Understandably, the hype surrounding WWE 2K22’s features and content isn’t as high as it could be. With little information around features, roster or game modes, fans don’t have much to sink their teeth into and are still left with a bad taste in their mouth from 2K20’s disastrous launch and lack of post-release support.
Currently developed solely by Visual Concepts under the 2K developer, the franchise had been heading in the right direction for a number of years before 2K20 dismantled all that hard work and goodwill. It would come to light that the game was rushed out the door half baked with long time developer Yukes being ousted unceremoniously late into development, a move which was due to happen anyway but apparently couldn’t wait until release. Let me take you through five features WWE 2K22 should change with its gameplay, additional game modes or something else.
1. GM Mode
Any long time WWE game fan will agree that the hugely popular GM Mode needs to make a return sooner rather than later. What better time to bring back a hugely popular game mode than when you’re looking to build up some goodwill? The mode would allow you to draft superstars to either Raw or Smackdown and run the weekly shows and pay-per-view events to earn the highest rating possible from fans. Universe Mode was added to be a replacement for GM Mode but has never managed to draw the same reaction. If WWE 2K22 does feature GM Mode, it is a license to print money.
WWE’s rivals AEW have already announced a GM Mode specific game exclusive to mobile devices which is no doubt recognising fans longing for the game mode to return. It could well be that the mode returns and simply isn’t as good as people remember and falls short of expectations. Although the nostalgia factor alone would help raise interest in the game massively.
2. Old School Unlockables
There was something incredibly rewarding about starting a new instalment of Smackdown Vs Raw to see that there were some unlockable characters in-game. These generally had to either be earned through actions or paid for with points. Once DLC became a bigger part of gaming, these unlockable characters were instead hidden behind paywalls rather than being earned for actually playing the game. The current games do include unlockable characters, belts and arenas but they’re low-cost and payable with a purchasable currency, VC. This takes away the challenge and reward of actually unlocking them.
Bringing back the classic style of unlockable characters, championship belts and arenas would be a great nod to the past. It would also be a great commitment from Visual Concepts to ensure content has be earned and not paid for. Ditch the overly expensive deluxe edition and rely less on virtual currency. Again, in a year when all of WWE 2K22’s features need to be about making good with the fans, this is a positive step that would earn a lot of trust and respect.
3. Revamped MyCareer Mode
Visual Concepts as an in-house 2K developer should be taking notes from the incredible NBA 2K MyCareer modes. A fantastic intro story to build the background of your character that eventually blends into a rinse and repeat yearly calendar with occasional story points through to retirement. The NBA 2K formula is so effective that even players who don’t particularly care for basketball boot up MyCareer and have a blast. WWE 2K22 should feature a more grounded but still fun and action-packed MyCareer story that players will remember for the right reasons.
2K20’s MyCareer was in shambles with two characters to look after. There were unnecessarily over-the-top skill/trait upgrading and a story told out of order. It’s where the game was most exposed for its rushed and buggy nature. Simplify things back down to just one created character with a universal backstory. Then add unique story paths depending on whether you pick a male or female superstar. Visual Concepts don’t need to try and be at the cutting edge for this WWE 2K22 feature. They just have to learn from what works for other successful franchises.
4. An Engaging Online Mode
In modern-day gaming, Ultimate Team modes are all the rage with most sports games. They all have their own version of a collectable card game to increase replayability and retention of players. WWE 2K22 could feature something similar through the integration of the Supercard app they already have in place. The app is always heavily advertised during broadcasts and features prominently in the app store and on Google Play store.
Better yet, a comprehensive online ranked mode that would allow players to play matches over a certain period of time. This could then have the best players meet on monthly ‘PPV’ events streamed live on Twitch. Now that the concept of broadcasting game tournaments isn’t so alien, it could absolutely work. It would also propel WWE into the eSports space, which is hugely popular for a number of different competitive games.
5. A Beta Period
Okay, so this isn’t so much a feature as a request. With the risks that were taken for 2K20, have either an open or closed beta period to allow fans to test out the game in certain conditions to see how stable the builds are. Just one or two weekends in the lead up to release to ensure that the product being put out works for fans.
QA testing only gets you so far and it can only catch so many issues. Fresh eyes, especially those of passionate fans, are bound to help guide the later months of development. This can ensure the final product is exactly where it needs to be. Many people just cannot afford to drop in excess of £50/€50/$60 when they were burned by that last game. They may not even have that kind of money lying around post-pandemic.
What would you like to see out of WWE 2K22 and its features? Do you agree with my points? If not, drop a comment and let me know what you want to see. Regardless of how things go, there are many eyes locked on this game from now through to its release. Let’s hope it delivers, for our and their sake.