Don’t Blow It 2K: WWE Franchise

Posted: December 11, 2013 in Gaming
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The WWE is the pinnacle of sports entertainment. 2K, while not exactly at EA’s level of sports market share, has a very positive backing from fans of their basketball and baseball titles. The combination of the two sounds like a simple enough cash cow; however, it is just as easily a chance for 2K to show its laziness. If their next WWE title is a blind continuation of the formula, I fear 2K may be vilified by gamers of the WWE Universe. To avoid such a catastrophe, there are a few simple additions that could really make WWE 2K15 and beyond the best in the world (yeah, there’s probably going to be more of those).

One of the more obvious defects in the WWE games, when compared to other sports titles—yes, I’m comparing them to sports titles, deal with it—are the graphics. The long jackets that stick to the legs of competitors instead of flowing, the fact that if you choose black for anything it looks almost painted on, the faces, and that God forsaken hair. Seriously, look up a youtube video for WWE 2K14 and look at anyone with long hair. It’s almost painful to watch. Not to say that they are graphically perfect, but both MLB 2K13 and NBA 2K14 are leaps and bounds ahead of the WWE franchise. I think it’s time for a much needed update. I may not know everything about the technical side of game development, but I do know it takes time to develop graphics engines, especially for a particular title. As an interim engine, take an in-house engine until proper R&D can be done. I’ve seen the way the jerseys sway on players in NBA 2K, and I can clearly see the dirt on players after sliding into a base on MLB 2K. There is no reason that type of graphical ability should not be included in ALL of 2K’s sports titles, so let’s make this happen.

WWE movies are terrible. Yes, I said it. It needed to be said. It’s true, it’s damn true. How about taking the time John Cena spends reading and learning lines for whatever the hell the WWE considers cinema magic and have him record a couple intros for when he talks to the camera coming down to the ring? The sound in WWE 2K14 is much better compared to previous years, but a sprinkle of it just makes me realize how much more is missing. Not once do I remember hearing Punk yell, “Best in the world!” or Ryback screaming, “Feed me more!” 2K, you had a great idea, now you have to really get into it. Speaking of voices, can we cut the shit with this ABYSMAL announcing? Seriously, I know Madden is not a 2K title, but head over to EA and steal whatever coding they use for their announcers. Hell, take the coding from NBA 2K13. The announce team would note what place in the standings teams are in, league leaders in stats, say EVERY players name (including created players if they had a combination of pre-existing names), and rarely repeat lines during the course of a single game. I’m not a huge Michael Cole fan, but he definitely knows more than 10 phrases. He’s a fairly intelligent dude who I’m sure would love to have his gaming counterpart emulate him a bit better. Let’s get on that.

I can say this, one of my favorite parts of WWE 2K14 is how the Universe mode make the rivalries come alive like they do on TV. Wait, it doesn’t, you say? It’s actually completely flat and seems like a random combination of non-fitting in-ring cutscenes? There is no backstage banter, no mind games, no energy, no heart at all to speak of? Well imagine that. I do, non-sarcastically, remember playing NBA 2K13 and getting to sit with the owner and tell him who I think should stay or go. I remember Nick Young of the 76ers become the starting shooting guard because of my recommendation. I remember doing interviews after every game, having media and fans tweeting about me on Twitter, and EVERYONE had a voice. There was a lot of love and dedication that went into making me feel like a real NBA superstar, and I think that same dedication needs to be put into making players feel like real WWE superstars. Again, will it be easy? NO!! NO!! NO!! But will it make an incredible experience that 2K may not have to put out every single goddamn year? YES!! YES!! YES!! Let’s get to it.

The WWE keeps people under contract in some way shape or form forever. It’s time to pull some of those puppet strings, get these people to come together and really have some input on the game. No I don’t expect to hear Kurt Angle or the Hardy Boyz, but everyone currently on the roster better have lines. And that’s another thing: I do enjoy the inclusion of SOME past superstars (i.e. Bret Hart, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash), but let’s stop wasting slots on people I don’t see on Raw and Smackdown. There is no reason, injury or not the #workhorse, Tyson Kidd, was not in the damn game. The Usos were just at Survivor Series and they’re not in the game, nor is Tamina Snuka, who is the right hand woman of the current Divas Champion. The Wyatt Family, former Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel, and one half of the WWE Tag Team Champions Goldust are all AWOL, but you mean to tell me Great Khali has been in every WWE game since he hit the scene!?!?

Cut it out with three to four different iterations of a character. Pick up a copy of Dragon Ball Z: Raging Blast 2 and see how they handled that. There is no reason I have three (or four if you got the collector’s edition) Undertakers in my game. Enough is enough and it’s time for a change (RIP to the King of Harts). If all sports titles get roster updates—CURRENT roster updates—then why doesn’t WWE? If a team needs to be set in place to stick with the game all year round, make it sound. Trust and believe the WWE Universe has the install base to make it monetarily worth it, and if the games themselves improve, fringe fans will buy the games just because of the high quality—trust me, I’ve seen it happen.

Long story short, make this franchise your own 2K. Make it greater than what it was, we know you can. There is too big an opportunity here to take advantage of a license that you don’t have to fight for. You can top Wrestlemania 2000 and No Mercy, you can make this next WWE title the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be. Don’t let us down.

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