The disastrous and buggy launch of WWE 2K20 this year has left a lot of fans very angry at the franchise. To be fair, the launch was a terrible failure. WWE 2K20 was riddled with bugs and plagued by some truly bizarre design flubs thanks to the studio handling it being unsuited for the task of full development. Visual Concepts had only played a support role up to that point, and it really showed in the final game.
A new developer, Saber Interactive, has been brought in to handles this effort, which explains where the new style comes from. The developer previously worked on NBA 2K Playgrounds. And with that sports title, it was all about the same over-the-top styles presented in a cartoonish manner. Saber has also worked on various other titles these last few years, like World War Z, so they very likely have the experience to handle a smaller scale title with a wacky presentation.
And while it is definitely not the hyper-realistic take of WWE 2K21, WWE 2K Battlegrounds has something new to offer fans. The continuation of the incredibly cartoony feel from WWE All Stars is offering a much different gameplay experience. All of the moves hit harder and the sells are worse than late-90s Sean Michaels. The feel is a big departure for fans of more recent 2K titles, but it looks to still be a fun and silly wrestling game. Check it out in the teaser trailer below.
The game will have a much more simple feel this time around as well. As mentioned in the game’s official website, WWE 2K Battlegrounds introduces a “completely new WWE gaming experience,” one that features “arcade-style action” and “over-the-top superstar designs.” Also, the focus, this time around, is on “social, pick-up-and-play fun,” though hardcore players can expect a little more depth than just basic matches with some gimmicky game modes. The trailer shows off what appears to be a match involving a giant crocodile, so that’s something.
So why was this change made? The main reason is that the publisher wants to move away from the hastened development model that bit them hard with the launch of WWE 2K20. The company may tap developer Visual Concepts to make a new game in the franchise in the future, but those plans are very much in flux right now.
“We want to ensure the development team at Visual Concepts can create a great game that will entertain grizzled WWE 2K veterans, as well as newcomers who want to climb through the ropes and step into the ring for the very first time,” noted the publisher. The future remains unclear, but there are still plenty of fans that will pass by WWE 2K Battlegrounds and wait out the next hardcore simulation.