Patrick Gilmore, the new Executive Producer for the WWE 2K, took part in “Ask Me Anything” event via reddit. During the session, Gilmore revealed lots of details about the future of the series and plans for the upcoming game.
The Future of WWE Games
The following news should get long time fans and returning players curious if not outright excited for the next WWE 2K game. WWE 2K20 failed in large to capture what many liked about the games and exasperated what the community did not. Including a glitch that saw parts of the game crash due to the year turning from 2019 to 2020, WWE 2K20 did not bring the quality its predecessor had and failed to truly push the envelope in areas the game had the most promise. After much ridicule, reports stated parent company, Take-Two, would be taking a different direction moving forward.
Initially, this new direction saw the cancellation of WWE 2K21 and the announcement of WWE 2K Battlegrounds. Some felt this would mean the end for the simulation style wrestling games, but 2K immediately followed with news confirming the series would return, albeit not developed by Visual Concepts and, of course, Yukes. The recent forum feedback session, and Gilmore’s “Ask Me Anything” via reddit reaffirm this, the latter of which offers some very exciting details. You can see a breakdown of the information Gilmore addressed below.
Out with the Old
Surprisingly, a lot of questions were regarding the current game and if there will be any more updates. Short answer, “probably not.” According to Gilmore, a lot of the problems in WWE 2K20 are due to memory overruns. This happens especially when using items created via the Creation Suite like characters and arenas. Fixing the issues would require changing file formats and managing old code. However, the team does not plan to use the old code moving forward. Maintaining old code is one of the biggest obstacles preventing the team from making more comprehensive changes. So unfortunately, WWE 2K20 is done, but the team will be focusing solely on the new game and that is a good thing.
A New Direction
Gilmore addressed his vision for the series’s future. He added that he hopes to focus on giving players the experience of being a WWE superstar. He then elaborates saying he felt despite the theatrics, wrestling is more of a sport and they “want to focus on the authenticity of rivalries, athleticism, and the experience of being a superstar, locked into meaningful combat in front of an audience of thousands.” He then used a tagline to summarize their core focus: “Step out of the crowd, step into the ring.”
While still presenting an authentic atmosphere, Gilmore aims to move away from audience/broadcast experience and to the superstar experience. This means focusing on the core gameplay elements before taking it into other modes.
We could see a radically different control scheme like WWE 12. WWE 2K20 introduced its own that works well in some situations but hurts most others. If new controls open up new opportunities for more authentic matches, it may very well be a welcomed change.
Creation Suite for Everyone
When speaking on the robust Creation Suite, Gilmore highlighted that it is another area of focus. Their team will be looking to streamline the mode’s UI and improve the overall experience. This includes:
- Upgrading character base models
- Additional tools to allow new users empowering them to create amazing CAWs
- Exploring Custom Music options, but this depends highly on legality
- Additional modes like cross-platform Creation Suite downloads and slating “Create-A-Story” for the future
Core Gameplay Enhancements
Circling back to in-ring action, Gilmore epress there would be major investments into improving core gameplay mechanics beyond just control scheme. Game like No Mercy, and modern fighting games, the team is aiming to build a new standard using the best from all those inspirations. When clarifying, he notes the gameplay team’s focus is on accessibility, depth, and overall wrestling experience. For example, he would like the game to be a lot smarter in predicting what players are attempting to do in a given situation. The end result would be new players accidentally pulling off amazing moves just by experimenting with the controls while veterans can methodically recreate awesome moments themselves.
In terms of depth, the next WWE 2K will hopefully move away from manual skills in pressing the right buttons, but rather place emphasis on the psychological game of anticipating and countering your opponents strategy. He adds these changes will need to be built into the foundation, “so expect a significant evolution in gameplay with the next installment.”
Patrick also spoke to capturing the aspects of professional wrestling which means implementing drama, context, roster size, backstage action, the audience, and of course, the spectacle nature of wrestling. A primary challenge of this is giving players control over the numerous outcomes possible in any given match. Despite the influences from other combat titles, Gilmore expresses wanting to move away from contextual pop-ups and mini games for things like pins, submissions, etc. He would rather see these be an extension of the core gameplay as “fully-realized mechanics”.
New and Returning Modes
Some of the biggest topics during the discussion asked about new or returning modes like General Manager Mode. According to Patrick Gilmore, GM Mode is specifically high on the list. They do not want to simply copy/paste from 2008, but want to bring it back bigger and better. In terms of career mode, the next WWE 2K will put choice back in the hands of the player in hopes of the mode feeling like the player’s personal journey rather than a predefined narrative.
Not much was revealed about Universe Mode. Although, it was mentioned that Gilmore is reaching out to popular players of the mode and getting feedback for new features and improvements.
More to come
Obviously Gilmore was not able to speak to everything, but there are a few other things he addressed of note including:
- Improvements to online modes and addressing pain points of the overall experience
- Updates to both character and object physics
- Potential for a closed beta
- Commentary improvements
- New Match types
- Additional pieces and modernizing set pieces for Creation Suite like hairstyles (and hair in general)
- Prioritizing Mod Support
- Strategizing the game for current and next-gen support
Gilmore present a lot of promising information. It is good to see the team taking a transparent approach to the game and giving players a voice, something Gilmore plans to continue well throughout production.
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