WWE 2K20 was nothing short of a disaster. 2K Sports parted ways with long-time series developer Yukes, letting Visual Concepts completely take the helm. What followed, however, was one of the worst technical failures in this generation of gaming. Between horrifying glitches, rushed visuals and lackluster features, the game couldn’t measure up to previously released entries in the series.
So, obviously, the publisher needed to do something about it, because the buzz behind a potential WWE 2K21 was minimal at best. This morning, it revealed just what it’s doing — it’s skipping the sim route for this year and going with something more arcade-like. In this case, WWE 2K Battlegrounds. The debut trailer is below.
WWE All Stars Successor, Is That You?
WWE 2K Battlegrounds looks to be a spiritual follow-up to the classic THQ wrestling game WWE All-Stars, which was more arcade-based and over-the-top than the usual sim. THis looks to be in the same vein, with John Cena possibly being fed to a crocodile at some point. The character models look a bit ridiculous, but the game looks to be including both male and female wrestlers alike, including Charlotte Flair and “The Man” herself, Becky Lynch.
The game is currently in development at Saber Interactive, the team that also brought the NBA Jam-like NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 out for platforms a little while back. So it has an understanding of how arcade-style fare is supposed to work. It’s got the repertoire to back things up, but the real question is if it’s enough.
Does This Mean the End of WWE 2K Sims?
At the moment, 2K Sports has put WWE 2K on the backburner. It’s not finished, by any means, but the company is going through a refocus “to ensure the development team at Visual Concepts can create a great game that will entertain grizzled 2K veterans, as well as newcomers who want to climb through the ropes and step into the ring for the very first time.”
It has also hired Patrick Gilmore to take over as executive producer of the series, stemming from his previous work at Amazon Games, where he put his effort into the forthcoming MMO New World.
It sounds like the series might return for next year, with WWE 2K22, but it’s unknown at this point in time.
Could WWE 2K Battlegrounds Pull Off the Upset?
There’s a slight bit of doubt behind this new arcade-style game, if only because it may throw off some people that are expecting a sim for this coming year. However, this is definitely a step in the right direction, for two reasons.
First off, it looks like it’ll make wrestling games a blast to play again, especially after the disaster that was WWE 2K20. A lot of people were angry about how that one turned out, so 2K is trying to distance itself from that trainwreck (despite continuing support for it) and instead focus on a game that goes back to basics, as it were.
And the second? Well, it reminds folks of WWE All Stars. At one point in time, this prominent arcade wrestling game was a big hit for THQ, though the company lost the rights to the franchise shortly thereafter with its bankruptcy, and we haven’t heard about it since. Battlegrounds could serve as notice that 2K isn’t afraid to be experimental with its wrestling fare going forward. Granted, that doesn’t mean we’re going to see WWE Crush Hour 2 anytime soon, but at least we’ll be able to forget about WWE 2K20.
But When Can We Get a Grip On Battlegrounds?
WWE 2K Battlegrounds doesn’t have a release date or intended platforms just yet (Switch, please?), but we should hear more about it in the months ahead. Fingers crossed that it’ll be the body slam wrestling fans need. And, for that matter, 2K.