Earlier today, WWE 2K creative director, Lynell Jinks, and art producer, Christina Diem Pham, presented the first ringside report detail WWE 2K22 gameplay. The near 17 minute video covers a lot, and we’ve got the details below.
WWE 2K22 Ringside Report #1
The WWE 2K22 Ringside Reports promise to cover patches, DLC, features, and, of course, gameplay. The first deep dive plunges into gameplay. However, before gameplay details, Jinks and Pham cover the game’s visual overhaul.
The first thing players will notice is major upgrades to wrestler visuals. As it stands, WWE 2K22 is the best looking game in the series. This time around, the team piggybacked off the same technology used in NBA 2K. This includes cross polarization scans to improve texture maps, and much needed hair improvements. The result? Unmatched character likeness not yet seen in WWE 2K. In addition, lighting has been overhauled and a VFX engine has been implemented. At about 2 minutes and 45 seconds into the video, you can see Kane taking on Rey Mysterio in what almost looks like a photorealistic broadcast. The game also features new title belts and over 50 playable arenas including those modeled after WWE’s own Thunderdome.
After covering some amazing visual details, the report finally shows off gameplay. Senior and principal designers, Derek Donahue and Jason Vandiver, as well as senior producer, Jonathan Rivera joined to weigh in on the changes.
Starting with Vandiver, the Ringside Report covers just how WWE 2K22 hits different. Using Damien Priest versus cover star, Rey Mysterio as a backdrop, Vandiver covered the new animation system. Off the bat, Vandiver notes players will notice a ton of improvements in locomotion, character alignment. connectivity between moves, better contextual animations and much more. The overall tone set means players are less likely to feel like their fighting to control the character. Wrestlers onscreen appear more responsive than before. Aerials moves and strikes have much better connection across the board.
Another upgrade is the full implementation of the Havok physics engine. Before, it was confined to just hair and cloth. Now, its been fully implemented to allow things like breakable props, including barricades.
According to Derek, the control scheme was a big issue to fix. The team aimed to lower the entry curve for new players but keep the same detailed nuances accessible to veterans. Much like before, offense centers around light (quick strikes), heavy (strong strikes), and grapple attacks. Grappling has seen the bulk of improvements this year. Similar to Fire Pro Wrestling, players initiate a lock-up at the press of one button. From there, additional options open up.
Combos and reversals
Rivera touched on combos and there seems to still be some questions on just how those work within grapples. Nonetheless, the way combos will behave sees players less remembering entire movesets more remembering what combinations appear universally across different superstars. The idea being accessibility. Despite that, timing and strategic play still take the forefront.
A lot of the strategy for veterans will come in the form defensive gameplay. With counter limits retired, players now have two new options for turning the tide. The newest of these are breakers. This accommodates for veterans being able to notice telegraphed moves. They will counter by pressing the same button as the offender during a combo or grapple. The next is blocking. Holding the reversal button puts characters into a blocking stance. This lets plays withstand light, heavy, and running attacks and is less risky than attempting to dodge. It also makes a counter much easier to execute.
WWE 2K22 HUD
Along with so much else, there has been some changes to the HUD. The current HUD strips away all extra info and focuses on what really matters. Players will see a vitality meter or health bar. Beneath it, the special meter, a bar that tracks a resource used to perform paybacks, signatures, quick get ups (no sells) and other defensive actions. At the very bottom is the finisher meter. With the lack of counter limits, matches no longer come down to how quickly can one burn their opponent’s limit. That said, the new stun meter is the biggest tool for hitting big moves without being countered. Players will need to fill this bar by combining their attack types to lower the risk of having a finisher or signature countered.
That wraps up the first Ringside Report in terms of gameplay. I highly recommend giving the report a watch as it really drives home how dedicated the team has been this year.
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