WWE 2K22 GM Mode: Features from SmackDown vs. Raw we NEED to get back

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WWE 2K22 GM Mode should mark the return of the fan-favorite game mode, but little is known so far about exactly what GM Mode will look like this time.

With the few leaks we've gotten for WWE 2K22 in mind, we look back at GM Mode features from SmackDown vs. Raw that need to return this year.

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WWE 2K22 GM Mode: Fan-favorite game mode should finally return

While WWE Games and 2K have stopped short of confirming anything yet, all signs point to GM Mode returning thanks to the latest WWE 2K22 leaks.

The fan-favorite game mode has been highly requested for over a decade since it departed the long-running WWE franchise.

WWE 2K22 GM Mode SmackDown vs Raw Features
DREAM MATCHES: Book your dream rivalries in GM Mode with legends like Edge

It's been out of the title since 2K became their publisher, but it looks like things are finally due to change, and it was first a report by SGO that got the rumor mill rolling.

Sources called GM Mode "a top priority" for WWE 2K22, said it would "become the most played mode in the game," and went as far as to assert that GM Mode "will sell the game."

Those lofty expectations got some backup when an additional report by Millie Amand stated GM Mode (or "Manager mode" as she called it) was guaranteed to return in WWE 2K22.

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WWE 2K22 needs these GM Mode features from SmackDown vs. Raw

While we're fairly sure that WWE 2K22 GM Mode is on the way, what might that actually look like when the game is released?

First, let's step back into the past and look at the three major titles that previously had GM Mode and which key features should find their way back in WWE 2K22.

SmackDown vs. Raw 2006: GM Mode makes a triumphant debut

The first game to introduce GM Mode was SmackDown vs. Raw 2006, and basically all of the framework was laid by developers in that initial release.

Players chose to be the GM of either Raw or SmackDown and kicked things off with the WWE Draft allowing them to choose up to 20 wrestlers per brand.

The ultimate goal was to win the General Manager of the Year Award by ending the year with more fans than the opposing brand, but the "Wall of Fame" showcased a series of trophies.

WWE 2K22 GM Mode SmackDown vs. Raw Wall of Fame
WALL OF FAME: This area showcased your in-game accomplishments
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These represented various potential accomplishments throughout the year, like your brand's superstar winning Money in the Bank or the Royal Rumble, which were both dual-brand at the time.

SmackDown vs. Raw 2006 also introduced mechanics of signing superstar contracts, giving each GM a limited amount of available cash, building up a superstar's Popularity rating, spending cash to have special matches, ongoing rivalries, star ratings for matches, trades between brands, the ability to play co-op with a second player, and the multi-match and promo format of individual shows.

Basically all of that framework needs to return, along with the other key aspects that SmackDown vs. Raw 2006 introduced, but there are some things from the next few years that could also be brought back.

SmackDown vs. Raw 2007: GM Mode gets refined

GM Mode remained largely unchanged when SmackDown vs. Raw 2007 was released, but a few additions offered some refinement where needed.

Most of the game mode operated in the same way, but they added Storyline Writers, which you could pay to hire and handle your Rivalries.

WWE 2K22 GM Mode SmackDown vs Raw Features
THE WRITERS: The mechanic was a good addition in SvR 2007
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Hiring a Storyline Writer would allow you to increase ratings and setup rivalries with themes such as Faction, Patriotism, or Legend vs Legend Killer.

While it may be different than the actual mechanics of how WWE works today, the Storyline Writers feature would work well in a revamped GM Mode.

SmackDown vs. Raw 2008: GM Mode becomes 24/7 Mode

SmackDown vs. Raw 2008 marked the end of GM Mode, but a mostly similar version of it remained in what was then called 24/7 Mode.

The franchise moved on from GM Mode and later introduced Universe Mode, but most of the challenging and competitive aspects that had once existed in GM Mode were gone.

The biggest aspect from SmackDown vs. Raw 2008 that's likely to return is the three-branded format, as that year the ECW brand was added to make it a three-way competition.

WWE 2K22 GM Mode SmackDown vs Raw Features
THREE WAY DANCE: One more brand just makes everything more challenging

They'd also added a Power 25 ranking across all of WWE, but much of this all struggled because ECW was crippled competitively by only having one championship.

WWE 2K22 should include NXT (or NXT 2.0 as they call it today) as a third brand, especially as the balance issues seen in SmackDown vs. Raw 2008 would be easy to avoid today.

While there were some other changes, including extra events that could be held on days which didn't have a scheduled show, those don't necessarily need to make a return.

Ultimately, the most important thing is that the original mechanics which made GM Mode so challenging and rewarding are back, and it sounds like developers know that is key for WWE 2K22.