Home Features WWE 2K20 may just be the best worst thing to ever happen to wrestling games

WWE 2K20 may just be the best worst thing to ever happen to wrestling games

5 min read

If you ever needed a poster child for a video game that needed a lot more time in the development oven, then WWE 2K20 is so massive an example that it can be seen from orbit. I’ve mentioned before how the game was an absolute mess on launch day: Missing features, glitches galore and was more broken than Mick Foley’s face after he was choke-slammed through a steel cage.

For fans of the franchise, WWE 2K20 was a massive slap in the face with a small dick, a step down from previous years and a damning example of a profit-first culture that had resulted in anyone slapping cash down for this product realising that they’d just been given a taste of their very own Montreal Screwjob.

The writing was on the wall long before WWE 2K20 even hit shelves and earned the ire of wrestlemaniacs. Longtime developer Yukes had been binned, 2K’s team Visual Concepts barely had enough time to cobble together a working game and every step forward was met by three Hurricanrana’s off the top rope that took development back into the abyss.

On launch, WWE 2K20 was a tragedy to play. The story mode had a lethal amount of cheese, online features were buggered and trying to execute an elbow drop would result in your wrassler crashing the entire game. In this day and age, it’s a given that some features of a game won’t work but to be greeted by such an obscene list of bugs and broken gameplay was staggering. It was ballsy, it was disgusting and a moment of infamy that highlighted the worst that gaming had to offer.

The real tragedy, is that beneath all that grime and controversy there was a genuinely good game that had been buried beneath the surface. While it’s still baffling that Visual Concepts would toss away years of muscle memory with a brand new controller scheme, there were thoughtful changes to the core gameplay that allowed for WWE 2K20 to come within spitting distance of the benchmark that the glorious Smackdown! Vs. Raw games of the THQ era had established.

There was a meaty loop of counters and high impact action, glorious bumps and last-minute saves that could have made for a satisfying five-star spectacle. Unfortunately, you can only polish a turd so much and even with some recent patches resulting in a very playable build of WWE 2K20, the damage has been done. Can the franchise be salvaged?  2K Games certainly thinks so, especially with the Coronavirus hammering the core WWE product on television and forcing the entire sports industry to rethink how it does business.

2K Games has realised, shockingly, that you don’t need a new WWE game every single year. “We’ve heard and appreciate your feedback, and continue to listen to you closely. Since launch, we’ve released five title updates, addressing hundreds of reported concerns, and have released four WWE 2K20 Originals DLC expansions to build on and improve the experience. We’ve also heard your requests to keep the WWE 2K19 servers running; they will remain active for the time being,” 2K Games said in a press release.

All of that being said, we hear you and we know you want more from the franchise, so here’s what we’re going to do: we are applying what we’ve learned to the next WWE 2K simulation game with a renewed focus on quality and fun. As part of that commitment, we are extending the production timeline and will not be releasing a WWE 2K simulation game in 2020 (T2 fiscal year 2021).

We want to ensure the development team at Visual Concepts can create a great game that will entertain grizzled WWE 2K veterans, as well as newcomers who want to climb through the ropes and step into the ring for the very first time.

We’ve recruited Patrick Gilmore to serve as our new Executive Producer and lead these efforts at Visual Concepts. Patrick has over 25 years of experience in video games, reaching all the way back to Disney’s Aladdin on Sega Genesis, and including franchises like Killer Instinct, Medal of Honor, and, most recently, Amazon’s New World. He will be overseeing WWE 2K development, and you’ll be hearing more from him and the team in the months to come.

We hope you find this news as exciting as we do. We are confident it will lead to better games in the future.

Look, WWE games exist to make money. Much like FIFA, PES and Formula One, they’re a consistent cash cow that adds to the WWE’s coffers every year through licensing deals and seasonal content. But we’re also living in an age where such games no longer need to be annual attraction. New content can be added on a regular basis, fans are willing to pay money for good additions to a game provided that it caters to current trends.

The idea of a game needing to go annual does nothing but diminish a brand, whereas a properly lengthy absence makes the heart grow fonder for a brand if it manages to prove that it has some quality content behind it. WWE games have been in dire need of a vacation for years now and even though it took a completely broken game on launch and a global pandemic to hammer this story home, it’s nice to finally see that happening now that Visual Concepts is getting a chance to make WWE 2K22 the best there was, the best there is and the best there ever could be.

It’s not like they could do worse than WWE 2K20…right?

Last Updated: April 28, 2020

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