With a new publisher in 2K Sports, a revamped animation system and a special pre-order bonus, “WWE 2K14” is planning for an "ultimate" wrestling game this fall.
Always a favorite among fans and gamers, the first build of “WWE 2K14,” made available to game critics in New York City on Monday, featured a new navigation system and animations that 2K said will make the game more alive than ever. For the first time in series history, wrestlers will talk to their opponents after they’ve performed moves on them, as well adjust their wrist bands and wipe the sweat off their faces in between moves.
"I am really impressed with the game so far," said Jason Fanelli, contributor at GamesRadar.com said. "At first, it felt very similiar to last year's game, but after a while, you begin to see the intricacies, from the animations to the improvments in the reversal system. It just makes for a better experience overall. Those little things end up making it feel so much closer to what you see on television."
The added level of realism 2K Sports Senior Game Designer Bryan Williams says sets the game apart from its predecessors.
“We’re giving players more control over the action,” Williams said. “We’ve greatly improved the pacing of matches and sped things up. Our game isn’t ‘Street Fighter Ultra,’ but we’ve definitely made things quicker. When you watch wrestling, it’s very fluid and that’s what we wanted to recreate.”
The WWE series has also been known for a cast of current and legendary performers and “WWE 14” features one of the most iconic performers in WWE history. After legal squabbles prevented him from being a part of “Smackdown Here Comes the Pain,” former WWF champion, The Ultimate Warrior joins the game’s roster as an exclusive character, available only to those who preorder the game.
Warrior’s participation in the game is a monumental one. For over a decade, fans have created him via the previous game’s create-a-wrestler tool and cried out for the legend to officially take part. Although he’s not a gamer himself, Warrior admitted he gets a kick out of seeing himself in video game form.
“You never think while you’re doing something that 25 years later, you’ll be in a video game for it,” Warrior said. “And that people want to play with it, mess around it and the energy will still be pertinent. There’s no way to explain it other than say that it’s humbling.”
The addition of Warrior and new animations is just the beginning of what “WWE 14” will be remembered as, Williams said, adding that a bevy of new moves have already been confirmed. Williams also promised more gameplay additions and “fun” content will find its way to the finished product as well, making “WWE 2K14” one of the most deepest wrestling games ever created.
“I, honestly, in my heart of hearts, think this is most complete wrestling game I’ve had the honor of working on,” Williams said. “The pressure is on us, in a good way. We need that. I think in a five years from now, people will remember the first 2K wrestling game and say ‘That was the one.’”
"WWE 2K14" is scheduled for an October 29 release on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.