WWE 2K have officially announced WWE 2K Battlegrounds, an arcade game that will replace WWE 2K21 as this year's release.
This will be the first year in over a decade that the WWE will not release a sim-style game.
What does this mean for the future of the WWE 2K series, and for the future of sim-style wrestling games?
WWE 2K Battlegrounds
BIG ACTION- The next WWE 2K game will feature hard-hitting arcade action
WWE 2K Battlegrounds was officially announced today, and will be the next WWE video game by 2K Games.
This move is a return to the WWE All Stars arcade style of video game, which was released in 2011.
WWE 2K Battlegrounds features The Rock and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin on the cover, which shows the roster for this game could span decades of WWE history.
Implications for the WWE 2K series
HIATUS?- Could we see The Big Dog and The Man in WWE 2K Battlegrounds?
While WWE All Stars was well received, fans certainly didn't expect to have their yearly sim-style WWE game replaced by an arcade game. And while it's a bold move, and competition will be slow during coronavirus quarantine, it's safe to say this is a step backward.
Instead of improving on the many issues the series had with its latest release WWE 2K20, it seems both companies are willing to move right along to a new title. While it's good they've recognized the need for change, this simply wasn't the change most fans were hoping for.
We don't expect WWE 2K Battlegrounds to be the solution to the issues facing wrestling video games. But it's at least a breath of (somewhat) fresh air.
Because of this game, however, fans of wrestling games from the WWE 2K series may be waiting for 2022 before the next release.
WWE 2K21 cancellation
THE BEAST- We'll have to wait a long while to see Brock Lesnar in next-gen
Former WWE writer Justin Leeper first came forward about the potential cancellation of WWE 2K21 on April 11th. That scoop became a reality today, when WWE re-confirmed the cancellation after initially mentioning it during an earnings call.
WWE 2K20 was very poorly received by critics, so this could be a necessary step to re-energize wrestling video games. The problem is there were some much more popular options on the table than a return to arcade style.
Is the Smackdown vs. Raw dream dead?
LEGACY- SVR remains one of the most popular wrestling series
When wrestling fans first heard of WWE 2K21 being cancelled, most thought the exact same thing: Is Smackdown vs. Raw returning?
SVR was a very popular series of wrestling video games that has had the longest run of any WWE series. It ran from 2004 to 2010.
The SVR series pioneered many aspects of the modern wrestling game, and packaged them with several other fan favorite features that have been lost over time. Despite the hype for a potential reboot, however, it seems WWE 2K Battlegrounds is on the way instead.
For now, it's safe to say the SVR dream is dead. At the least for another few years.
Next gen implications
WRESTLING ROYALTY-Charlotte Flair will have to wait for next-gen graphics
With next gen consoles PS5 and Xbox Series X set to release later this year, it's safe to say we won't have a WWE sim game in time.
This is terrible news for wrestling fans who want to see their favorite superstars with the new graphics capabilities. But it could get even worse if Justin Leeper's claims are right.
In Leeper's leaking of WWE 2K21's cancellation, Leeper also claimed WWE would not be ready for the next generation consoles potentially even by 2021. Leeper claims even a WWE 2K22 would not make the transition.
We'll have to see if WWE 2K Battlegrounds does indeed make the next gen leap. But seeing higher quality arcade-style gameplay is certainly not as exciting as a better looking sim-style game, and fans are voicing it.