The relationship between WWE and 2K is reportedly seriously strained.
As noted, it was announced during WWE SummerSlam on Saturday that the game will now be released in March 2022, pushed back from the traditional fall release. You can see the new trailer below. It was noted on Saturday that the cover Superstar and more details will be released in the coming weeks.
In an update, Michael Straw of Sports Gamers Online reports that multiple sources at 2K Sports and developer Visual Concepts, and others involved with the game, note that there have been quite a few high-level decisions that are causing concern among the teams.
There is said to be in-fighting regarding the direction of the WWE 2K22 video game. 2K Sports and WWE have been going back & forth on pushing the game back since almost immediately after it was announced earlier this year during WrestleMania 37 Weekend. It was noted that most within WWE wanted the game to be released around the Survivor Series as usual, but those from 2K Sports and Visual Concepts pushed hard for a delay.
One of the reasons is the significant amount of WWE releases made in the last year. The 2K teams have been working on scanning wrestlers and building new character models from the ground up, but a number of the Superstars built have been cut by WWE this year. One source said, “This is shaping up to be the most outdated roster a game has seen.”
WWE has cut dozens of wrestlers in the last year and now word is that the WWE 2K22 game is expected to include several wrestlers no longer with the company, but the new March release window now gives the teams time to adjust the roster with removing wrestlers and adding any new ones WWE may want.
Another major issue is that WWE is reportedly much more difficult to deal with during the development cycle of this game, considering how bad the release of the WWE 2K20 game was. WWE made it clear they wanted a better product this time around.
There has been talk that it may be time for a split between WWE and 2K, which has been WWE’s video game publisher since taking over for THQ in 2013 when the former studio closed. After years of working with Yukes as the franchise developer, Visual Concepts took over solely for WWE 2K20. While WWE and 2K Sports parent company Take-Two Interactive have had multiple meetings over the future, WWE reportedly did hang other publishers out as far as potential partners in the future.
“It was like threats to cancel cable,” one source 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 between the two parties was made in 2016 and while terms were not revealed, besides it being a multi-year deal, it was rumored to be for 6-7 years. It was noted that the developmental team at Visual Concepts, which is already pinched, underfunded and understaffed compared to before, has been openly angry as of late. It was speculated that this could be the end to the working relationship if the game fails both critically and commercially.
“It just hasn’t been a fun place to be,” another source said. “Second guessing happens constantly because of a desperation to get things right.”
According to many, one bright spot in the whole ordeal is that they ultimately got the delay for WWE 2K22. With many of the WWE 2K22 elements being built from the ground up, the delay to March makes things less hectic, especially for a few 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.”
The developer also commented on 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.”
Stay tuned for more. You can see the new WWE 2K22 trailer below: