With WWE coming to the next-generation of consoles for the first time this year, it's safe to say that there's a wave of anticipation in the air to see just what changes will be made. While what I was shown today at E3 is only a tease of what will come later down the line, as a long-time pro-wrestling game fan I can say this: I'm incredibly intrigued and excited to see what 2K will deliver on the Xbox One and PS4 in 2014. The small insights I was shown seem to suggest that it will be far and above anything the franchise has delivered before.
Until we know more, here's everything you need to know about this year's game.
- Five characters have been announced for the game: Bray Wyatt, John Cena, Cesaro, Roman Reigns and Classic Hulk Hogan. 2K has promised that the roster will be among the best a WWE video game has offered yet.
- The focus this year is on next-gen: the way it looks, the way it plays, and the way it sounds.
- Yuke’s and Visual Concepts are working together properly for the first time after 2K picked up the license mid-way through the last game's development cycle.
- One of the main goals is to create the most realistic superstars ever. Current gen will also be updated and there's an obvious step up from 14 to this year's game. Textures are better - even small things like the material on clothes has improved - and Daniel Bryan's beard in particular has had a pleasing upgrade...
- Next-gen, on the other hand, is a different beast entirely. While only shown a John Cena character model, it looks incredible. A small tech demo of Cena's face pulling some expressions almost looks real. You can even see the dimples on his face. 2K has also confirmed that the game's lighting will be reworked.
- Core gameplay has evolved too, the aim being to try and move away from the idea that the franchise is 'a fighting game with WWE Superstars in it' to a 'wrestling game'.
- It will have 5x more animations vs any other year to make transitions smoother and to ensure the game plays better - the idle states from before will be eliminated.
- The ultimate goal is to replicate what you see on WWE TV. While there has been a tendency to aim for a hardcore simulation experience, 2K is aware that not every WWE match plays out in such a fashion. To try and achieve this blend of matches, the development team is using a mo-cap studio with an actual WWE ring. An individual is flown out from WWE to set up the 'squared circled' as they would at an actual show and talent are being used so everything is as close to the in-ring product as possible.
- All sound effects have been re-recorded for WWE 2K15. For example, if a guy gets backdropped in the game, the backdrop sound has been captured in the aforementioned ring.
- Commentary has been changed with Michael Cole and Jerry 'The King' Lawyer on announcing duties. Their dialogue was recorded at the same time so it sounds more like they're calling a match instead of canned lines. 30-35 hours of voice have been recorded for each of them with 5x as many lines as there have ever been in a WWE game.
- WWE 2K15 is out 21 October in North America and 23 October in Europe.