The first rule of WWE 2K22 is don’t mention WWE 2K20. Oops. Was that too early for a heel turn? 2K’s last crack at sim wrestling was so shambolic it saw WWE 2K21 cancelled, marking the first time in two decades that WWE went an entire calendar year without a full-fat brawler. Here’s the good news: despite all of the above, WWE 2K22 is coming, with the development team already openly discussing possible features, and roster speculation building. How, when and where? All is explained in your WWE 2K22 guide.
WWE 2K22 release date: will it ever happen?
Yes. WWE 2K22 is on the way. Or at least, a sequel to the disastrous WWE 2K20 is in development, following the cancellation of WWE 2K21. However, its naming convention could become something entirely different – and the WWE 2K22 release date is a complete unknown.
“We hear you and we know you want more from the franchise, so we are applying what we’ve learned to the next WWE 2K simulation game with a renewed focus on quality and fun,” said publisher 2K back in April 2020. “As part of that commitment, we are extending the production timeline and will not be releasing a WWE 2K simulation game in 2020. We want to ensure the development team 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.”
WWE 2K22 roster: Angel Garza among expected debutants
Should WWE 2K22 emerge before Christmas 2021, it’ll have been more than two years since the company’s last sim grappler – ensuring a welcome shake up of the WWE 2K22 roster. Before its cancellation, GR ran through a list of expected new faces on the WWE 2K21 roster, and most of those still stand.
John Morrison is ensured of a first series appearance since WWE 12, while guaranteed first timers include T-Bar and Mace from Retribution, Angel Garza, and Dominik Mysterio. The presence of third-brand NXT wrestlers isn’t so assured, but Karrion Kross, Scarlett, Santos Escobar and Dexter Lumis are all strong possibilities.
WWE 2K22 developer: What’s happening with life after Yuke’s?
The controversial decision to cut ties with long-time developer Yuke’s is cited as one of the key reasons for WWE 2K20’s failure. It meant that in-house studio Visual Concepts was left to finish a part-developed title on its own. Yuke’s had helmed the series since its PS1 inception as WWF Smackdown back in the year 2000.
Visual Concepts is still maintaining control of WWE 2K22, although with a new face at its helm. Australian dev Patrick Gilmore, once the kingpin of EA’s beloved Medal Of Honor series, is on board as executive producer, and was active on Twitter during the summer of 2020, seeking fan ideas. At least seven of the dev team also post on Reddit’s WWE Games forum – if you’re looking to interact, this introductory post is a great starting point. There’s also a WWE 2K20 feedback project on the official 2K forums, which the company says is directly influencing WWE 2K21. It all sounds encouraging.
As for Yuke’s, they’ve moved on to a new wrestling sim: the highly anticipated first AEW video game. Head there if you’re looking for a brawler featuring a host of past WWE stars, such as Dean Ambrose, Chris Jericho, and Matt Hardy.
WWE 2K22 cover: who’ll be on the box?
It’s not possible to bet on video gaming covers, but should Ladbrokes start offering odds tomorrow Drew McIntyre would be hot favourite. After toppling Brock Lesnar to become WWE Champion at WrestleMania 36, he spent most of 2020 in possession of Raw’s main belt, only interrupted by a brief Randy Orton reign. McIntyre dropped the title to The Miz at February’s Elimination Chamber show, but should be back on top imminently – and a WWE 2K22 cover would cement his main event status.
Roman Reigns, long-time champ on Smackdown, is the other major contender. Two things count against him in comparison to McIntyre: he’s a heel (bad guy), and – alongside Becky Lynch – was one of the two cover stars of the comically awful WWE 2K20. WWE and 2K would do well to steer clear of links to that project despite Reigns’ dominance and Lynch’s continuing popularity during maternity leave.
WWE 2K22 PS5 and Xbox Series X wishlist: what do fans want to see?
Introduced in Smackdown vs Raw 2006 back on PS2 and Xbox, GM Mode – in which you signed wrestlers then booked feuds and shows, and were awarded ratings for exciting matches and dramatic feuds – remains the series’ most popular feature. Sadly, it was axed after Smackdown vs Raw 2008. Fans have lobbied endlessly for its return ever since.
Reddit poster madrid_357 has a GM Mode concept so comprehensive I can only recommend you read it in full. (Brew a cuppa first.) Highlights include: “Ticket prices of the shows are changeable. You can have multiple sponsors. If you have a good show, you see that in the TV ratings, match ratings, even the new subscribers of WWE Network. You have your shows in different cities: some stadiums could have 50,000 seats while [another] has 30,000 seats. You must plan [financially], and can even hold your show in the WWE Development Center with just 5,000 seats – no costs because of no rental of the arena, but also you won't get many new fans because you stay in your territory.”
At the very least, argues Vanquishx208 on the official 2K forums, GM Mode should be merged with the feature that replaced it. “I'm okay with it being separate from Universe Mode. However, I'm also not opposed to certain aspects of GM Mode being added to Universe Mode. Such as a yearly Draft, Match/Show Ratings, Trades, etc. If these GM Mode features are added to Universe Mode, I think it's important to have an option to turn them off for the Universe players that don't want this aspect of control.”
Fellow poster MADNESS_NH97 argues that in-match physics must be the priority. “The interactivity between moves and the environment needs to improve. I've been asking for this since WWE 2K15. By that I don't mean carry moves, but any move – like a suplex, or powerbomb, or spear – done near the barricade, steps, or ropes. They should connect with these parts of the environment. When doing a German Suplex with Brock Lesnar, towards the barricade, the opponent should be ragdolled into it, instead of both wrestlers just sliding around so the animation plays out the way it does usually.”
For nickvcami on Reddit, it all comes back to the WWE 2K22 roster. “I hope we can introduce way more NXT superstars for the new game. It would be great to play with Karrion Kross, Damien Priest, Walter/Imperium. With the introduction of the NXT superstars we could have a Showcase of the best NXT matches of all time. Just like in WWE 2K14, where we had all of the WrestleManias.”