WWE 2K22 to Have a “Significant Evolution” Over Previous Installments, Looking to No Mercy and Smackdown! Here Comes The Pain for Inspiration

Executive producer of 2K Game’s WWE franchise Patrick Gilmore recently promised a “renewed focus” on quality for the next installment of the series, presumably 2K22.

Gilmore hosted the AMA (Ask Me Anything) on the subreddit r/WWEGames, where he answered questions and talked about the future of the WWE 2K franchise. As we previously reported, the next installment WWE 2K21 had been canceled after the poor performance of WWE 2K20.

WWE 2K20 was host to an unseemly amount of bugs and glitches that warranted a refund for some PlayStation 4 owners. In place of WWE 2K21, WWE 2K Battlegrounds is coming later this year- with a more cartoonish and action-packed style.

Patrick Gilmore stated that in a response, he and his team would be looking to previous titles WWE No Mercy and WWE Smackdown! Here Comes The Pain for inspiration on where to take the franchise going forward.

“Core gameplay is one of the major investments we’re making in the next installment—one of six pillars we are focused on disproportionately in development. We are looking at much-loved previous games like No Mercy or Smackdown: Here Comes the Pain, along with top franchise installments, and more modern wrestling and fighting games to build an all-new philosophical foundation for the game. People who hope that we holistically adopt the control scheme or philosophy from one of their favorite games are likely to be disappointed; we are trying to combine the best ideas out there into a brand new wrestling experience that sets a new standard.

The game play team is focused on Accessibility, Depth and Wrestling Experience. For Accessibility, we’re obsessed with a simple, intuitive interface which has meaning and depth in a wide variety of contexts—i.e. the game is a lot smarter about what the player is trying to do given a gameplay situation (in a grapple, on the ropes, against a turnbuckle, etc.), with consistent inputs regardless of situation. New players should be able to accidentally pull off awesome moves just by playing with and experimenting with controls.

For Depth, we’re looking a lot at ring position, deeper combos and “working” moves, limb damage, technical capabilities, match momentum and unlocks, and rock-paper-scissors (RPS) strategies by archetype and player style. Depth doesn’t come from the manual skill of pressing the proper buttons but from the psychological game of anticipating and countering your opponent’s strategy, and this needs to be built in from the very foundation, so expect a significant evolution in gameplay with the next installment.

The last aspect of great gameplay is capturing the essence of professional wrestling, which has dimensions of drama, changing context, massive roster, backstage action, weapons and props, audience participation and spectacle. One of the huge challenges of the franchise is finding ways for players to feel in control of the vast number of potential outcomes in a given match. While we take lessons from fighting games, action RPG’s and other genres, this aspect helps us stay focused on delivering a through-and-through wrestling game. While we’re determined to deliver the spectacle and specific moments of a genuine match, I can say we’re trying to get away form UI popups or mini games to represent things like pins or reversals, and instead move those concepts into more fully-realized mechanics which feel like extensions of the main experience.”

The next installment after the canceled WWE 2K21 has yet to be announced. We will keep you informed as we learn more.

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A basement-dwelling ogre, Brandon's a fan of indie games and slice of life anime. Has too many games and not enough time.

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