To prepare for an exciting weekend of wrestling in Brooklyn, New York for Summerslam and NXT TakeOver--WWE and 2K Games held a special pre-party celebrating the upcoming release of WWE 2K18. Focused on all the latest happenings in the wrestling world, the talent--including Sasha Banks, Alexa Bliss, Braun Strowman, Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe, Jinder Mahal, Bobby Roode, Dean Ambrose, and 2K18 cover star Seth Rollins--took the time to mingle and interact with those in attendance.
While this was a party, some wrestlers jumped at the opportunity to keep the spark in their rivalries going. Tag-team partners Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose confronted current Raw tag-team champions Sheamus and Cesaro, which ended in a tense altercation--chairs were flying and water bottles were thrown--with security having to separate both teams. Soon after, several wrestlers--including Snoop Dogg, who went by DJ Snoopadelic for the party and performed later in the evening--made it onto the red carpet to chat and pose for photos. GameSpot spoke with several wrestlers of the WWE about 2K18, how it's developed over the years, and what they're currently playing while on the road.
Kurt Angle, General Manager of Raw
GS: I had the opportunity to check out of the game, it seems to have focused more on emulating the style and presentation of the live shows. Are you with impressed with how detailed it is in replicating the real thing?
Kurt Angle: It seems like every year they get more and more of a feeling to real life with it. Every year, they manage to outdo themselves with the videogame. It's really cool to be a part of it. If you would have asked me a few years ago that this was going to be a thing, then I would have said "no way in hell". But here I am, you know doing the red carpet for it. It's pretty amazing.
Since you're the GM of Raw, you must have a lot of say when it comes to how your brand is presented in the game.
KA: I wish we did, man. But really, it all comes down to Vince McMahon and the creative team at WWE and also the team at 2K Games. It's a collaborative effort, and they make the games look good.
Jinder Mahal, Current WWE Champion
What was it like seeing this iteration of the game for the first time? Were you pleased with how they presented you in game?
Jinder Mahal: It's very impressive, I've seen myself in the game--I've got like the six-pack abs with the chiseled arms [he flexes], my masculinity was there--but the one thing that is missing is me on the cover with the WWE Universal Championship. That's one thing they can improve.
So what exactly was the process like of actually getting you into the game? Were you involved in the motion-capture?
JM: So I just did the facial and body scanning, no mo-cap as that was done in L.A., but it's just so cool to see yourself. You know, unlike action figures and other toys, videogames don't really get old or worn out, so in a way you are like immortalized.
Are you able to play many games these days?
JM: I actually haven't, and I haven't been playing any since I was a kid, but I used to play Crash Bandicoot a lot and I've heard some amazing things about the new game that came out which is like a remaster?
Yeah, it's a remaster of the first three games.
JM: Oh, it's same ones? I'll try them out, especially now that it looks better. That's great, I definitely gotta try that out.
Alexa Bliss, Current WWE Raw Women's Champion
From what you've seen of the game, are surprised to see how much of it as become so accurate to the real thing?
Alexa Bliss: Oh absolutely, Xavier Woods and Bayley were playing it backstage as AJ Styles vs Samoa Joe, and to see the graphics and how accurate everything is is just amazing. Even the signs in the back were super accurate, super detailed--games have come so far, and I think 2K has been at the forefront of that. I've been impressed with how they managed to bring it all together.
Do you play many games nowadays?
AB: I used to play videogames a lot. Growing up, my dad and I used to play Xbox and Playstation games all the time, but a game I did get recently was Crash Bandicoot. Which is a lot harder than I remembered, like way harder, it's kinda crazy. But also, I did get a Nintendo Switch, which is also fun.
Are you liking the Switch so far?
AB: Yeah, I do love the Switch a lot. Seth Rollins was actually the one that talked me into getting one. Because I saw him playing it on a plane, and I was like what is that? And he said "Nintendo Switch, best thing ever", and so I got one.
How do you find the time to play these games?
AB: It's mostly just on planes nowadays, because we're mostly on the go. When we're not in the ring, meeting media, or going home, we're just working out. But when you do get that free time to just unwind and decompress, I just play Mario Kart on the Switch.
Do you have another favorite that you're playing on Switch?
AB: I did just get Zelda on the Switch. I heard so much about it, about how much time people wasted in it. Like they live on Zelda.
I know people that put in over two hundred hours in the game.
AB: Like seriously, it's crazy. When I heard how many hours you can put into it, I was like "I'm gonna play other games first" before I try Zelda and then commit to that. So I've just started to get into that, and it's been amazing.
Braun Strowman, Challenger for the WWE Universal Championship
Games have evolved a lot over the years, and now we have the next WWE looking more close to the real thing, and of course you're in it. What's your reaction to seeing yourself in a game like this?
BS: It blows my mind by what they're capable of doing as far as animation and other stuff, and then to even turn it into a videogame--I remember the days of Pong, and Oregon Trail in elementary school, where you had to plug a floppy disk into a computer to turn it on. But now, you travel around and play with others around the globe along with your friends in game that looks so realistic. It's awesome, technology is a cool thing. I did a lot 3D rendering work with the team, they had us go in this crazy booth where they take thousands of pictures of us from every angle, and they had us do all these crazy pictures of us with weird and strange facial expressions. And without a doubt, that's why it turned out so well.
Dean Ambrose mentioned he wasn't much of a gamer in recent years. Are you able to play much these days?
BS: I play here and there, not so much as the other guys. I'm more of a first-person shooter guy. I have a really short attention span, so it's gotta be really good. The last game I got really into was Black Ops 3. What was that like two years ago? That shows you how much interest I have in games. I try to play with these guys, they set up stuff in the locker room--I'm terrible at them though, and they beat me up in them and that just makes me mad. And then I just want to smash the TV over their heads.
Bayley, Former WWE Raw Women's Champion
Is there something in particular that's impressed you about this game that you've seen?
B: I've seen only the short previews I saw backstage, and all the stuff they're releasing online--I saw the SAnitY [NXT wrestling stable] entrance they released on Youtube, and every year they just impress me with what they can do. Just how much better it gets with entrances, and the actual guys' look, the details of our faces. They really just get all the tiny details, like you're inside the game. It's just really cool.
Are you able to find the time to play anything? If so have you played anything good recently?
B: Yeah, I do. It can be tough to find the time, but I did just get the Crash Bandicoot trilogy re-release, like I was so good when I was a kid--but now I suck. I can't even remember what to do with some of the obstacles in the game to collect the fruit--and I was always thought they were just apples, but they're not. When I go home, I'm just gonna try to beat that again. Because I was so good when I was kid.
Samoa Joe, Challenger for the WWE Universal Championship
The WWE games have come a long way over the years. Can you talk about what you like most about the games in recent years?
SJ: I'm just really impressed with the technology that goes into these games. The way they're able to skin these characters and present them in the game, along with just the building of the architecture themselves. Anything they do, it always ends up looking really, really nice. They did a hell of a job.
What's the one game that you've been playing during your off time?
SJ: I've been playing a lot Fortnite lately. It's really nice, when I get off the road, I just can just relax and play this. It's got like the perfect balance to it, where I can just unwind and be technical at the same time. It's great.
On that note, our interviews came to an end. Check out our gallery below for more pictures of the event, and to see who else swung by. And for more info on WWE 2K18, check back with GameSpot for more coverage of the game.