After an almost two-year hiatus, the WWE 2K franchise is making a comeback. The next game in the series will be WWE 2K22, and it has many fans interested. Some of this interest is excitement, but a good portion of it is certainly morbid curiosity since WWE 2K20 was so awful. No one will really know how the game will turn out or when the WWE 2K22 release date is. In the meantime, let’s take a look at what we know so far about the game.
What Will the WWE 2K22 Roster Look Like?
This past January, it was reported by PWInsider that Representatives from 2K were backstage at WWE’s Royal Rumble event to scan wrestlers and record voiceovers for WWE 2K22. Apparently, 2K scanned wrestlers not just for 2K22 but future games in the series as well. Since this happened, Andrade, Christian, and Big Show have all left WWE. Since they are no longer with the company, there is a possibility they won’t be in this year’s game, making WWE 2K20 their last appearance in the series. The only two wrestlers who are actually confirmed to be in WWE 2K22 are Rey Mysterio and Cesaro. More will definitely be revealed as we get closer to the game’s eventual release date.
What Features Could the Game Potentially Have?
As Visual Concepts, developer of the WWE games, continues to work on WWE 2K22 in the WWE 2K series, the recently appointed executive producer of the series Patrick Gilmore answered fan’s questions on the WWE Games subreddit as a part of an Ask Me Anything (AMA) last summer.
Gilmore took this opportunity to answer many questions fans had about the WWE titles. One question that came up constantly during the AMA was about GM mode. The mode is a fan favorite that last appeared in Smackdown vs Raw 2008 and allowed players to control and simulate their own WWE before its current replacement Universe Mode did so. When asked if the mode was making a return, Gilmore said the following: “GM Mode is one of the most requested features we get. I can say that my message to the team was, ‘We’re not just going to trot out a mode from 2008 without bringing something new.’ Top minds are thinking about that right now. Top. Minds.”
Another former feature of the WWE games that fans asked him about was custom music. WWE games on the PS3 and Xbox 360 allowed fans to import MP3 files into the game to have their own music play in the game. Developers removed the feature when the series went to the PS4 and Xbox One with WWE 2K15. Gilmore responded to a fan asking if Spotify could be used to implement custom music by saying:
“We’ve had discussions about importing custom music, and it can be a bit of a legal snarl. As creators ourselves, we have to take care when it comes to the rights of other creators (i.e. musicians). For most music, the original artist retains the right to synchronize picture to the music, so we need to take care to offer the feature in the right way. I can’t commit to anything right now, but it’s on our list of things to explore.”
Another user asked a question related to the improvement of commentary in the WWE games. Instead of responding himself, Gilmore posted a response from a member of the audio team:
“Coming onto the franchise, Commentary was one of the areas that truly shocked me in its complexity. When the audio team talks about what they’re trying to achieve with Commentary, you get a ton of domain-specific lingo, like beer tasting or something (except that instead of “catty” or “resinous” or “malt backbone,” you hear terms like “move call” or “grunt harvest” or “one-shot”). To give you an idea of the scope and complexity, Move Calls, for example, have over 44,000 unique calls. A simple move call like ‘Big hit there by The Rock!’ might be three seconds. If that’s the average across all calls, that would represent about 36 hours of audio, maybe 10-12 days in a recording studio with months of dialog editing and implementation after that. While these are huge systems, we have plans underway to improve and modify, and especially to do a better job of synchronizing crowd animated and audio responses.”
One of the most interesting questions asked during the AMA was about monthly updates. For years, fans have begged that new wrestlers be added to the game after their WWE debut. Usually, additional characters are added to WWE games are added through DLC that is already planned during development. If WWE 2K22 were to adopt a monthly update model, new WWE wrestlers would constantly be added to the game.
Here is what Gilmore had to say when asked why 2K was unable to do this:
“My most recent experience is from a more “game as a service,” model, where the game is always live, and updates are constant. I think it’s a great way to develop. I would say that it’s part of the long-term franchise vision to move in that direction, but it’s not something that can happen overnight. Internally, we talk obsessively about being more current with new superstars, gimmick changes, and so forth. The main thing I can commit to is ongoing improvement!”
This was not a feature in WWE 2K20 but may happen at some point as WWE Battlegrounds has had monthly updates. Fans asked many more questions about the franchise during the AMA, and it can be read in its entirety at this link. As the new producer of the series, Gilmore seems to know where he would like to take the WWE 2K games.
WWE games are in desperate need of some success. It has been years since games like 2K18 and 2K19 were released. The controversial WWE 2K20 felt like the culmination of years of broken games. It also didn’t help that critics and fans strongly disliked WWE Battlegrounds as well. The best course of action for the developers to take is to listen to as much feedback as possible about the series. Judging from the Gilmore AMA, they are already headed in that direction. What do you think WWE 2K22 will be like? Let us know in the comments below.