2K Games won’t publish its annual WWE 2K wrestling simulation this year, the company confirmed in a statement on Monday. But 2K will publish a licensed WWE wrestling game this fall called WWE 2K Battlegrounds, which the company described as an “arcade-style action” game with “over-the-top Superstar designs, environments and moves.”
WWE 2K Battlegrounds is being developed by Saber Interactive, the studio behind 2K’s NBA Playgrounds games, and will focus on “social pick-up-and-play fun, but with plenty of depth for those who want to get way into it,” according to 2K. Like the NBA Playgrounds games, WWE 2K Battlegrounds will feature a roster of real-world personalities, such as The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin, but with a slightly cartoonish look.
2K also addressed this year’s (and previous years’) WWE 2K wrestling sims, saying it has heard feedback regarding the quality of WWE 2K20 and has worked to improve last year’s game. 2K says it will also keep WWE 2K19’s online servers open for players
“We are applying what we’ve learned to the next WWE 2K simulation game with a renewed focus on quality and fun,” the company said. “As part of that commitment, we are extending the production timeline and will not be releasing a WWE 2K simulation game in 2020 ... We want to ensure the development team at Visual Concepts can create a great game that will entertain grizzled WWE 2K veterans, as well as newcomers who want to climb through the ropes and step into the ring for the very first time.”
Leading the renewed development effort at Visual Concepts is Patrick Gilmore, the new executive producer of the WWE 2K franchise. Gilmore is a longtime game developer whose credits include 2013’s Killer Instinct, the Medal of Honor franchise, Amazon’s New World, and Disney’s Aladdin for Sega Genesis.
The cancellation of this year’s WWE 2K game comes after a down year for the franchise. WWE 2K20 was heavily criticized for its poor technical performance, with widely shared game-breaking bugs. Developer Visual Concepts took over for former developer Yuke’s with last year’s game, after the Japanese studio left the WWE 2K series to work on its own wrestling project.
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