During a WWE earnings call this week, chief brand officer Stephanie McMahon expressed the company’s commitment to video games, including its pursuit of a project “in the role-playing space “.
The squared-circle’s muscular machismo seems like a perfect fit for gaming, but WWE’s legacy on that front has been decidedly mixed, with a few fondly remembered arcade games and 16-bit days overshadowed by the series. WWE 2K, including the most recent entries McMahon brought up on the call:
“We have been extremely pleased with the relaunch of our premium video game console franchise, WWE 2K,” McMahon said. “After taking just over a year to improve the game engine, we worked hand-in-hand with our partners at Take-Two Interactive, listened to our customers and fans, and regained their trust by delivering a game that has exceeded their expectations. WWE 2K22 was a commercial and critical success, with the highest Metacritic scores on Xbox and PlayStation platforms in franchise history, with over 5.6 million hours watched on Twitch at this day.
The previous entry, 2K20, was a notorious flop, with graphical and gameplay glitches making the rounds on YouTube and an expensive $90 Digital Deluxe Edition doing little to help its reputation. 2K22 fared better, but the “highest Metacritic scores on Xbox and Playstation platforms in franchise history” are in the 70s, with the PC version down to 72. Numbers decent, but not really encouraging for a high streak.
Continuing, McMahon addresses the part of the call that interests us: “We continue to see strength in our mobile games performance with 2K and Scopely, SuperCard and Champions, and recently signed a new agreement in the gaming space of role to be announced shortly.
So there’s a WWE RPG in the works, apparently. The fact that McMahon mentions this project in the same breath as WWE mobile games may imply that it won’t be a full console/PC release, but my mind is still blown at the thought.
Could we see something centered around a full career/story mode, taking a garage gym person to the heights of sports-entertainment superstardom? It could have character building and classes with different archetypes, murderers and speedsters, with abilities that affect your performance in and out of the ring.
Maybe it could have a BioWare-style morality system, with a heel/face meter and party approval from other wrestlers in your stable. The would-be game developer could also go in an entirely different direction, perhaps another wrestling-themed fantasy world like the metal-themed dimension of Brütal Legend.
We probably shouldn’t get too far ahead of ourselves, especially considering where McMahon next takes the gaming part of the presentation:
“We also continue to evaluate the metaverse, both the walled garden environments that already exist, as well as the decentralized properties,” McMahon said. “Expect to hear more in the months to come”
Wrap it in people, it’s a wrap. These are the New Day NFTs from now on.