The past couple of months have been a strange mix of both sheer excitement and disappointment for the WWE 2K franchise and crowd alike.
There are no plans to release another mainline installment for starters, meaning that the player-base can forget about WWE 2K21 for the immediate future. In the wake of WWE 2K20, marked as one of the most broken games from last year, developer Visual Concepts will be reevaluating how to not repeat the same mistakes and use the extra time to make WWE 2K21 into a redemption project.
Hence, excitement in knowing that Visual Concepts will be treating the next installment differently and disappointment in knowing that there will probably be a couple of years before the next installment finally releases.
During a recent Reddit AMA session, executive producer Patrick Gilmore was asked if players can expect any updates or patches for WWE 2K19 and 2K20 while WWE 2K21 remains in development. The answer was a “no” which was probably not what players wanted to hear.
Gilmore explained that making improvements to older installments right now will be a waste since those improvements will not carry forward to WWE 2K21. It would be counterproductive to spend resources on making significant changes when the same resources can be better spent on the next project.
My best answer to new patches for 2K20 is, “Probably not.” I know that’s disappointing news to many of you, so I hope you’ll let me elaborate.
I joined the team four months after the launch of 2K20. At the five-month mark, the team had delivered six major patches (seven if you count the Day 1 patch), and four installments of downloadable content. We reached a point where the biggest issues we were seeing had to do with memory overruns with custom characters and arenas. Fixing these issues would require us to change file formats, branching our code in such a way that improvements to 2K20 wouldn’t carry forward into the next game (and could potentially invalidate existing community creations). We were also facing the reality that maintaining older code was preventing us from making bigger, more comprehensive changes that were required to set a new direction. Finally, given we had made the decision to skip a year before the next release, we had used almost half of the additional time we had to make the next project great.
Granted that players are in their rights to see WWE 2K20 get fixed while they wait for the next installment, but what Gilmore states does make sense. Working on WWE 2K20 will only end up delaying the release of WWE 2K21. The best thing right now for both the franchise and players would be to focus on the road ahead.
Elsewhere, while everyone waits for the new mainline entry, WWE 2K Battlegrounds will be a non-simulation wrestling experience coming forth later in 2020. WWE 2K Battlegrounds will feature “arcade-style action and over-the-top Superstar designs, environments and moves” while still making room for “plenty of depth” for those interested. The game is being developed by Saber Interactive, the same developer behind NBA 2K Playgrounds, and scheduled to release in fall.