Back in April, 2K announced they would not be publishing a simulation-based WWE game in 2020, and instead, they will be releasing WWE 2K Battlegrounds later this year. Patrick Gilmore was also hired as Visual Concepts new Executive Producer to oversee development of the next simulation game which is expected to be released in 2021.
Gilmore recently held an AMA on Reddit to discuss the future of the series and revealed the developers are taking inspiration from WWF No Mercy and SmackDown! Here Comes The Pain as they look to overhaul gameplay in the next simulation-based title.
Gilmore wrote: "Core gameplay is one of the major investments we're making in the next instalment - one of six pillars we are focused on disproportionately in development. We are looking at much-loved previous games like No Mercy or Smackdown! Here Comes The Pain, along with top franchise instalments, and more modern wrestling and fighting games to build an all-new philosophical foundation for the game. People who hope that we holistically adopt the control scheme or philosophy from one of their favourite games are likely to be disappointed; we are trying to combine the best ideas out there into a brand new wrestling experience that sets a new standard.
"The gameplay team is focused on Accessibility, Depth and Wrestling Experience. For Accessibility, we're obsessed with a simple, intuitive interface which has meaning and depth in a wide variety of contexts - i.e. the game is a lot smarter about what the player is trying to do given a gameplay situation (in a grapple, on the ropes, against a turnbuckle, etc.), with consistent inputs regardless of situation. New players should be able to accidentally pull off awesome moves just by playing with and experimenting with controls.
"For Depth, we're looking a lot at ring position, deeper combos and "working" moves, limb damage, technical capabilities, match momentum and unlocks, and rock-paper-scissors (RPS) strategies by archetype and player style. Depth doesn't come from the manual skill of pressing the proper buttons but from the psychological game of anticipating and countering your opponent's strategy, and this needs to be built in from the very foundation, so expect a significant evolution in gameplay with the next instalment."