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.