WWE 2K22 Dev Explains How It Dealt With WWE's Ever-Shrinking Roster
During the pandemic, WWE released lots of wrestlers from the company, but how did that affect production of WWE 2K22?
2K Games took a year off during the pandemic for development of WWE 2K22 following the disastrous launch of 2K20. During this time, Visual Concepts had time to redesign everything about the franchise from the look and controls to gameplay and adding new modes. However, one thing it wasn't expecting was wrestling promotion WWE to release over 80 wrestlers--80 wrestlers who could have been in the game.
Speaking with Visual Concepts creative director Lynell Jinks and senior producer Christina Diem Pham, Jinks explained the process of dealing with these layoffs at WWE. "Every year, we've had to deal with certain situations where a superstar would get released, right before we're about to launch the game," Jinks told GameSpot. "And the WWE, they're amazing partners, they'll evaluate what [the wrestler's] contracts are, when our release date is, how much of a pain point would it be for us to remove someone. They take into account so many different factors, and they help us make those decisions.
"It was the same thing this year," continued Jinks. "Yeah, this was at a different scale, but every superstar that either left the company or was future endeavored, there was a discussion about it, and we worked with the WWE to figure out what was the best thing for the game. Again, they're amazing."
While WWE 2K22's roster isn't as large as previous installments, it does feature many of the WWE wrestlers who were released during the pandemic because of supposed budget cuts. This includes Keith Lee, Mickie James, Swerve, The IIconics, two versions of Mia Yim and a lot more.
2K Games recently revealed its upcoming DLC plans for WWE 2K22, which includes Hurricane Helms, Doink The Clown, Xia Lee, Ronda Rousey, Logan Paul, and Machine Gun Kelly. In total, 27 more wrestlers will be added to the roster between April and July, between five DLC packs.
The Visual Concepts team spoke with GameSpot's professional wrestling podcast Wrestle Buddies about development of WWE 2K22, changing the controls, and if they overextended themselves when making the new game. You can check that episode out below.
WWE 2K22 is available now on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC.