match), would be something long time fans would really be into.
Like I said, it's highly unlikely. But, who knows?
#2 A whole game based on GM mode
So, around this time every year - once all the DLC for the previous game has been released, doofus writers who cover pro wrestling video games (like myself) inevitably write the same article. That article, of course, is "Features that need to be in the next WWE 2K game" - or something along those lines. We're usually pretty good at mixing up the headlines, at least. And, just as inevitably, one of those features is "bring back GM mode!"
For good reason, too. The GM Mode was a lot of fun. It was pretty much what it sounds like - you, the player, would take the role of General Manager of either SmackDown or Raw, given a budget by Vince McMahon, pick your wrestlers from the draft, and build your brand. You weren't just in control of the matches, but in charge of scheduling the matches. You engaged in trades with the other brand, signed free agents and in general, tried to put on the better show.
This feature fell by the wayside in games after a while, especially once the original brand split went that way, too. Now with it back in business, it feels like a good time to bring it back. This time, however, give it its own stand-alone game.
Video games such as NFL Head Coach, MLB Front Office Manager, and the Football Manager series (which is still going on today), have all taken this concept with their individual sports and have had various degrees of success.
It could work for a WWE game, although it would really need some interesting features to beef up the visual presentation. A game of this nature kind of lends itself to a lot of text - not something most fans really want to deal with for more than a while.
That being said, it would certainly be something hardcore fans would appreciate and should be something fairly easy to put together in a small amount of time, especially using existing assets.
#1 A console release of WWE Immortals
So, look. I know I mentioned this in the very first entry. But, this game is a whole different animal altogether. Let me explain.
As I mentioned before, WWE Immortals was a mobile fighting game from NetherRealm Studios. They not only made the Injustice and Mortal Kombat games, but also the excellent mobile version of the said Injustice titles. So, Immortals was a lot of fun. I was actually pretty disappointed when I found out that they were discontinuing the title. C'est la vie, I guess.
NetherRealm has been hard at work with new content for Mortal Kombat XI. What if, at the same time, after shutting down work on Immortals, they've also had a team working on a console version of the game?
What if they were taking the same engine they used for Injustice 2, added the WWE characters from the mobile game, and were getting ready to release a brand new version for the PS4, Xbox One, etc.? What if?!
Well... probably not. NetherRealms is owned by Warner Bros., which means anything developed by them would have to be released by Warner Bros. Digital Entertainment. With 2K Games holding the console game rights to the WWE license, that's probably just not going to happen.
But, I would pre-order that game in a heartbeat.
Assuming there's some sort of WWE game released this year, what do you guys think it will be? Let us know in the comments section. And, as always, please stay safe and stay healthy and keep reading Sportskeeda!