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Can Wrestling Games Make A Comeback During This Wrestling Renaissance?

WWE 2K20

Can Wrestling Games Make A Comeback During This Wrestling Renaissance?

It’s been a very long time since wrestling games were best sellers or took center stage in the gaming universe. While the WWE 2K series has shown some promise over the last year or so, that is close to the only option out there. If you asked 10 people if they have played Fire Pro Wrestling, I suspect eight or nine would probably ask you what it is. And this is no fault of Spike Chunsoft. The game can be a great alternative for many fans, however, it just doesn’t have the marketing power that WWE 2K has. Beyond that, while the game could be considered another viable option, a lot of people don’t like the style or have the patience to learn the somewhat complicated controls. This is understandable.

So what now? WWE 2K20 releases next month, and while it looks good from what we’ve seen so far, there are a lot of disenfranchised fans who have given up on the series. It would take a lot to bring those people back. Maybe the developers can do it this year, but I think the general feeling is that we might only be seeing minor improvements this year, mostly due to the fact that next year’s game might release on the new hardware from PlayStation and Xbox.

I think it’s pretty safe to say at this point we won’t be seeing another TNA/Impact wrestling game. Beyond that wrestling organization, we probably won’t be getting a New Japan Pro Wrestling game, so this leaves fans wanting either an AEW game or a generic game with full customization.

Is an AEW Game Inevitable?

We already know for sure that Yuke’s is making a wrestling game. We just don’t know if it will be licensed or generic. However, we might have been given a hint on that by AEW wrestler Kenny Omega. AEW’s Young Bucks teased a game about a month or so ago, but just recently, Kenny Omega stated that an AEW video game “is the ultimate goal.” This is good news, especially considering Omega is a huge video game fan, and admits growing up playing the old Nintendo 64 wrestling games. I think at this point, we will see an AEW video game sooner than later, especially when you have AEW wrestlers talking about a game so often. With a number of them being huge video game fans, it seems like a reality that they will get something done.

But who develops it? It’s pretty safe to say it won’t be Syn Sophia, formally known as AKI Corp. They haven’t made a wrestling game since WWF No Mercy in 2000, and haven’t made any games at all since 2009. I would also assume the people who worked on the old N64 wrestling games are long gone. I guess anything is possible, but it seems improbable at this time.

The Yuke’s Mystery

This leads us back to Yuke’s. As previously said, Yuke’s is making a new wrestling game. It would be very plausible for them to acquire the AEW license. In fact, it could be almost too obvious. If the guys at AEW are really wanting the get into the video game space, it just makes perfect sense. A game already in development from a reputable company, then why not?

If AEW and Yuke’s don’t end up working together, there could be a couple of other options. EA could be one. EA’s last official wrestling video game was WCW Backstage Assault in 2000. To call a spade a spade, it was terrible. However, in 1999 EA released WCW Mayhem. The game didn’t set the world on fire, but it created a solid foundation in what was supposed to be a series of games before WCW imploded. Now I’m sure they couldn’t use that engine today, but they could at least build something competent to get it off the ground.

EA’s Miss is 2K’s Gain

When the WWE license was up in the air after THQ bowed out, EA was in the running. The rumor was they would have used the EA Sports MMA engine to make it. That was a solid game, and with the right tweaks it could have worked. I’m sure they still have that game engine sitting around somewhere. Either way, 2K was able to secure the rights to make WWE games and here we are on the cusp of WWE 2K20 being released.

One thing you can say about 2K when it comes to WWE is that it isn’t plagued with microtransactions. Yes, you do have to purchase some things separately to get all the wrestlers, or the accelerator. But the good news is that for that $30 extra, you get everything. Yes, there are loot boxes in MyPlayer, but it is nowhere near the ridiculousness of NBA 2K.

Most people who don’t have a bone to pick with the series will tell you that WWE 2K19 was a step forward. Let’s hope we get that again with this year’s game. The gameplay itself was much better last year and felt more like a wrestling match than a fighting game. That fighting game element is still there, of course, but as the series progresses — and with Visual Concepts on board — we may see the direction of the game move even closer to the simulation aspect of wrestling.

There’s Still an Opening in the Market

I know not everyone likes that hardcore simulation style of wrestling in a video game. This is where any company could sweep in and make an arcade-style game. It doesn’t have to be over the top with wrestlers doing Mortal Kombat finishers, but I think there is a niche out there for this type of game. If 2K were smart, they would release an arcade-style WWE video game to complement WWE 2K itself (and would not just release it on mobile either). I don’t imagine this will happen soon, but just like in wrestling, never say never.

So tell us what direction you want to see wrestling video games go. Are you happy with the progression WWE 2K is making? Do you like the simulation style? Do you think Yuke’s is behind the inevitable AEW game? Would you just be happy with an arcade-style WWE game? Sound off in the comments and let us know.


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  1. My money is that Yukes and AEW team up.  That seems unavoidable in a good way.  I'm interested to see what Yukes can do when it's not under the thumb of Vince McMahon.  They stated before they even parted with WWE that they were making a game separate from the license to do things they weren't allowed to do.  So hopefully we get their true vision with that game.  In a perfect world I would like to see Yukes get a dual licenced game with AEW vs NJPW but I know that the relationship between those two companies is not the greatest right now.  
    I hope we get more licenced titles.  I am a sim head so that style appeals to me but I think that an arcade style would do well, but I think an arcade style would need to be a WWE title.  I would buy an Impact/ROH title if the rumored purchase of ROH by Impact is true.  I would at least give it a shot.
    Hopefully we get more competition in this genre.  I'm a wrestling fan and now that the world is connected it's easier to be a fan of indies like Evolve, Progress, MLW, Defiant, AAA, PWG, etc., and being able to catch news on ROH, Impact, and NJPW.  It's a great time to be a wrestling fan and have all these options.  Can't wait for AEW to start on TNT!  
    WWE 2K’s gameplay was nice IMO.
    BUT..... wrestling on tv is about the drama. The Universe mode has little to no suspense. That’s where current wrestling games miss the mark.
    Smack down here comes the pain is STILL better than the current games after all these years.
    Fingers crossed.
    The best idea would for publish to over all the smaller league NJPW, ROH, Impact, CMLL, AAA, MLW, etc. And create a best in the world game. No promotion has enough star power to sell a game, but if you do it this way you get more stars from everywhere and everyone gets more eyes on them.
    All you need is Fire Pro with mods. It is already out. No need for a renaissance.

    Sure if you like to pretend it’s still 1996. Def cool gameplay but the pixel art graphics don’t scratch that wrestling game itch.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    Sure if you like to pretend it’s still 1996. Def cool gameplay but the pixel art graphics don’t scratch that wrestling game itch.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports

    lol. Since when does graphics mean more than gameplay when it comes to wrestling?
    lol. Since when does graphics mean more than gameplay when it comes to wrestling?

    Did I say that? I don’t think a combination of both is a big ask considering we’ve gotten it in the past. Fire pro is def fun. But for me it can’t scratch the itch the same way a better looking and better animated game with good gameplay can. Right now neither Fire Pro nor 2K really does it for me. I can play both in short spurts but neither hold my interest very long.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    Fire Pro on my PC is all I need.  Super fun to play, but creating and simming CAWs is just as great.  Above all, I can have the limitless roster I crave, rather than constantly adhering to roster and image limits.
    2k is a good game, but I haven't touched it in months and I still play Fire pro daily.
    All I need is old school wrestling on the viewing end (WWF & territories/NWA up to the early 90s and then ECW from late 93 to mid 98) and Fire Pro on the gaming end and I'm good with wrestling.

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