WWE 2K23 just revealed the full spread of its new features, including a shiny new Wargames match type, a full spread of the John Cena Goddess including a front cover, special showcase mode, a curated soundtrack by the five-knuckle shuffler himself, and more .
Beyond these details, we sat down for a short but (too) sweet interview with Visual Concepts’ Lynell Jinks and Brian Williams, where we talked about the challenges of bringing Wargames to the series and the future of WWE 2K showcases.
While John Cena may be the hottest star for WWE 2K23, you may want to pause and consider Wargames. For non-wrestling fans, it’s wild. Originally created in the 1980s, it is a team fight between two adjacent rings, with a large steel cage surrounding the entire ordeal. A roof on this cage is optional.
“When we released WWE2K22, what could we probably do with this engine to take things to a whole other level. Wargames was our answer, and even though it was only in NXT at the time, we wanted to try it. said Lynell proudly. “Our designers, engineers and artists got to work. It was like, oh my god! The different layout and the challenges it brought… There’s the cage, people in that cage, it’s a timed event, there are two rings next to each other…. It took a long time to parse it, but once we did, because of everything we learned with 2K22 and the things we ‘unlocked’, we found that the work came to fruition very quickly.”
That was around the time Brian Williams came on board and “helped cross the finish line”. While the team apparently had a lot of practice working with the new engine introduced with WWE 2K22, according to Jinks, it was anything but easy. “When Brian came in, it was a skeleton, so I was like ‘this is really cool… but will it be done?’ (laughs), It had to be!”
“Honestly, everything [was a challenge]Jinks acknowledged laughing and occasionally putting his head in his hands. “It’s so different from anything we’ve ever done. It’s not the Elimination Chamber, it’s not hell in a cell. It’s sort of all together, but in its own unique way. The version of Wargames we have is the NXT version because when we made this in the beginning it was based on those specs. They didn’t release those cages until the Survivor series [to the main roster] that we thought ‘but we’re already done with this mode!’.”
Jinx continued, “Just figuring out how to get these cages in, get three umpires to open cages at the right time, two rings side by side, and this trench! It’s this little area between the rings that you need to be able to move, if you couldn’t do any moves down there it wouldn’t be Wargames! All of these things we had to do were necessary to make it feel like Wargames. I wouldn’t say it was a nightmare, but it was really challenging for a lot of people.”
Obviously, while Wargames sounds like a decent addition, John Cena has a major role in this year’s installment. In addition to a cover and input on the music, they also get their own showcase to celebrate their 21st birthday, like Rey Mysterio did in WWE 2K22.
This showcase will feature 14 matches from throughout John Cena’s career, highlighting the biggest moments of their career, ranging from their debut through Summerslam 2021. You’ll also be in the shoes of Cena’s opponents, rather than the man himself, since they got feedback that playing John 14 games in a row might get a little boring.
While this would be the second straight wrestler showcase for the series, the team was adamant that it’s not a guaranteed shot every year. “It’s something we always think about when it’s time for a showcase… If there’s a nice milestone, we can hang our hats with a showcase, absolutely. But I don’t think it’s a hard and fast rule. Not all anniversaries get a showcase.”
All in all, there seems to be plenty to be excited about for this year’s WWE game for wrestling fans. Whether the team has managed to capture the feel of Wargames, do justice to John Cena’s career and pack it all into an exciting new wrestling game remains to be seen. But we won’t have to wait long to find out, as WWE 2K23 is due out in March.