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WWE 2K19’s trailer has me wondering what’s a work and what’s a shoot

Bray Wyatt mind-effs your rising superstar

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

WWE 2K19’s career mode will more resemble the career mode of its NBA 2K sibling, in that players will start out with a long preamble chapter telling the story of their wrestler’s rise before embarking on a more open-ended performance schedule.

The latest trailer from 2K Sports does a great job of setting expectations for this improved career approach, which includes fully voiced characters and meaningful drop-ins from WWE names. Players begin as a indie rassler performing in armories and living in a van down by the river. They then move up through higher level promotions, which everyone knows is not a meritocracy.

The ambiguity of what a rising star needs to do to be put over is fertile storytelling ground for conflict and resolution. Those trippy-ass sequences with Bray Wyatt and whatever that Scarecrow fear gas is also has me wondering what part of this is a work and what’s a shoot — which is the kind of guessing game pro-wrestling writers always want to give the audience.

WWE 2K18 launched with similar promises for its career mode, but reviews mostly tagged it as a disappointment. The treatment shown here teases a much more proper narrative, as opposed to some dialogue choices and RPG elements.

At any rate, this looks like the 2K-iest WWE game since the label took over the license in 2014 — and I say that meaning it’s a good thing. NBA 2K’s MyCareer has its share of criticisms, but the depth of experience it offers is unlike any other sports video game’s career mode.

WWE 2K19 launches Oct. 9 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. A deluxe edition goes out four days earlier.

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