An Ultimate Revelation for WWE 2K14

Giant Bomb's Alex Navarro steps into 2K's virtual squared circle to get its take on the WWE universe and some of its legends.

'

Growing up, the Ultimate Warrior was one of the first wrestlers I ever gravitated toward. I came in to the WWF's '80s boom a bit late, so by the time I was watching with any regularity, the Warrior had already arrived on the scene and begun ascending toward the federation's upper echelon. I loved the character for his insane, nonsensical promos, which often sounded more like the threatening ramblings of a genuine psychopath than a wrestling promo. In the ring, he was fast, absurdly powerful, and wildly unconventional. For a hyperactive 10-year-old kid, he was basically the best thing.

Flash forward 21 years, and I'm standing in a hotel conference room in New York City, watching a demonstration of WWE 2K14, the latest game in what used to be THQ's long-standing wrestling game franchise, and the first under the banner of new publisher 2K Games. Before the demo, we were told that the Warrior would be making an appearance both in the game--a first for this particular lineage of games--and in the room. The Warrior's history since that period between the '80s and early '90s is a murky and often troubled one, marked largely by spats with WWE and WCW management, as well as some controversial comments out of the ring. I didn't really know what to expect when presented with the man I briefly idolized as a kid, who was now in his early 50s and long removed from any interest in the wrestling industry. When he did finally make his way into the room to say a few scattered words thanking the developers--as well as us writers for "doing what we do"--I was confronted with both a decidedly less imposing image of a man neither as large nor as threatening as the screaming, wild-haired creature portrayed in the video game, and the still-intimidating presence of a man who may have been the most intense personality I've ever found myself sitting across from for any length of time.

If I'm harping on the Warrior aspect of 2K's first showing of WWE 2K14, that's because he was by far the most central element of the presentation. The demo we were allowed to have hands-on time with featured only a couple of match types and seven wrestlers (which also included Stone Cold Steve Austin, "Macho Man" Randy Savage, and the game's cover athlete, the Rock). Longtime series head Cory Ledesma walked us through some of the new mechanics and tweaks featured in 2K14. Among them, animations have been changed to make character movement look decidedly less robotic when walking and running; the OMG! moments--finisher-type environmental moves that debuted last year--have been expanded upon to add several more, including a few character-specific ones, such as Ryback performing the Shell Shocked on two opponents at the same time; lifting finishers have been added for a variety of different wrestlers, meaning you can now toss opponents into the air and land an Attitude Adjustment, or Rock Bottom, or Sweet Chin Music with even more fanciness; and reversals, which could often devolve into long strings of repeated grapple moves in last year's game, have been fixed to allow for better in-game pacing.

Those changes are all good ones, by the way, especially the reversals. Now when reversing a move, you have the option to go into another grapple position, as you could before, or just hit a quick move like an arm drag or Russian leg sweep. "Real" WWE matches don't tend to get bogged down with people switching positions constantly, and this new system allows for a quicker pace more befitting of the televised product. Strikes have also been sped up, making them more difficult to reverse effectively. If anything, they were maybe a bit too fast in the early build I got to play, but not unbearably so.

But while each of those changes does something to noticeably build off last year's game--which was the best in the series in quite some time--none of what was shown yesterday offered up an all-encompassing, immediately exciting talking point like WWE 13's Attitude Era tributes. Granted, 2K's team is a ways away from showing off everything the game has to offer, and many more wrestlers and modes have yet to debut. Plus, you have to consider the turmoil the developers and producers of the game went through earlier this year, as the license (and related employment) was handed between their bankrupt former publisher and their new home at 2K. For their part, both Ledesma and senior game designer Bryan Williams seemed pretty excited about where they ended up. Both remarked that really none of what was planned for 2K14 prior to the changeover had to be adjusted to changed. "I was technically 'out of work' for like a week," said Williams. "It slowed things, but once we were back on the horse, and built that momentum back up that we had before the work stoppage, it's been full-go ever since."

The WWE games have featured plenty of classic wrestlers before, but outside of an appearance in WWE All-Stars, Warrior has never been in anything modern.
That's certainly encouraging news for fans who worried the changeover might have negatively impacted the positive momentum the series has enjoyed in the last couple of installments. And in playing 2K14, it's safe to say that those who enjoyed last year's gameplay will like the changes made here. But again, the demo was scant in features, and in absence of a big, marquee feature to show, the load was put on the debut of the Warrior. The WWE games have featured plenty of classic wrestlers before, but outside of an appearance in WWE All-Stars, Warrior has never been in anything modern. So of course 2K would want to trumpet the man's arrival, even if by doing so, they left themselves in the awkward position of having video game writers try to ask questions of a man who neither cares much for video games (he very quickly noted in his brief speech that he'd never played a single one), nor seemed particularly interested in talking about wrestling. My attempt to interview him (which you can listen to here) resulted in 10 minutes of rambling, occasionally wistful, and periodically hostile answers that lived up to the man's post-'90s reputation.

It was a strange juxtaposition, playing the fully formed character in the game, then proceeding to talk to the man who embodied him, who couldn't have seemed more removed from that persona he actively referred to as a "character" and "intellectual property." Most wrestlers, even later in life, like to continue playing up their in-ring personalities and previous feuds as if they were still ongoing. By contrast, Ultimate Warrior, despite having legally changed his name to Warrior some years back, seemed to treat his wrestling years with a mixture of mild fondness and moderate exasperation. When I asked him about career highlights, he began rattling off names of guys who had treated him well during his time in the business (Andre the Giant, "Ravishing" Rick Rude, and the Undertaker, among them) and touched on a few moments like his championship win against Hulk Hogan, before just kind of trailing off. He came off like a man who pursued pro wrestling as an interesting challenge, but refused to let it be the defining element of his life.

So, you know, maybe he's not the best ambassador for sports entertainment, nor the video games based on them. Still, I enjoyed playing as Warrior in WWE 2K14, because I enjoy playing these games in general. What little we were shown of 2K14 looked like a natural extension of what WWE 13 offered, and in seeing the tasseled, neon-colored Warrior return to the ring in digital form, I definitely found myself feeling nostalgic for the days when I watched him pummel Hogan, and send Randy Savage packing in a career-ending match at Wrestlemania VII. It's a strong realization of Wrestlemania VI-era Warrior, even if his hair might seem a bit more hilariously huge than was ever accurate (or humanly possible). I made the mistake of briefly joking about that during our interview, to which Warrior replied, "Are you playing a game for the f*****g hair?" before telling me not to nitpick like an Internet commenter.

As much as these games may be about the modern WWE product, they're also effective nostalgia delivery systems, and WWE 2K14's roster is shaping up to be as good a nostalgia machine as any of the other recent sequels in the series. The representatives at 2K seemed certain that more on the game would be revealed around SummerSlam, which arrives on pay-per-view next month. I expect we'll hear more then about whatever 2K14's next story mode and other assorted features will entail.

Until then, rest comfortably in the knowledge that 2K is evidently treating the developers of WWE 2K14 well, and the work that was put into the game prior to the THQ changeover was not lost. 2K is treating this like a fully formed sequel, and not a transition year marred by inter-publisher dealings. We haven't seen much yet, but what I did see at least gives me some hope that that's the truth.

As for the Warrior? When I got up to exit my interview with him, he turned to me and very excitedly exclaimed, "Make sure you put it in your write-up that to get me, they gotta do the preorder. All right?" This, after 10 minutes of mostly evading or half-answering what questions I had. This was the thing he was energized to talk about. Though I realize this was probably the one point he was told to emphasize by 2K's media team, as I walked out of the room, all I could see in my head was Warrior, in full regalia, standing in the middle of the ring, hissing the words "Preorder me, warriors!" into a microphone. At that moment, I think a little Warrior-sized chunk of my childhood finally died. Maybe it's for the best.

'

Written By

Want the latest news about WWE 2K14?

WWE 2K14

WWE 2K14

Discussion

118 comments
garcia_jx
garcia_jx

The graphics are a joke.  Why do the wrestlers look like they are made out of plastic?

vetalfox
vetalfox

Let see:

1) Graphics looks the very same they looks for several years now

2) Features: catapult finishers - wrong thing to add in my opinion, this is not All Stars after all, new reversals - so instead of improving an AI, they replaced old reversals with new ones *sigh*, new OMG moments - not so OMG, but double chokeslam must be fun to do.

Not impressed so far, but will buy anyway, cause i still want bug fixes for WWE13, so this is my patch.

AuronAXE
AuronAXE

SvR used to be really fun, maybe 2k can bring the series back to its former glory.

Change can be a good thing if things stagnate. If EA Sports were to lose all its franchises, I'd be incredibly glad to have other developers handling things and adding fresher elements and such.

grasshopper6
grasshopper6

they might be good now that 2k is doing it 

scoobdog02
scoobdog02

These game were fun until they became WWE. When they were Smackdown Vs. Raw, they were fun.

LilRoss2k3
LilRoss2k3

i was a big 2k fan...til i tried NBA 2k13 on ps3...played a FULL mycareer season...and encountered a game breaking glitch on the championship winning game of the nba finals...i've played the game 3 times and it freezes every time...i cannot complete the season and win the championship...it's sickening knowing i wasted my money and they do not care.  i emailed them and got some generic response about "we're looking into it"...like HELL you are...2k14 is due out and you think i actually believe you care about 2k13 anymore?  this was like 2 months ago by the way.

nardhardy
nardhardy

omg guys finally!! have u noticed when the opponent is down there arms finally arent to their side (same animations from thq for the past few years i hope theres alot more new animations this time around or just different variations in general) the downed animations were growin a bit stale in my opinion lol

k_h_a_n
k_h_a_n

A hope for a pc version arised when 2K took over but.......why I am wasting my words here, 2K you don't want pc gamers to play your game then take your f**** game and go to hell!

Tribesmaster
Tribesmaster

As awesome as WWE13 was, the online cheaters/glitchers can really drag down the online play. Still a great game though, and hopefully they fix things like that in the near future.

KaSeRRoR
KaSeRRoR

I think I am actually going to try it this year. Watched and NWO documentary on Netflix and am kinda getting hype again from the BEST ERA IN WRESTLING... N-W-O-O-O-O-O! Foooor liiiife! 2-Sweeeeeeeeet! BaHaHa! So great!

>=)

snugglebear
snugglebear

I can smell what The Rock is cooking and I hope it's not corned beef. 

snugglebear
snugglebear

I do smell what The Rock is cooking, and I really hope that isn't corned beef. 

Dredcrumb9
Dredcrumb9

As long as it has Steve Austin, the Undertaker, Gold dust, Doink the Clown, Big Boss Man, Bret hart, RVD, and Kain, and has an epic campaign like Smackdown 2 and Show no Mercy, than it will be great. 

CoolCoke
CoolCoke

WWE 13 was a very good game

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

for the game to be good, the WWE itself has to be good and innovative to. Maybe it might only really change once Vince Mcmahon steps down. Old people dont often see the world changing around them, unless your name is Steve Jobs. That will be interesting to see what happens to WWE, once McMahon has no influence anymore.

Take Batman and Man Of Steel for example. Nolan, didnt go for nostalgia, he rewrote the book a bit, looked at our currant culture and audience, maybe that should happen in WWE to....

Id like to see some more interesting characters again in the WWE. A new evil type character like Kane, but todays version. Maybe some terrorist characters, just something interesting. How bout a homosexual hating tag team lol. Some controversy.

They are still grasping at the attitude era, its time to move on and get with todays culture, try some really new stuff. Maybe do away with the middle of the ring talking garbage stuff for awhile and try another approach? All of that still comes from the Attitude era also.

I personally think the WWE needs a complete overhaul, not just the games.

dav_hell
dav_hell

The Guys look like plastic dolls. LOL.

Genocide6sic6
Genocide6sic6

Obligatory "give it Wrestlemania 2000/No Mercy mechanics" comment. 

bezza2011
bezza2011

I'm sorry but please gamespot stop calling the people behind the game 2k when in reality it's still yukes and nothing has changed, it looks exactly like last years, nothing new, until 2k actually take over development i'm staying away. i believe the games have been going the complete wrong way for so long, seriously you could do more in smackdown games than this piece of rubbish, why give me in crowd fights one gen and great back room brawls and then take all that out even the inside the crowd, and make the game boring. someone needs to get hold and just make a attitude era game, and forget this era of we can't do that wecan't do this.

Like everyone else is saying, the graphics just aren't that good, they aren't a step up from last year, the character models look awful, and like @Guest1001 says ultimate warrior looks EXACTLY like the one from legends of wrestlemania, and why was that game even made with it's silly take on the controls and art style. just give us something better, get rid of yukes next time and 2k take over and not just publish it. 

The only reason last years game was any good was because of the attitued era and even that was pretty bad with so many filler matches it was untrue. seriously the rise of D-X and half the matches weren't even anything to do with D-X

Guest1001
Guest1001

Ultimate Warrior also made an appearance in Legends Of Wrestlemania a few years ago. With the EXACT same character model, I might add.

I know this isn't 2K Games' fault (or even THQ's). The pressures of releasing a new game every year means they can't implement anywhere near as many changes as they need to in order to keep the series feeling fresh. It's been even worse this year, with THQ's bankruptcy. I've often thought they should go down the Call Of Duty route; two different developers, alternating between releasing a new WWE game every two years.

ALIESSA
ALIESSA

So like many I was excited when I first heard, that 2k was getting the WWE license.

I was also disappointed when I found, that Yukes still was in development and even more when the first trailer hit.

But let's assume that this has been in works, before the new deal was done, and let's say that 2k15 could be Awesome.

What would you guys change. For me I have list I have dreamed about for years, and every year they have gone further away,

As they been dumbing it down.. So my list

Gameplay change

The basic grappling system needs to be fix

#1I want too be able too choose, when I want too make a strong/weak grapple don't dictate that for me. So modifier button back

#2 I want Limb Damaged back/better more like no mercy. Let me focus on a arm too set up example Alberto Del Rios Arm breaker, and make it easier too focus..

#3 stamina not like 08 where it constantly had too recharge, but if a match goes for like 15min things start too slow down.

#4 better weapon/Ladder physics

Graphics

Much more details, better looking Wrestlers, this is gonna be first on next gen, look at what EA showed.

Also fully animated crowd. at least big parts off the front crowd, for looks also so we can interact go out into crowd.

commentary fully animated, make them move/look better, react when you about too break there tables and such.

Then there is match types and Career modes, honestly don't care. Fix gameplay first..

Nekator
Nekator

From what one can see, the game doesn´t seem to have evolved from the last parts in any way... so i don´t think i care about warrior in it or some new reversals... i won´t buy this "add-on" for full price.

biggestnewb
biggestnewb

same game, more wrestlers available.


god, when will these games evolve? when will they actually put effort into creating something amazing? these WWE games are so outdated. if they were up to par with everybody/everything else, wwe 13 would've been released back in 09. that's how far i think they're behind.

PeejayYeh
PeejayYeh

PC version plsssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss....

IRGK
IRGK

I just hope once this series gets a true Next Gen sequel next year they, develop the game with the same engine as NBA 2K. Maybe then, the game would look on-par with today's graphics. But then again, these games tend to sell to people who just look for great gameplay and not necessarily, the prettiest of things.

Picia000123
Picia000123

I hope that they will do something similar to the road to wrestlemania 2009 or 2010. They were actually giving you the choice that had meaning. In my opinion it was pretty neat.

smackdowner360
smackdowner360

Why would they want to release this it looks terrible?WWE Raw on the original Xbox looks better than this and its 12 years old

sethfrost
sethfrost

21 years later, it is ok to let go of your childhood, Alex.

JSusie
JSusie

I want to like this game, but holy crap it looks terrible.

bahamut_au
bahamut_au

Warrior has always been a businessman first. The wrestler/entertainer part is a very, very distant second.

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

i think im happier that Ravishing Rick Rude and Andre the Giant and Randy Savage is in it. They should bring back Brutus the Barber beefcake and Mr perfect and Jake the Snake. Does Ravishing Rick Rude kiss a chick from the audience before having a match? that sht was funny as hell. Rick Rude was just damn good at his character.

bewitness
bewitness

Can they stop showing screens of this game? I am a wrestling fan and this game is totally depressing me. WWE games have never taken huge strides in graphics but WWE 2K14 looks atrocious. Here Comes the Pain, looks like a visually better game than this does.

NTM23
NTM23

I just watched a Voyager episode last night with The Rock in it.

Impetus94
Impetus94

@garcia_jx So the disc can hold more content; WWE'13 had crap graphics but in turn had an amazingly larger roster than its previous title.

shuwar
shuwar

@garcia_jx Maybe because they are made of steroids and silicon xD
Hopefully the game will look more realistic, though.

vetalfox
vetalfox

@scoobdog02 So now SvRs become cool all of the sudden? Ok, next year there should be "these games used to be cool when THQ was in charge" comments...same pattern every year.

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

@LilRoss2k3 i just stuck with NBA 2K12, im happy. besides i dont understand why people buy every year of the same thing over and over. Once NBA 2K 12 arrived, i think that was pretty much the best it was going to get this gen. Same with FIFA 13. Might aswell wait for nextgen or even NBA 2K15.

vetalfox
vetalfox

@KaSeRRoR there should be no NWO this year, it's about WWF's 80s-early 90s

deathblow3
deathblow3

@ALIESSA yeah nothing beats the n64 wcw & wwe games when it comes to limb damage. nothing like working on a guys leg till he limps all the time or holds his arm or neck. those where the best even though yukes has gotten better its not even a close 2nd to those games the counter system was superb or the special system where you got that rush and would stay down or stone cold activating his special situation then countering some fools kick into a stunner.

First_Gen_Gamer
First_Gen_Gamer

@bewitness Quit exaggerating. HTCP looks like crap compared to this, i own HCTP. Faster? Yes. 

Visually more impressive? Gimme a break 

scoobdog02
scoobdog02

 @vetalfox I've always thought they were cool. You ass. I'd STILL much rather play SVR than any WWE game.

LilRoss2k3
LilRoss2k3

@nyran125tk @LilRoss2k3 2k13 was the first game i tried since nba2k3!  i was very tempted to get nba 2k12 but passed.  if i had that woulda been the only game i would have tried.  i'm not a big fan of the nba.  i liked 2k13 a lot...but i had 2 major glitches during my season that killed it for me.  one was trying to save a game and continue it later...i had to go through a whole process to get the season to even continue again because that feature is broken!  the finals glitch seems to have no answer that i can find...i don't feel like playing through game 4 all over again for another time.

bewitness
bewitness

@First_Gen_Gamer @bewitness  Yes it does, when you compare what that game looked like on the PS2 and what this game looks like on the 360/PS3. HCTP was not ground breaking in terms of graphics but it was the best looking WWE game at the time and when you couple that with the introduction of the elimination chamber in a video game it made for some fun times. WWE 2k14 doesn't  even look as good as WWE 13 and if you say it does you need to have your eyes checked.