After lackluster sales of its previous WWE 2K title, game developers 2K are at work on a new installment in their simulated wrestling game series called “WWE 2K Battlegrounds.” The company scrapped plans for a “WWE 2K21” game that was set to release next fall and instead will focus its efforts the new “Battlegrounds game which is scheduled to launch this fall, 2K, and parent company Take-Two Interactive Software said in an announcement Monday.
Developer Saber Interactive will create the multiplayer title. The studio was behind the effort to add online multiplayer game modes in 2K’s “NBA 2K” title.
2K also addressed in its announcement the poor sales the last “WWE 2K20” title generated — which had lackluster sales thanks to repeated glitches. The title received generally terrible reviews from videogame critics including GamesRadar, which called it “simultaneously playable and terrible.”
“If Schrödinger made a wrestling game, this would be it. Beneath the mess, behind the glitches, there’s a great sim desperately scrapping to get out,” GamesRadar reviewer Ben Wilson wrote at the time of its release.
Reviewer ImpulseGamer wrote on fan review forum Metacritic that “WWE 2K20” was “ugly, unplayable, and filled with glitches,” and added, “not even the biggest wrestling fan should pick up WWE 2K20 in its current state.”
Take-Two Interactive heard the complaints and said it plans to correct the issues before the new “WWE Battlegrounds” game is released. In the company’s fiscal third-quarter earnings call in February, CEO Strauss Zelnick said, “while we’re disappointed that WWE 2K20 did not meet our expectations, both in terms of sales and quality, 2K is actively working with visual concepts to ensure that these issues are addressed in the future.
“The WWE brand continues to expand worldwide, and there remains a substantial long-term opportunity to grow our WWE 2K series by improving the quality of the game,” Zelnick added.
2K also said it is making changes to the title to make it more playable. “We’ve heard and appreciate your feedback, and continue to listen to you closely. Since launch, we’ve released five title updates, addressing hundreds of reported concerns, and have released four WWE 2K20 originals (downloadable content) expansions to build on and improve the experience,” the company stated Monday.
Take-Two Interactive operates two gaming studios, 2K and Rockstar Games, which distributes the popular “Grand Theft Auto” and “Red Dead Redemption” titles. Take-Two’s third-quarter revenue in 2019 was $930.1 million, down roughly 29% from $1.2 billion in the previous year. The company’s third-quarter net income was roughly $164 million.
Check out a teaser trailer for “Battlegrounds” below: