According to VideoGamesChronicle, 2K Games decided to part ways with Yukes. In a statement to the outlet, a 2K Games spokesperson stated…
“WWE 2K20 will be developed by Visual Concepts, who have worked with Yuke’s on the development of the series since WWE 2K14.
“As we’ve continued to invest in the WWE 2K franchise, we’ve seen the Visual Concepts team display incredible passion, talent and commitment to the future of the series. We thank Yuke’s for their years of partnership and are excited to see what the Visual Concepts team brings to the franchise moving forward.”
Japanese developer Yukes has been known for making wrestling games for the last two decades. They started with a Japanese wrestling title Shin Nippon Pro Wrestling: Toukon Retsuden series on the PSX, and then transitioned into New Japan Pro Wrestling titles while rivaling Aki Corp’s Virtual Pro Wrestling and WWF games that were being made for the N64 under the THQ publishing label in the late 1990s and early 2000s. However, Aki and THQ broke up, paving a way for Yukes to step into the picture, where they began working on WWF Smackdown! and other titles for the wrestling promotion up until this most recent outing, which has been handed off to Visual Concepts.
Visual Concepts was usually in charge of the photogrammetry and object scanning for the WWE 2K games after Yukes began working for 2K Games following the hand-off of the WWE license from THQ to 2K back in 2013, as reported by IGN.
So what is Yukes going to be doing? Working on a new wrestling game intellectual property.
Maybe it’ll be something that hearkens back to their old NJPW days?
While they’ll still provide support for the WWE 2K engine, most of the heavy load is in Visual Concepts’ hands. Yukes, meanwhile, feels they need to get back to making original games and pushing the boundaries on wrestling titles, with producer and senior vice president, Hiromi Furuta, telling VGC…
“Right now, looking at the market demands, players are expecting something new every time we release a game and we feel like we haven’t achieved what we’ve really wanted to do,”
“For example, in many cases we’re still using old assets and we’re not able to do some things in the way that we want to.”
“We are trying to launch a new wrestling game. Of course, we will retain the WWE team, but we are also aware that our creators are beginning to lose sight of their passion and confidence and becoming focused only on completing assigned tasks. That’s not the direction Yuke’s wants to go in. So, in order to compensate, we’re going to start a new wrestling project.”
The first thing that comes to mind is AEW.
The Young Bucks mentioned in an interview with Chris Van Vliet that they were in talks with getting a video game deal established. One would think that perhaps Yukes is fine-tuning their expertise in making a potential AEW video game? No idea.
Back in May Furuta told VGC that they were undecided if the game would be realistic or fantasy-based, and it was only in the early stages of development. What we do know is that they needed to build a lot of new assets from the ground-up to do things that they weren’t able to do with the WWE 2K games. We have no idea what those things are, but so long as it’s pushing into new territory, sort of like back when wrestling games were innovative and unique during the late 1990s and early aughts, I can’t complain.
Meanwhile, if you want more of the same ‘ole, same ‘ole, with a smelly helping of feminism and [current year] politics, you can look to get your hands on WWE 2K20 this fall.
(Thanks for the news tip Cinj)