WWE 2K‘s Universe Mode has been a hot point of contention since its inception in 2010 with SmackDown vs Raw 2011. It’s been 7 years since the mod debuted, however, Visual Concepts and Yuke’s have detailed this year’s Universe Mode and it seems like a doozy.
First things first, Rivalries and Storylines have quite a few changes applied to them from previous years.
Rivalries are split into two different types, Potential Rivalries and Active Rivalries.
As the Superstars compete in their matches, perform promos or perform run-ins on each other, a Potential Rivalry will be established between them. Looking at the Rivalries menu, you can see a meter for each Potential rivalry and the state it’s in. This meter will build up as the interactions continue between the potential rivals during their matches. Once the meter is full, it’ll enter a “Standby” state and move into the next available Active Rivalry slot in the following show. Think of Potential Rivalries as the build-up to a full-fledged rivalry between Superstars.
Setting up potential rivalries can be random and come in the form of promos, cutscenes, and run-ins. Rankings, relationships, a Superstar’s crowd reactions and their personalities can influence the chance and type of interaction that occurs. Active Rivalries, on the other hand, are the result of all the build-up, which makes the rivalry official. The payoff varies based on the Superstars involved or things like climbing the ranks or title match opportunities.
The types of rivalries will depend on the intensity of the rivalry:
- Low (Green): Sportsman-like conduct between the rivals; in short, a “friendly” rivalry;
- Medium (Yellow): Rivals are disrespectful and confrontational or growing frustrated from being on the losing end;
- High (Orange): Rivals are resorting to and responding with cheap shots and distractions against each other;
- Very High (Red): The rivalry has become hostile, with Superstars attacking each other.
Now, the rivalry intensity can increase based on the interaction between Superstars. A rivalry can start at Medium after someone gets called out, and can then change to High after a sucker-punch during the match in the following week. If you choose to create your own rivalries, you can set the intensity, increasing the possibilities of what kinds of rivalries can happen.
Calendars and PPVs have been changed to reflect the current Brand Extension, allowing for how the story system handled calendars with inconsistent PPV dates. There isn’t much revealed, as this is a back-end fix, but according to 2K, the result is that storylines will work regardless of when they start/when the next PPV is happening.
WWE 2K18 will add Power Rankings, which will rank each Superstar based on their success in the ring. Championships do define the best Superstars of a show, but Power Rankings reflect the best of the WWE Universe. Elevating your rank in the Power Rankings comes down to winning high profile matches, championships and coming out ahead in rivalries.
Something we wanted to represent in Universe Mode is how some Superstars push past their limits and go on an unstoppable run, as well as how the underdogs can fight their way up to the very top to win and defend championship gold. Power Rankings will allow Superstars to achieve these kinds of runs by boosting them with temporary attribute bonuses if they can climb high enough in the Power Rankings. This allows low-powered Superstars to fight their way to championships and match up with the best of them or turn an already powerful Superstar into an unstoppable force.
Goals are also another new addition to WWE 2K18 Universe Mode this year. Yuke’s and Visual Concepts wanted to articulate specific motivations for the Superstars, stating that it has been a challenge for them in previous years. Implementing personal goals for the Superstars creates the depth that you see while watching WWE programming on TV, and gives players a reason to play through rivalries in Universe Mode. Goals will have an impact on the types of matches and rivalries that get booked for the Superstars. In addition, you can create goals for the Superstars, so you’ll be able to have some suggestive control over Superstar booking.
Matches and match types have been improved upon. Eight-man matches will be included in Universe, such as 8-Man Battle Royals and 4v4 tag matches. These matches can be customized, along with the match cards to suit your needs. You can even add the custom matches that you create in the Creation Suite, allowing for more control over your Universe. One fun fact is that the chance of one Superstar outclassing another is very real. This creates Squash match chances, putting opponents in a position where they have to do a good amount of offense to survive or take that quick L.
WWE 2K18 releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Steam on October 17. Pre-order the PlayStation 4, Xbox One or Nintendo Switch versions of the game, and receive the game 4 days early on October 13, along with 2 playable versions of Kurt Angle as a pre-order bonus. Deluxe, Digital Deluxe and Cena ‘Nuff purchases will afford you the WWE 2K18 Season Pass and two additional playable versions of John Cena, along with Batista and Rob Van Dam.