If there is one thing we love in the world of video games, it is a good dumpster fire.
Now, occasionally (we’re looking at you No Man’s Sky), a game releases to boos and ends up putting on a show that wins nothing but praise from critics and gamers. Whether or not WWE2K20 will have that kind of story or not remains to be seen, but right now it is the most radioactive new game released this year…possibly in a long time. What are the complaints? What aren’t the complaints? On top of being another entry in an annual series that has posted continuously declining numbers, it looks like WWE2K20 is a step backwards in almost every way over the previous game in the series.
Please note, we’re not huge fans of wrestling games and, honestly, the release of this (among others) often escapes our attention. But what makes this so newsworthy and interesting is that it is a huge, glaring example of a company choosing to put money over consumers and the result is a complete disaster.
Could this be the end of the WWE series?
Maybe, maybe not, but we’re pretty sure there are going to be some tough questions for the devs. And man, are they getting it right now. You see, even if it isn’t relevant for some of us, the WWE games are important to a pretty huge crossover segment of the gaming audience that enjoys WWE events. Seeing things like “dumpster fire” and, worst of all, “cash grab” attached to your franchise have to be heartrending.
You might be wondering: Is there any evidence of this or is it all hyperbole? Well, the graphics are noticeably worse over the previous year. You don’t have to be a WWE gamer to notice that aspect. But the number of glitches being reported, many of them game breaking, is just mind boggling.
Couldn’t the team just phone it in and use last year’s game with new stats? Apparently not and, like everything that starts with big ideas, WWE2K20 is crashing on all fronts it seems. To quote a litany of issues cited by Kotaku, “freezing and crashing glitches, rampant animation problems, missing fan-favorite modes like Create A Championship, missing features like online wrestler entrances and online user-created arenas, online lag, truly unfortunate character models for high-profile stars like The Rock and John Cena, nightmare hair, a create-a-character face scan feature that gives life to cosmic horror slug monsters, and a glitch that causes clones of wrestlers to dot the ring as though summoned by an irate Naruto.”
Some have pointed out that the problems with WWE2K20 mirror those of the larger franchise but we’re not here for that analysis.
What we find is another warning to developers and publishers to be careful with valuable IP and that, in this era, you will not get away with subpar games.
Not even for a few hours. Back in the day, companies could release something half baked and make a buck off of it.
But now the complaints will overwhelm any positive marketing released on the game and it just ratchets up the risks of releasing a subpar product that much more. Further, let’s not pretend that devs aren’t aware of when they do this. It’s just up to audiences to punish them when they do and it looks like the WWE2K20 furore is giving just that warning.
Kehl Bayern is our staff video game news writer and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, he is also the author of science fiction thriller Animus Proxy. You can follow him on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.