WWE 2K22 looks to be waiting in the rafters to strike, hoping to bring fans back. But what’s truly bizarre, is that not all that much is new. The media hype has begun. The game is due on March 11, and it looks like the majority of the features being touted so far are all designed to do one thing: undo all the f—ups from the last game.
The reworked controls and graphical overhauls don’t look all that different from the likes of 2K19. What is coming is a bunch of gameplay redesigns seemingly hoping to do one thing, bring old fans back. The MyFaction mode, MyGM and other additions are all centered on trying to capture nostalgia for older wrestling fans, it will be interesting to see how said fans respond. But the whole thing could be undone by the idiocy of the publisher.
What’s new in WWE 2K22?
The answer is, not all that much. The only truly new feature appears to be the MyFaction mode. By taking cues from MyTEAM & Ultimate Team, this could either be great or a disaster. The new Packs introduced this year seem to suggest that players will have to open booster packs to unlock content, like new wrestlers. Anyone who has issues with FiFA’s approach to this system will know exactly why this could be a terrible system. There just isn’t the roster complexity and development in a wrestling game to have this idea work, at least on the surface. As far as I can tell, the only thing this will do is frustrate people who just want to wrestle. Adding extra layers of having to grind for content is just going to push people away. But who knows, maybe Visual Concepts hit on some way to make this work with a bunch of new systems for developing wrestlers.
The developer did give us some details, but it’s not much. All we know so far is that these new cards are going to be part of the action, as are a bunch of updates designed to undo the damage from 2K20.
“In a franchise-first, the all-new MyFACTION puts players in control of building a legendary faction that rivals the iconic nWo. Players will collect, manage, and upgrade Superstars, with weekly events and regular updates”
Tied into this system is an expanded MyGM mode, which allows players to try and take their brand to the top of the ratings. The developers want you to have the equivalent of a franchise mode in a wrestling game. But it doesn’t seem all that inventive. Although some players might enjoy it. Really, that’s all we’re getting that’s actually new. So what’s returning? Well, pretty much everything else is a revamp of older content.
Popular game modes including the returning 2K Showcase – starring Rey Mysterio – incorporate new features and updates, allowing players to relive the iconic moments behind Mysterio’s most famous matches. There’s also MyRise, basically the same Created Superstar story mode that many other previous entries have done.
The full creation suite from the last few entries also returns. Players can once again create entire rosters and TV shows of superstars, planning matches, entrances, storylines and more. By tying this into MyFaction mode, it could be something interesting. The one change to the content sharing is that cross-platform sharing is now supported. This may help prolong the life of the game a bit. But given that 2K is likely to force in the asinine grinding for points to unlock content again, a lot of people aren’t going to be around long enough to care.
But with the other details revealed, it appears that 2K is once again also positioned to botch, and botch hard. Somebody call Maffew, a Botchamania might be in the making. Why? Because we already know that the dreaded loot boxes and card packs that destroyed 2K’s other gambling-infested sports games is headed to WWE 2K22. That alone could sink this whole revival effort.
But wait, there’s more, of the same old crap
Not only are many of the game modes rehashed and minor updates of previous years, but 2K is up to its same old nonsense again. For some god-awful reason, they think this game needs four different versions. This is where we start to see why this game might be a write-off.
- Standard edition — The standard version of the game.
- Cross-gen bundle — This includes the standard edition and the Starrcade ’96 Rey Mysterio Pack.
- Deluxe edition — This includes the standard edition with the Undertaker Immortal Pack, a Season Pass to all five post-launch DLC content packs, the MyRISE Mega-Boost and SuperCharger packs, and a limited-edition WWE SuperCard mobile game content
- The nWo 4-Life Edition will have the standard edition, the deluxe edition content, and new MyFaction EVO Cards. It also comes with alternate nWo attires for Hollywood Hogan, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Syxx plus a playable Eric Bischoff character, WCW Souled Out 1997 and WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 arenas, and the nWo Wolfpac Championship.
If you notice, there’s a metric ton of Packs listed in those details.
Each pack is linked to iconic superstars. The cards within these packs will be for both gameplay and cosmetic options it seems. So far, we’ve seen two kinds of cards. So instead of buying content piecemeal, you now get to hope you get the content you want by buying randomized packs for customization options and wrestler boosts. Oh boy, I’m sure going to love opening 28 copies of the same jockstrap, and three different rarities of the same uppercut.
The boosts might be some kind of in-match card system that allows players to power up superstars mid-match. Because everyone knows that we want to play Magic: The Gathering in our wrestling games. Sounds like 2K is taking lessons from the Star Wars Battlefront school of “F—ing up your game design”.
So why do all of this nonsense? A fairly cynical interpretation is lent to by the choice of an nWo variant cover. Many fans of old-school wrestling point to the attitude era as the heyday of pro wrestling. And it’s pretty easy to see what helped make that work. The focus on storytelling that felt more real, driven by cliques and factional conflict, helped drive WWE and WCW sales during this time. And the new MyFaction mode is poised to play right into that. Another way of reading this might be that Visual Concepts is hoping that nostalgia from old school fans will bring them back. But really, is that it? Does the publisher really think slapping on The Undertaker and Goldberg can hide the fact that this game is riddled with loot boxes?