It was revealed on Saturday evening during WWE’s SummerSlam event that 2K Sports made the decision to delay WWE 2K22 until March 2022. The decision has seen mixed reactions from fans across the internet, but that’s not the only place having issues with the delay.
Speaking with multiple sources at 2K Sports, developer Visual Concepts, and beyond, there have been quite a few high-level decisions causing concern among the teams.
SGO has learned that there’s been infighting regarding direction of the game. 2K Sports and WWE have been going back and forth on pushing back WWE 2K22 since almost immediately after the game was announced. Most of those within WWE wanted the game to release in it’s normal Survivor Series window. Those from 2K Sports and Visual Concepts, on the other hand, pushed hard for a delay of the launch.
One of the reasons given to us were the sheer amount of releases over the past year. The team has been working on scanning wrestlers and building new character models pretty much from the ground up. Well, a number of superstars built were on the release list. One source even said, “this is shaping up to be the most outdated roster a game has seen”.
The game is expected to include a large amount of wrestlers no longer with the WWE, but the March release window now gives them time to adjust with removing wrestlers and adding any new ones WWE may want.
Heads Are Butting Over WWE 2K22 Delay Decision
The roster cuts aren’t just the only point of content between the parties. With the miserable release that was WWE 2K20, WWE has, apparently, been more difficult to deal with during this development cycle.
WWE has made in know they want a better product this time around. Despite still making record profits, the largest wrestling company in the World lost quite a bit due to the poor launch and reception surrounding WWE 2K20. Things got really bad when it reached a point where refunds were starting to be issued.
There was a lot of talk of whether it may be time for a split between the parties. 2K Sports has been the publisher of WWE video games since taking over for THQ in 2013 as part of the former studios closure. However, after years of working with Yukes as the developer of the series, Visual Concepts took over solely for WWE 2K20.
Fast-forward to early 2020. While WWE and Take-Two Interactive, the parent company of 2K Sports, were having multiple meetings over the future, the Stamford-based company did hang other publishers out as far as possible future partners.
“It was like threats to cancel cable,” one person said. “Threats would come out of them claiming to have interest from one company here or there. I don’t know how credible that was though, or just idle threats.”
The last extension of the agreement was made in 2016. Though no terms had been disclosed other than it was a “multi-year” deal, rumors had it at a six-to-seven years. With WWE 2K22, WWE has made it known, almost annoyingly so, how much this game means to the future of the franchise. To put it bluntly, it could be the end if it fails both critically and commercially again.
With the extra pressure during the build, the development team at Visual Concepts, already pinched, underfunded and understaffed compared to the past, have openly been angry.
“It just hasn’t been a fun place to be,” one source said. “Second guessing happens constantly because of a desperation to get things right.”
The one bright spot, many said, is that they ultimately got the delay for WWE 2K22. With many of the game’s elements being built from the ground up, it makes things less hectic, especially for some major new additions to the series.
“We are fans and gamers like everyone out there,” one developer said. “We are doing everything we possibly can to make the wrestling game fans want. From modes to how it feels in the ring, we want this to be the wrestling fan’s wrestling game.”
With everything going on behind the scenes, however, I had to look into the possibility of WWE getting out of the deal with Take-Two sooner than the expiration.
“It wouldn’t take as much as people would assume,” they said. “That’s how bad it’s been. But one great game and fan response could turn things right around.”
Are you confident in what’s to come with WWE 2K22 after its delay? Let us know in the comment section, and stick with Sports Gamers Online for more.