What was otherwise a run-of-the-mill trailer showing off WWE 2K16's character creation toolkit dissolved into a mini media-scandal this afternoon when one of the wrestlers it featured resembled the alter-ego of a well known games writer.
"Dr. Tracksuit" — who appears at 1:24 of the above video — is the persona of Giant Bomb's Jeff Gerstmann when he wrestles in the annual "PAX Wrestling" events using WrestleMania 2000 on Nintendo 64 (full disclosure: Polygon writer Samit Sarkar has participated in this event.) This morning, 2K Sports put out a trailer touting the game's creation suite (above), and late in the clip a wrestler looking very much like Dr. Tracksuit was shown making his entrance.
Here is Gerstmann as Dr. Tracksuit, cutting a promo for the 2014 "PAX Rumble":
And here's a GIF of the clip in question.
Giant Bomb's Alex Navarro was the first to notice the similarities.
So this is definitely @TracksuitMD in the new WWE 2K16 trailer, right? I’m not just projecting here? pic.twitter.com/Kufhv9tjfw— Wendigo Wild Wings (@alex_navarro) October 14, 2015
Shortly after, Gerstmann hit Twitter to register his displeasure.
Kind of not OK with someone using something similar to my likeness to promote a franchise that has been so terrible for so long.— Jeff Gerstmann (@jeffgerstmann) October 14, 2015
In wrestling parlance, this foofaraw appears to be a "shoot" (i.e. legit) and not a "work" (scripted for storyline purposes).
After Gerstmann complained on social media, 2K Sports re-rolled a trailer to games media with the questionable footage stripped out. Polygon reached out to a 2K Sports representative for an explanation of what happened; he declined further comment.
Clearly, this has all the makings of the next great feud in professional wrestling.
The kerfuffle diverts attention away from the return of some key creation tools that had gone missing last year, disappointing many longtime fans. Most notably, Create-a-Diva returns (the only female wrestlers in WWE 2K15 were ones supplied by the game itself). Custom arenas, superstar entrances and championship belts also feature in the toolkit, and "for the first time" there's something called "Create-a-Show," though it's not entirely clear how different that is from the old matchmaking/storyline tools in prior editions.
Anyway, WWE 2K16 launches Oct. 27 on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.