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2K Sports Gets Into the Rasslin' Business

WWE '14 hits shelves this fall.

We followed the slow and tragic decline of THQ here at PixlBit over the past year, and a few of us talk about it at length in the current Darksiders episodes of Backloggers Anonymous. As you no doubt know, the core THQ properties were auctioned off recently, but two franchises were noticeably absent from the big sell-off. Those would be the aforementioned Darksiders and the WWE license, which THQ had held the rights to since the release of WWF Smackdown for the PlayStation in 2000. We now know the fate of the WWE video game license, and it has fallen into the hands of 2K Sports. So what does that mean for the gamer itching to simulate Cena vs. Punk in a TLC match?

While rumors had placed WWE with EA at first, 2K Sports was also in the running, but it wasn’t until last week that the company formally announced that they indeed would be shaping the future of the wrestling franchise in the video game space. It was reported that the next game would be titled WWE 2K14, putting it in line with the company’s other properties such as NBA and NHL, but in actuality the series will continue with its current name, and the next game will simply be titled WWE ’14. Japanese developer Yuke’s will continue working on the franchise as they have since the first Smackdown game, and 2K Sports will handle the American end of things in regards to making the presentation as close to TV quality as possible.

So what does that mean for WWE gamers? It means nothing major changes. 2K Sports has had success with making their games mimic the television presentation of the NBA and MLB, so things could certainly look better on that end. But players can expect the game to play much as it has in the past, as Yuke’s continues to iterate on its tried and true wrestling game design.

That’s great news or disappointing news depending on who you talk to. The Smackdown/Smackdown vs. Raw/WWE ’13 series has always been praised for its speed, robust options, and attention to TV detail. However, many people still have very fond memories of the WWF games made by Aki for the Nintendo 64. WWF Wrestlemania 2000 and WWF No Mercy were iterations of the wildly popular Aki games WCW vs nWo World Tour and WCW/nWo Revenge. Known for their deliberate and deep grappling mechanics and the ability to edit characters on the roster to better reflect storylines on TV, the Aki wrestling games are hailed as being some of the best wrestling video games of all time.

Although the news that the WWE games will be made by the same developer as the past 13 years may disappoint some fans, it’s worth noting that we’re right on the edge of a generation shift. Sports games in particular have a rough time making the transition as developers try to learn new hardware while maintaining the yearly release schedule that they’re known for. But with new hardware comes new possibilities, and wrestling games in particular can benefit from the added graphical prowess and hopefully more realistic animations afforded from the coming generation.

Happy with Yuke’s staying on as WWE developer? Want another team on the series? Let us know in the comments who should craft the future of WWE video games!

Press Release

2K and WWE® Announce Exclusive Multi-Year Agreement for WWE Video Game Series

New York, NY AND Stamford, Conn. – February 20, 2013 – 2K and WWE (NYSE: WWE) today announced that they have entered into an exclusive multi-year agreement granting 2K the exclusive worldwide rights to publish the critically acclaimed WWE video game franchise across all major platforms and distribution channels. The series, which will continue to be developed by Yukes in Japan, will combine the studio’s signature gameplay with 2K’s commitment to authenticity in WWE ’14, the latest iteration of the popular, long running series. With the addition of the WWE franchise, 2K will continue a highly-successful, 15-year tradition established by past WWE titles. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“The WWE series is a great addition to our stable of triple-A titles, and we’re very happy with this exclusive agreement with our new partners,” said David Ismailer, Chief Operating Officer for 2K. “We look forward to capturing the excitement of WWE and marrying it with the same commitment to authenticity and entertainment that we give to our NBA 2K and MLB 2K franchises.”

2K has a strong history in growing premier sports simulation titles, evidenced by the incredible commercial success of the NBA 2K series, with more than 15 million units of NBA 2K11, NBA 2K12 and NBA 2K13 sold-in to date worldwide. This year, in the first week of its release, NBA 2K13 sold 49 percent more copies in the same time frame than the franchise’s previous record-holder, NBA 2K11.

“2K’s reputation for outstanding quality and dedication to authenticity are a perfect fit for WWE,” added Casey Collins, Executive Vice President, Consumer Products for WWE. “This new partnership will ensure that WWE continues to be one of the leading video game brands in the world and we look forward to continuing the franchise with the benefit of their expertise across a variety of platforms.”

“The development work on the WWE franchise is impressive, and we’re excited to combine our background in developing the NBA 2K series with theirs in this new partnership,” concluded Greg Thomas, Executive Vice President of 2K Sports. “Fans can expect the most authentic WWE experience on game consoles this fall.”

Developed by Yukes, WWE ’14 is not yet rated by the ESRB and will be available for consoles in the fall of 2013.

For more information on 2K, visit

2K is a wholly owned publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO).

About WWE

WWE, a publicly traded company (WWE), is an integrated media organization and recognized leader in global entertainment. The company consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family friendly entertainment on its television programming, pay-per-view, digital media and publishing platforms. WWE programming is broadcast in more than 145 countries and 30 languages and reaches more than 600 million homes worldwide. The company is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, London, Mumbai, Shanghai, Singapore, Istanbul and Tokyo.



Jon Lewis Staff Writer

02/27/2013 at 11:22 PM

WWE 13 surprised me with the wealth of options at the players disposal. The gameplay was also solid enough to keep me entertained for hours on end. Not to mention the ability to dowlnoad CAW's is just awesome for someone who likes to make zany matchups. My only gripe is that after beating Attitude Era mode (which was really well done) there is nothing to do. One of my favorite things about a game like WWE Day of Reckoning 2 (which is currently my favorite WWE game) was that there was a huge story mode surrounding your created wrestler with character progression and choices. If they can add that to the next game, and make some of their other features easier to use (like create a story) i think they will have something great.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

02/27/2013 at 11:27 PM

Did you ever play the Acclaim WWF games, Warzone and Attitude? People hate on them because of their Mortal Kombat-like move lists, but there were some ideas in that game that I'm still waiting to see revisited. You gained crowd heat for doing amazing moves, and lost it if you spammed the same stuff.

I remember fighting a match against Road Dogg and I had beaten him down so bad his life bar was completely empty. I was toying with him, doing my finishing move over and over. The crowd turned on me, started chanting for him, which gave him an attack multiplier. Suddenly, I was fighting for my victory, because he rallied a comeback that took me from full health to critical.

Jon Lewis Staff Writer

02/27/2013 at 11:33 PM

haha, now that sounds awesome. Unfortunately for me, the first WWE/WWF game i played was Wrestlemania 2000 for the N64 which was fun, but i was very young and didnt really understand it other than I liked to kick ass with the Rock, lol. 

Seriously though, that crowd system sounded great. I hope they eventually take that into concideration. Sadly, I cant imagine them making too many large improvements. There are a ton possible, but I don't know, I just imagine a minor improvement here or there. We'll see I guess.

Justin Matkowski Staff Alumnus

02/28/2013 at 12:07 AM

I absolutely friggin loved the AKI N64 games, particularly Wrestlemania 2000 and WCW/NWO Revenge. The mechanics were solid as hell, and they were the only wrestling games I ever played to have those last minute, "what they hell do I have to do to pin this person?!" moments. Those games were a mainstay with me and my roomates at my apartment in West Chester, and I'm suprised the cops never got called on us for the shouting that ensued when this was on rotation.


02/28/2013 at 07:21 AM

I haven't played a wrestling game since Saturday Night Slam Masters on SNES.  That was a fun game.  One of my friends got me into watching RAW last year and it is pretty entertaining.  My favorite part is when the heels get away with cheating, that's so funny!  I'm looking forward to playing as my favorite wrestlers like CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and Dolph Ziggler.  Hopefully you can make Tensai dance in the game too!

Julian Titus Senior Editor

02/28/2013 at 08:13 AM

If there's a Capcom arcade game I want to see come back, it's Saturday Night Slam Masters. 


02/28/2013 at 10:10 PM


wcw vs nwo revenge ... i can still remember how awesome it felt watching that games intro the first time i played it ....


03/04/2013 at 09:50 AM

Well its a good and bad thing I suppose.

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Press Release

2K and WWE® Announce Exclusive Multi-Year Agreement for WWE Video Game Series

New York, NY AND Stamford, Conn. – February 20, 2013 – 2K and WWE (NYSE: WWE) today announced that the...