Although “WWE 2K15” was a graphical beast the likes of Brock Lesnar, it was more a cruiserweight in terms of additional modes, creating a fervor among its most ardent fans. As a result, “WWE 2K15” was not the game many gamers expected it to be. That made this Spring and Summer a longer one at 2K, but according to the developers, it’s always been that way. Forcing themselves to look at the game critically and from a bunch of different angles, they believe puts them in the best situation to make everyone happy- and make a better game.
“Every year, we begin by looking at last year’s game and usually there’s long list of things that we wanted to do but couldn’t get done so we immediately begin to look at those,” said 2K Sports and Visual Concepts’ Mark Little. “Then we start to look at consumer feedback to see what people are really excited about, what they think we can improve on and what they really didn’t like. That’s how we really get started, by getting all of that information together and then asking ourselves what we want this game to be like.”
WWE fans, however, knew what they wanted. They wanted all of the modes they loved on the XBox 360 and PlayStation 3. Modes that weren’t available in the franchise’s debut on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. They are a meticulous bunch- those wrestling game fans. They know the ins and outs of every superstar and thanks to the internet, they know even the small things, like their favorite star’s old finishers in other promotions and what inspired their ring gear. For “WWE 2K16,” Little said he and his team wanted to harness that love of the sport and attempt to bring all the small nuances to the game that hardcore fans love.
“It’s just as important for us as it is for the consumers for this to be as authentic as possible,” Little told Examiner. “There’s limitations on the game side that we have to deal with, but we always want to get those details right because that’s what eventually sells you on that experience.”
For Little and his team, it’s all about creating a memorable experience- one that stacks up or precedes the plethora of other WWE games released over the last quarter of a century.
“We want people to talk about this game in a way where they’re really seeing how we took this product to fruition,” Little said. “We’ve taken the game in a really different place in terms of gameplay and we want them to feel like this was the place where they understood what we were doing and got behind us.”
That process is one that has to start now. They know the extra modes and features mean just as much as the gameplay and visuals. Working closely with the WWE again this year, 2K wants to hit that sweet spot and create a game that plays as good as it looks.
For “WWE 2K16” to be the game fans deserve, attention to detail is a must. Getting help from WWE Superstars in the past, 2K Sports took their relationship to the next level this year by incorporating even more video from classic matches for this year’s Showcase mode and by working closely with NXT Champion Finn Balor and other WWE stars, to make sure all of the moves performed in the game were “right.”
According to Little, Balor’s help was pivotal in the motion-capture studio, but the other insight they received from him and other stars added a level of depth to the gameplay needed to make the game stand out more than ever before.
“He’s an amazing new talent in the WWE,” Little told Examiner in an exclusive interview. “Finn has a lot of interesting moves and a great entrance. Having him do all those moves and stuff makes the game look great. But away from that, we spent a lot of time talking to the wrestlers, asking them why they perform the moves they do and when and why. There’s a lot of knowledge sharing. We want to learn how they progress through a match.”
With updates to the gameplay 2K Sports knew the game would play better, but then had the task of beefing up the modes they didn’t or couldn’t for the game’s PlayStation 4 and Xbox One debut last year. Although there hasn’t been much talk in terms of new modes, the MyCareer will be deeper. While “WWE 2K15” earned praise from critics in terms of gameplay and visuals last year on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, critics and consumers were disappointed in the game’s MYCareer mode especially, which lacked the creative depth and flexibility of 2K Sports’ NBA franchise. Although details are still scarce on that move too, Little was able to tell us that those who were disappointed last year will have plenty of new ways to get themselves emotionally involved in the mode this year.
“It been expanded and is a much deeper experience,” Little told Examiner. “You start in NXT and your goal is to end up in the WWE Hall of Fame, so it’s a much longer experience. There’s much more room to inject your personality and how you’d react in certain situations. How you have rivalries has been changed and there will also be post-match interviews where you can let more of your personality out.”
With new features, updated visuals, and a host of other gameplay improvements, Little and 2K Sports are confident that “WWE 2K16” will be the game many people were expecting last year.
“If you play the game, you’ll see,” Little said. “It plays well, it looks great, the presentation keeps getting better every year; that’s the key for us.”
WWE 2K16 is currently scheduled for release on PS4, PS3, Xbox One and Xbox 360 on October 27, 2015 in North America and October 30, 2015 internationally.
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