2K Games won’t release an annual WWE wrestling sim this year, effectively meaning that WWE 2K21 has been canceled, according to comments made on WWE’s quarterly investor call on Thursday. WWE interim chief financial officer Frank Riddick said “there’s not going to be a launch of a game this year” in response to a question about the release of WWE 2K21.
WWE 2K20 was a widely regarded bomb when it came to video game quality, given low scores all around due to bad graphics, bugs galore, and a generally rushed development cycle after longtime developer Yukes Inc left their deal with publisher 2K Games (For a rumored breakout from the WWE video game series in order to help the newly created wrestling company All Elite Wrestling/AEW develop and publish their first video game), thus leaving 2K Games to have to re-develop everything to do with WWE 2K20 from scratch. The result was a game so bad that we here at The Outerhaven refused to review it upon release and only just tried playing with the release of patch 1.08, the final patch for WWE 2K20.
The WWE’s apparent confirmation of WWE 2K21’s fate comes about two weeks after a report that 2K wasn’t going to release a wrestling sim in 2020. Justin Leeper, a former writer on the WWE 2K franchise, cited “reliable sources” in a YouTube video in which he said there will be no WWE 2K simulation game this year. In that same video, Leeper said that 2K would publish “a different kind of WWE game from a different kind of game developer that’s not Visual Concepts,” but did not provide specifics.
A lot of people in the WWE 2K Games community have long held the belief that WWE 2K21 should be cancelled giving 2K Games and their new partner, whoever that is, enough time to develop WWE 2K22 into something that is worth the expectations of the WWE video games. This development can hopefully mean good things for the WWE 2K franchise. While we don’t know if the cancellation was due to the failure of WWE 2K20, or if this is just another delay due to COVID-19 impacting the development time of the game in general (Wrestling games finish roster, scanning of people, etc just after Wrestlemania; which was a closed set production due to the pandemic).