We are just 3 weeks away from the release of WWE 2K19 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC – and I can’t help but feel a little empty inside. I have been the proud owner of every WWE game that has been released since WWE Smackdown! vs RAW in 2004, and I have never felt so indifferent about an upcoming WWE game’s release. I’m here to analyze a few reasons as to why that is, and if we can expect any changes in the foreseeable future for the 2K franchise.
Lack of Innovation
The WWE games have gone through its fair amount of changes over the decades. We’ve seen changes in controls, graphics, gameplay, accessibility and more – and when you’re continuing to make games over the course of decades with constantly improving hardware in the gaming industry, that’s pretty par for the course.
Granted, not every installment in the series was revolutionary over its predecessor, but typically they provided enough changes to warrant the sequel’s existence. At least, that’s how things used to be before 2K took the helm of WWE’s game development. Ever since 2K took over in 2013, every installment of their games have felt more-or-less the same in many aspects, and haven’t done much to improve their already existing formulas.
The only match inclusions that have taken place under 2K’s leadership have been the multi-man tag team matches, and that is pretty pathetic when you think about just how many match types there are in professional wrestling. Granted, they brought back fighting backstage and in the crowd, however, those good points are neutralized when talking about how many match types and popular features 2K stripped from their games.
Also taking into account that we’re going to see a game mode in 2K19 that has already been done in WWE 2K games prior, and you have a lot of bad tastes in the mouths of diehard fans who are wanting to see something fresh, or at least what made the games fun in the first place.
MyCareer Being Kept Under Wraps
One of the biggest complaints of last year’s WWE 2K18 was the MyCareer mode that had been ‘upgraded’ since 2K17. However, MyCareer proved to be the worst iteration of the game mode yet, being filled with glitches that broke the game and forced players to throw away days worth of gameplay and restart – as well as just being boring and repetitive like its predecessor.
Considering this was one of the biggest complaints of last year’s game, you would think we would hear at least an inkling about the mode for this year’s game right? The answer may surprise you (or not dependent upon how much faith you still have in 2K). You see, upon my research for writing this article, I could barely find a mention of the MyCareer for 2K19. The mode has effectively taken a backseat to AJ Styles’ Million Dollar Challenge, the new additions to the roster, and Daniel Bryan’s Showcase Mode and that worries my greatly.
If this mode truly improved upon its predecessor, wouldn’t you want to ease the minds of your fanbase that hated the mode last year that it would be better? The only reason you wouldn’t put this mode at the forefront is if it were to suffer the same fate as the year before, and it seems like the latter is the direction we are headed.
AJ Styles’ Million Dollar Challenge
One of the modes we touched on earlier was the AJ Styles’ Million Dollar Challenge mode that has been predominantly featured by 2K in efforts to bring more casual players into the game as well as to create more incentive for people to get better at the game via playing it more. This is incredibly worrisome to me, because they are creating a game mode specifically designed to take away from the core game.
This isn’t a game mode centered toward wrestling fans, this is a game mode centered toward competitive video game players who think they are good enough to test their skills against the world and win a million dollars. As a marketing specialist, the only reason you would put this at the forefront of your video game’s marketing is that you know your game is going to be garbage to your own fanbase, so you are going to try your hardest to get new fans, ones who don’t complain if you don’t include superstars that are worthy of being in the game or don’t create an immersive WWE experience.
These gamers only want to practice for the potential monetary prize at the end, and won’t care what kind of state the game is in when they play it, which exemplifies the attitudes of those at 2K and what they really think about the WWE Universe and the quality of their WWE games.
Relying On Cheap Gimmicks
So…when exactly did having a bobblehead mode in your game become a selling point? If that is the state that these WWE games are currently in, we are in serious trouble. I don’t have a problem with having a bobblehead mode in the game where the wrestlers have huge heads and look goofy, in fact, i was a fan of those kinds of modes in the classic NHL and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games. I think they’re fun. But when you feature this mode in your trailer, according to marketing terms, you are saying that this mode is a feature that will sell your game.
How do you make a game that has so little going on in it that a bobblehead mode in your game becomes a selling point? It doesn’t stop here either, as in one of the more recent trailers for the game, we saw a zombified Triple H wielding a sledgehammer in a street in the game’s engine. If these cheap gimmicks are what 2K are focusing on rather than implementing more match types, adding more talents instead of using up character slots on alternate attires, improving MyCareer and Universe, and debugging their game – they don’t have their priorities in order at all and in my mind, won’t be able to effectively deliver a quality WWE video game.
Those are my biggest concerns for WWE 2K19, and im still very on the fence about getting it. What are your thoughts on the upcoming WWE 2K19? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe to The Bandicoot Banter!