For those looking forward to WWE 2K21, you're going to have to wait as 2K Games is skipping a year for its simulation-based releases to focus all their energy on making WWE 2K22 the best game it can be.
New executive producer on the upcoming project, Patrick Gilmore, recently participated in an AMA on Reddit in which he discussed the pillars that the team is focusing on in the new game and what his personal philosophy is towards what makes a good wrestling game.
Like most, Patrick Gilmore has been spending a lot of time focusing on what makes iconic wrestling games special such as WWF No Mercy on the Nintendo 64 and WWE SmackDown!: Here Comes the Pain on the PlayStation 2. While Patrick says they are taking inspiration from these games he warns future players not to get excited about the possibility of the games being completely ripped off for the modern era.
“Core gameplay is one of the major investments we’re making in the next installment—one of six pillars we are focused on disproportionately in development. We are looking at much-loved previous games like No Mercy or Smackdown: Here Comes the Pain, along with top franchise installments, and more modern wrestling and fighting games to build an all-new philosophical foundation for the game,” he began. “People who hope that we holistically adopt the control scheme or philosophy from one of their favorite games are likely to be disappointed; we are trying to combine the best ideas out there into a brand new wrestling experience that sets a new standard.”
He continued, “For Depth, we’re looking a lot at ring position, deeper combos and working” moves, limb damage, technical capabilities, match momentum and unlocks, and rock-paper-scissors (RPS) strategies by archetype and player style. Depth doesn’t come from the manual skill of pressing the proper buttons but from the psychological game of anticipating and countering your opponent’s strategy, and this needs to be built in from the very foundation, so expect a significant evolution in gameplay with the next installment.
“The last aspect of great gameplay is capturing the essence of professional wrestling, which has dimensions of drama, changing context, massive roster, backstage action, weapons and props, audience participation and spectacle. One of the huge challenges of the franchise is finding ways for players to feel in control of the vast number of potential outcomes in a given match. While we take lessons from fighting games, action RPG’s and other genres, this aspect helps us stay focused on delivering a through-and-through wrestling game. While we’re determined to deliver the spectacle and specific moments of a genuine match, I can say we’re trying to get away from UI popups or mini-games to represent things like pins or reversals, and instead move those concepts into more fully-realized mechanics which feel like extensions of the main experience.”
In regards to his own philosophy, he says he is very inspired by making the player feel as though they are the superstar in the ring and really creating an authentic experience for them.
“I personally put a huge value on authenticity—making the stakes of a match feel real, visceral, impactful. Early on, I spent a ton of time with the creative director, and we went through a bunch of shows, PPV’s and such. I responded to a lot of it, and really wanted to synthesize into a unifying theme. Then, one day, I walked past his desk and he was watching some behind the scenes material that really focused on Bautista. I stopped in my tracks, and we spend the next hour or so scrubbing through material. I think the vision really emerged from those conversations—what’s it like to actually BE on the roster, to be a part of this spectacular entertainment? To describe this in terms of a "vision" I would say our goal is to focus a lot more on the superstar experience,” he stated.
In 2020, WWE will be releasing a video game called 2K Battlegrounds. Learn more about this arcade-style video game at this link.