While we've seen significant success since the launch of WWE 2K22, things may be less sure for the upcoming WWE 2K23 release.
One key figure in the development of WWE 2K22 that would've continued to work on WWE 2K23 has now departed, and it could have a major impact.
WWE 2K22 Executive Producer Patrick Gilmore leaves 2K
After a rocky few years, to say the least, WWE 2K22 has effectively refurbished their reputation after the failure that was WWE 2K20.
There was massive pressure following the cancellation of WWE 2K21 that WWE 2K22 might not be able to salvage the franchise, but Executive Producer Patrick Gilmore was key in making sure they could indeed deliver.
In a surprising move, Gilmore announced yesterday that he was stepping down and moving on from Visual Concepts and 2K.
While we don't know what's next for Gilmore, many may now be wondering what's next for the WWE 2K franchise.
His impact on the success of WWE 2K22 goes all the way back to May 2020, just after word got out that WWE 2K21 had officially been cancelled.
Approximately one month after that news hit, Gilmore participated in an AMA on the r/WWEGames subreddit and discussed their larger goals for the franchise.
Gilmore mentions in the AMA opening that he'd only recently joined 2K and Visual Concepts as Executive Producer of the WWE 2K franchise, and his LinkedIn profile confirms he'd started with them in March 2020.
He went on to discuss in detail some of the focuses on the upcoming game, tipping off several things as he emphasized the "game as a service model" with frequent updates, something we've seen with a combo of DLC drops and new content with updates like the MyGM improvement and MyRISE exclusives.
Gilmore also heavily emphasized core gameplay being their most major investment, and that's something that absolutely worked as the gameplay in WWE 2K22 was light years ahead of what WWE 2K20 had produced.
All of this culminated with his outlined "six core areas of focus" for WWE 2K22:
- Core Gameplay: making the superstar vs. superstar gameplay the best it's ever been.
- Emergence: leveraging physics and more generic object/environment systems to enable spectacular gameplay that players feel in control of
- WWEX (WWE Experience): delivering an end-to-end true WWE experience in all aspects of the game, from UI and wrapper, to superstars, match types and story modes.
- Online: improving all aspects of the online experience.
- Character: make the best looking superstars of all time.
- Create: Upgrade the creation suite, and make our community creation tools feel like magic to use.
Many of these things they delivered on, but in ways that of course left fans hoping to see more in WWE 2K23.
WWE 2K23 development is now missing a major piece of the puzzle
With the departure of Executive Producer Patrick Gilmore while WWE 2K23 development is underway, there are new questions about how they'll adjust.
While we don't know the extent of Williams' current role or how he may fill in gaps opened up by the loss of Gilmore, it's certainly good news that they've brought back a key long-term part of the development team.
Perhaps the biggest area of assistance will be Williams' experience working on the SmackDown vs. Raw era of games and the old GM Mode iterations.
MyGM has gotten mixed reviews since WWE 2K22 launched, as most fans liked the mode but felt it needed to deliver much more than it brought to the table at launch.
Things slightly improved with the addition of tag titles and expansion of match cards, effectively a live service update much like Gilmore had hoped to bring to the table.
Unfortunately, Gilmore's influence will no longer be a part of WWE 2K23, and that leaves the pressure on the existing and returning team members to follow-up on the success of WWE 2K22.
While there were high expectations for WWE 2K22, much of that was tempered when the game itself was so much more fun than WWE 2K20, and flaws got easier to overlook with the belief that the franchise was finally on the right path again.
That presents an all new challenge, and WWE 2K23 will have to successfully build upon the foundation of WWE 2K22 with a smaller development cycle and without the ability to lean on their new gameplay system and MyGM arrival.