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WWE 2K22 features, cover, release date and everything you need to know

WWE 2K22
(Image credit: 2K)

WWE 2K22 is finally here, after a two-and-a-half year absence. If all you're looking for is how it plays, then leap straight on over to our WWE 2K22 review – there are still some legacy issues, but it's a colossal improvement on the shambolic WWE 2K20. GM Mode was the feature that scored the most pre-release hype, but what else is new, and where can you see the key roster and DLC details? All the answers await below, in your WWE 2K22 guide.

Watch the WWE 2K22 trailer right here

The first official WWE 2K22 trailer dropped during August's Summerslam event. It was actually the second video look at the new game, but 2K billed its predecessor – more on which shortly – as a 'teaser trailer'. Wrestlers featured include Roman Reigns and Finn Balor, and you can view it below.

WWE 2K22 teaser trailer shows off more footage

WWE 2K22

(Image credit: 2K)

Jump over to our WWE 2K22 announcement story if you'd like to watch the first trailer right away. It features veterans Rey Mysterio and Cesaro going face-to-face – actually, feet-to-face is more accurate – on next-gen, and looks mint. Let's hope WWE 2K22 gameplay matches up to those impressive visuals. 

WWE 2K22 release date was close to WrestleMania

WWE 2K22

(Image credit: 2K)

Even before the trailer dropped, publisher 2K made it clear that a new game was on the way, with vast improvements on WWE 2K20. 

“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.”

The end result was a WWE 2K22 release date of March 11, 2022. As well as landing on PS5 and Xbox Series X, the new game is available for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

WWE 2K22 roster adds Dexter Lumis and Kay Lee Ray

WWE 2K22

(Image credit: 2K)

WWE 2K22 emerged 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 many of those predictions proved accurate.

New faces who debut in WWE 2K22 include Austin Theory, Joaquin Wilde, Kay Lee Ray, Dexter Lumis, and Raquel Gonzalez. For profiles of those newcomers and everyone else in the game, check out our WWE 2K22 roster guide.

There are extra names still to come, too. Ronda Rousey, Omos, Umaga and Indi Hartwell all feature in GR's WWE 2K22 DLC guide.

WWE 2K22 developer is no longer Yuke’s

WWE 2K22

(Image credit: 2K)

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 the WWE series, 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 said directly influenced WWE 2K22.

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 Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, Dean Ambrose, and Chris Jericho.

Who's on the WWE 2K22 cover?

WWE 2K22

(Image credit: 2K)

Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre were considered heavy favourites to get the WWE 2K22 cover gig, but instead the honour goes to veteran cruiserweight legend Rey Mysterio. It's to celebrate his central role in WWE Showcase mode, which revisits classic matches from earlier in his career – including memorable tilts with Eddie Guerrero, Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker. 

For more on Rey Mysterio's front-of-box appearance and the various special editions available, 619 over to GR's WWE 2K22 cover guide.

WWE 2K22 features "hit different" says 2K

WWE 2K22

(Image credit: 2K)

The tagline for WWE 2K22 is: 'It hits different.’ “That [mantra] doesn’t just apply to the game itself but the way we market it and communicate with the press, content creators, and our community,” says 2K global communications manager Al Stavola. "We want to try out new ideas and bring everyone along for the journey."

"You're going to see things earlier than you have before, with more behind-the-scenes [content] than we’ve shown in the past. Transparency is really important. This is a different and huge step in the right direction."

The big new addition is GM Mode. Introduced in Smackdown vs Raw 2006, this beloved feature saw you take on the role of general manager for a brand within WWE: drafting a roster, overseeing feuds, managing individual morale. It was improved upon across the next two games… and then dropped completely. Now it's finally back.

“MyGM has been the most requested addition to the franchise for the better part of a decade,” says creative director Lynell Jinks. “You can expect to draft superstars, book matches, manage contracts, and prove you have what it takes to manage the most successful brand in sports entertainment, progressively working your way up from high school gyms to prime-time TV.”

MyGM is just one of the features scouted out in our essential WWE 2K22 tips guide.

WWE 2K22 PS5 and Xbox Series X wishlist

WWE 2K22

(Image credit: 2K)

Much of the new sim's feature-set was covered in our WWE 2K22 hands-on preview, but it's still worth revisiting what the fans wanted to see given this was a game more than two years in development. 

For instance, Reddit poster madrid_357 had 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 have been 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 argued 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.”

I'm GamesRadar's sports editor, and obsessed with NFL, WWE, MLB, AEW, and occasionally things that don't have a three-letter acronym – such as Chvrches, Bill Bryson, and Streets Of Rage 4. (All the Streets Of Rage games, actually.) Even after three decades I still have a soft spot for Euro Boss on the Amstrad CPC 464+.