The announcement of the WWE and 2K last week to join forces is one for the ages. Like two mega powers, the WWE and 2K could form a tag team combination that could leave gamers more satisfied than they've been in years.
Fresh off another fantastic basketball game, 2K can help improve WWE's product in a multitude of ways. Taking what developer Yukes already has, a decent gameplay engine and a wonderful create-a-wrestler option, the groundwork for the continued success of the series is already there. By demanding a better online environment, more downloadable content and a more authentic gameplay experience, 2K can push the series ahead much quicker than THQ ever could.
Although THQ's WWE games always sold well, the company refused to fix continued problems with the A.I. and with the online lag. 2K's online reputation and hunger to satisfy fans alone leads one to believe the game will address many of the series' lingering problems.
At the same time, fresh off what will be most likely another lukewarm entry into their now stagnant MLB franchise, 2K has plenty to prove. Unlike their sports titles and even some of their more successful shooters like Bioshock and The Darkness, the WWE's license appeals to the type of mass audience the company hasn't seen with one title. A great WWE game could also lead to successful spin-offs of the WWE's lesser-known titles. Simply put, it'll be a cash cow either way, but if done right, it could be an amazing opportunity to access another demographic altogether.
You don't have to tell 2K this either. They know.
“The development work on the WWE franchise is impressive, and we’re excited to combine our background in developing the NBA 2K series with theirs in this new partnership,” said Greg Thomas, Executive Vice President of 2K Sports in a press release. “Fans can expect the most authentic WWE experience on game consoles this fall.”
From a WWE standpoint, this partnership, like many the company has made over the past few months, is in an effort to reignite a fan base that is no longer accepting of the ebb and flow the industry is known for. Gamers and wrestling fans today want more.
Seeing how little THQ actually pushed Yukes to improve the series and the litany of bugs present in WWE '13, it's fair to say the WWE knew it was time to make a change.
“2K’s reputation for outstanding quality and dedication to authenticity are a perfect fit for WWE,” said Casey Collins, Executive Vice President, Consumer Products for WWE on the company website. “This new partnership will ensure that WWE continues to be one of the leading video game brands in the world and we look forward to continuing the franchise with the benefit of their expertise across a variety of platforms.”
United by a common bond to excite and reinvigorate their respective customers, the WWE and 2K have an opportunity to do something THQ has failed to do since Smackdown: Here Comes the Pain- make a memorable game which makes you forget about "next year."