Yuke’s, the studio developer behind the WWE 2K series, has established a new development team tasked with creating a rival wrestling IP to create “internal competition” for future WWE projects.
Hiromi Furuta, the senior vice president and producer of Yuke’s, hopes that the change will reinvigorate staff in an interview with Video Games Chronicle. In the past few years, recent WWE 2K releases have been met with mixed reviews, citing the lack of quality and repetitive gameplay. The latest release, WWE 2K19, received more positive reviews for its MyCareer story and expansive creation suite.
Furuta, however, is frustrated with the games being unable to achieve more and the lack of competitive developers like the AKI Corporation (now Syn Sophia). The latter, responsible for the successful WWF No Mercy and Virtual Pro Wrestling titles, left the fighting genre altogether in 2009.
“I think having no competitor isn’t healthy at all,” Furuta told VGC. “When we had competitors in the wrestling space, we were determined not to lose and that was a great motivator for creating something great. But right now, looking at the market demands, players are expecting something new every time we release a game and we feel like we haven’t achieved what we’ve really wanted to do. For example, in many cases we’re still using old assets and we’re not able to do some things in the way that we want to.”
Furuta hopes that the new project will restore the passion and confidence that was lost in some of the creators involved, allowing them to explore their creativity. It is currently in a “very early” stage in development, with the direction either leaning towards a more realistic experience or incorporating fantasy elements.
The producer also confirmed to VGC that Yuke’s relationship with 2K Sports and the WWE 2K series will continue.
“It is a project dear to our hearts and has even become a part of some of the veteran creators’ lives,” she said. “We have a huge history making these games and still have a good relationship with 2K. Anyhow, WWE would never allow us to stop making these games! However, the new project we have in mind will be the internal competition for WWE.”
More wrestling games like the days of WCW/nWo Revenge, WWE SmackDown: Here Comes The Pain, and New Japan’s Wrestle Kingdom is the competition needed for fans everywhere. We should all look forward to what comes ahead in the future.