2K Sports recently revealed the first details of WWE 2K20 (2019), the upcoming annual installment of the popular pro wrestling video game franchise.
Based on information provided, the newest entry looks pretty underwhelming; the biggest features boasted in Monday’s reveal included the return of the WWE Universe and Showcase Mode, along with the uninspired Towers Mode from last year’s title, the ability to play as female superstars in MYCAREER Mode as well as men, and the addition of mixed tag team matches – a feature that has been inexplicably missing for many years.
So essentially, the reveal told us that we can look forward to a roster update in a game with all the same modes as last year, with no mention of new modes or any gameplay improvements…
But that’s not to say that WWE 2K20 isn’t worth your attention! With over two months until release, there’s plenty of time for surprise reveals and juicy details to come out. So while we’re living in hope, here are our suggestions of five things we want to see in WWE 2K20 (or at least in WWE 2K21 and beyond) that could push the series into its own Golden Era and pull it out of the Age of Orton slump it’s currently experiencing.
1. General Manager Mode
General Manager (GM) Mode was a feature included in Smackdown vs Raw 2006 (2005) which placed players at the helm of either of WWE’s weekly shows and allowed them to manage the roster, rivalries, finances, event promotion and a bevy of other elements integral to running a successful wrestling show in order to trounce the opposing brand in a ratings war. The mode was present in the next two entries in the long-running series before being removed, leading to long-time fans spending the next decade crying out for its return.
It’s especially ludicrous that this mode is still not included in the series when you consider that many other sports franchises under the 2K banner do include a managerial mode, yet here, where a large portion of the fan base revels in fantasy booking every show, rivalry and storyline, GM Mode remains absent.
The long-lingering story goes that the expulsion of GM Mode is a decision from WWE rather than the game’s publishers or developers, which is also bonkers when you consider how often WWE brags about listening to its fans, while refusing to include the most requested feature from its loyal audience. Surely there’s a way to include this mode – if there’s an element of it that WWE doesn’t like, then the game’s creators can find out what it is and work around it.
For example, if WWE doesn’t like the idea of shows taking ratings away from each other, perhaps the premise can be changed altogether. Perhaps a new weekly wrestling show is added to the WWE Network, one with the player at the helm managing a small roster of custom Superstars trying to build the show up to the prestige/viewership/social media presence of NXT and 205 Live before getting a network deal and doing the same with Raw and SmackDown Live.
The player could either portray a Babyface GM who collaborates with the leaders of other shows, swapping talent, putting on joint events, etc. or as a heel GM who carries out invasions and spreads rumours and discord to try to draw top talent onto their own brand but risks inviting the wrath of other shows in the process. This sort of GM Mode would add countless hours of value and fun to the franchise.
2. Branching Storylines
Sports entertainment is a medium rooted in story-telling, so it’s no surprise story modes (in one form or another) have been an integral part of most WWE titles over the last twenty years. That is, until the WWE 2K15 (2014) when the focus moved onto the soul-sucking grind known as MYCAREER Mode. While little was done to significantly improve MYCAREER Mode in the entries to follow, WWE 2K19 took a huge step in the right direction by re-introducing a worthwhile storyline into the mix.
This year’s entry needs to build on that by allowing player choices and match results to have real consequences on career paths, adding intrigue and replayability. Branching storylines are nothing new, the still revered WWE No Mercy (2000) used this to great effect (don’t worry, this will be our only No Mercy reference), and the WWE 2K series could be greatly improved by following this example.
3. Improved Online Play
This franchise has never had the most stellar history when it comes to online play – regular freezing and glitches have made it a frustrating experience in the past, but with each entry has come steady improvement. However, there are still heaps of potential additions to online play and options.
For example, the ability to form factions with friends or other online players that gain points for wins and acts that coincide with your factions heel/face alignment, and the ability to develop rivalries with other factions and perhaps set up an event where members face-off to settle the score between the two. Or have regular updates where, after each weekly show or pay-per-view, the match cards are created as closely as possible, then players will have a week where they can play through the matches, with special objectives allowing them to re-create, or re-write history.
There are lots of opportunities to foster and nurture a strong online community, but they require commitment and resources to keep them going strong following the game’s release.
4. Create a Story
Another feature that was present in past titles then suddenly removed, Create a Story armed players with a selection of scenarios and a text editor then let their imaginations run wild, before giving the option to upload the story online or download stories created by other players.
The result was a mix of the good, the bad and the downright insane, and if you were willing to persevere, you could find some truly hilarious, imaginative and entertaining offerings. There’s no sign of this creation suite returning any time soon, but its inclusion in future titles would be very welcome.
5. More Match Types
This is another thing that is requested every year and is continually ignored. There are so many match types absent from the games that fans would love to be able to play that are important parts of WWE history, or even commonly still seen today: Ambulance matches, I Quit matches, Buried Alive, War Games – the list goes on.
Again, it’s said that several of these matches are not included due to WWE’s influence, but honestly, if they were willing to include zombie/monster versions of Superstars and the empty, wasted opportunity of the Wyatt Family Compound in last year’s title, then they can allow some of the more extravagant matches that fans actually want.
On a similar note, it would be great if they returned Hell in a Cell matches to the fun, chaotic matches they were in years past, rather than the irritatingly limiting version seen in more recent titles.
That’s our list, but let us know in the comments whether there are any changes you’d like to see in WWE 2K20 and beyond.