After almost a 20-year partnership, publisher 2K Sports has split with long-time WWE 2K developer Yuke’s. Instead, the wrestling games will now be developed by Visual Concepts, a studio that has been co-developing the series’ games since 2013.
Interestingly, Yuke’s will now develop its own wrestling IP, with the intention of competing against WWE 2K. The Japanese studio expressed its concern for the future of the WWE 2K games, pointing to 2K Sports as the reason for the recent decline of the series. Although, WWE 2K19 was referred to by some as a return to form for the franchise.
In a statement from Yuke’s senior vice president and producer Hiromi Furuta, it was revealed that the developer was wanting to go in a new direction for some time now:
We are 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.
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.
According to 2K Sports, the publisher seems to be happy with the change:
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.
WWE 2K20 will be developed by Visual Concepts, and is expected to release on October 22, 2019 for PS4 and elsewhere.
At this point, it’s unclear what the new Yuke’s wrestling IP will look like. Since the project has been labeled as a new IP, we likely won’t see the studio take another professional wrestling company under its belt.
What do you make of this sudden split? Let us know in the comments!
[Source: Video Games Chronicle]