WWE 2K22 could lose 2K to the AEW Console Game with a failed release

WWE 2K22 recently got major news as the title has officially been delayed and won't launch until March of 2022, but the situation seems very tense behind the scenes according to a recent report.

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With issues rising between WWE and 2K Sports, it looks possible that their relationship could be severed and ultimately be a boon for the AEW Console Game.

WWE 2K22 has "seriously strained" the relationship between WWE and 2K Sports

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WWE 2K22 is easily the most highly anticipated WWE game in years, and it's got significant pressure to deliver due to the failure of WWE 2K20.

During SummerSlam 2021, we learned that WWE 2K22 had been delayed and will now get a release date in March of 2022 rather than the originally expected October 2021 release window.

According to a new report by Michael Straw of Sports Gamers Online, the decision faced significant pushback and has contributed to increasing tension between developers and WWE.

The report stated "there's been infighting" about the direction of the game itself, and that the problems between 2K Sports and WWE began basically the moment the title was announced.

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WWE reportedly pushed heavily for a release window in October or November, lining up more with the Hell in a Cell or Survivor Series events, but those working on the game at 2K Sports and their developer Visual Concepts fought hard for a delay.

Ironically, one of the issues facing the developers seems to be one of WWE's own making...

WWE 2K22 could've had "the most outdated roster" ever

WWE has been on a bit of a firing spree in the last few months, and the timing of those releases appears to have inadvertently affected WWE 2K22.

Based on the spontaneous and seemingly scattershot method at which they suddenly decided to release even major names like Bray Wyatt, those choices seem to have blindsided Visual Concepts and 2K Sports during the development of WWE 2K22.

WWE 2K22 AEW Console Game 2K Sports Yuke's Visual Concepts
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With so many superstars who had already been scanned and built into the game ending up on the chopping block before the title could even hit the originally scheduled release window, one source reportedly stated "this is shaping up to be the most outdated roster a game has seen."

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With WWE now apparently shifting practices and leaning towards hiring fewer and fewer independent stars, they could continue to see big names cut from the roster without notice.

Fortunately, 2K Sports and Visual Concepts did convince WWE to go along with the delay, and now they've got time to try and remedy the outdated roster prior to release.

WWE reportedly threatened to leave 2K Sports & Visual Concepts

With the problems between WWE and the developers and publishers for WWE 2K22 only continuing to rise, the stories of exactly how WWE has acted have ranged from amusing to downright depressing.

While WWE has been making record profits even during the pandemic, thanks in large part to massive guaranteed TV deals and the ability to keep their show going without having to travel for several months, they did lose money on the release of WWE 2K20 once refunds started to be issued.

Visual Concepts and 2K Sports have seemed acutely aware of the failure of WWE 2K20, but their response has looked like a commitment to get things right this time.

Now, it appears that commitment may have instead been rooted in the way WWE has bullied the development team at Visual Concepts and threatened to part ways with them.

One source reportedly said "it was like threats to cancel cable" and that while they didn't know the credibility of them, WWE could claim to have interest from other companies.

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Despite the good intentions of the hard working development team, including one who stated they "are doing everything [they] possibly cane to make the wrestling game fans want," and they "want this to be the wrestling fan's wrestling game," WWE's actions have taken a toll.

Working on the game "hasn't been a fun place to be," and apparently there's a "desperation to get things right" that's causing second guessing amongst the team.

Some remained optimistic, stating "one great game and fan response could turn things right around," but as of now it looks like anything less than a massive successive will spell the end of WWE's relationship with 2K Sports and Visual Concepts.

Departure by 2K Sports could be an opportunity for the AEW Console Game

While this is just speculation as of now, there's a key thing to remember when looking at the current development of the AEW Console Game and its connection to 2K Sports.

While Visual Concepts, the same studio under 2K that handles the NBA 2K franchise, took over and developed WWE 2K20, they hadn't been working on the title in the years before that.

The entire reason Visual Concepts had to take over was because of the departure of longtime developer Yuke's, and that longtime developer has now signed on with AEW to work on their untitled AEW Console Game.

While a vague "early 2022" window has been given for the title's release, nothing is concrete and AEW has been clear that they're willing to wait in order to ensure a top notch product is released.

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While AEW already has a developer with Yuke's, the thing their AEW Console Game doesn't have is a publisher, and there aren't many bigger options than 2K Sports.

It's not clear how much of the decision by Yuke's to leave was linked to their butting heads with WWE and how much was connection to their relationship with 2K Sports, but there could be an opening if WWE was the primary problem.

2K Sports and Yuke's worked together without issue for several years and put out several titles as a unit that saw major success and love by fans.

It might seem like a long shot, but a fractured relationship between WWE and 2K Sports could end up being the catalyst for AEW 2K22 and beyond.