After much deliberation and speculation, WWE has finally decided to step into the mobile-gaming ring.
Since teaming up with 2K Games following the release of WWE ‘13, the sports entertainment giants have dabbled with developing games for mobile devices throughout the past year. WWE Supercard, a virtual card game debuted in August 2014, while WWE Immortals, a Mortal Kombat style 2D side scrolling fighting game came out in January.
Per a press release solicited to Bleacher Report, Visual Concepts president Greg Thomas outlined what its newest game, WWE 2K, seeks to accomplish.
“As the first simulation-based WWE video game for mobile devices, WWE 2K provides an opportunity to experience virtual WWE action anywhere and at any time,” Thomas said. “Inspired by the gameplay and authenticity of WWE 2K for consoles, WWE 2K offers WWE and mobile gaming enthusiasts a variety of popular WWE Superstars, game modes and more in a premium mobile format.”
For a debuting game, WWE 2K brings its fair share of hype to the table, thanks to a heavy following on Playstation and Xbox gaming consoles. But unlike its console counterpart, WWE 2K is already facing a healthy dose of competition for the title of “best mobile-wrestling game.”
Game developer Mat Dickie, who recently spoke to Wrestledelphia in a two-part Q&A interview, is arguably the reigning and defending champion of the mobile-wrestling genre. Wrestling Revolution 3D quickly became a global phenomenon, having accumulated over 10 million downloads on Google Play since its release in the fourth quarter of 2014.
The positive reception to Dickie’s game has proven that there is a market for 3D wrestling on mobile. In regards to the popularity that the WWE 2K series brings with it, it should provide stiff competition for Dickie.
Still, Dickie welcomes the competition and believes it could ultimately benefit his series.
“I welcome the forthcoming games from both WWE and NJPW, because it will take the weight of the world off my shoulders and create a more even playing field,” Dickie said. “Each brand caters to a slightly different kind of wrestling fan, so it’s good that WWE fans finally have somewhere else to go for the real deal. That allows me to focus on the aspects of wrestling that appeal to me, which is more of a Japanese style.”
From a visual standpoint, WWE 2K certainly looks to be the real deal. The graphics draw parallels to some of the later Smackdown vs Raw games on the Playstation 2. At the time those games were released, it would have been inconceivable to think that type of technology could be possible for phones.
With impressive graphics, however, come large file sizes which could put a big dampener on what the game may be capable of. Large file sizes mean longer loading times should be expected, along with little flexibility in terms of match types and character selection.
Wrestling Revolution 3D in contrast allows for up to 20 characters on the screen at once along with a roster of 200 characters spanning over seven different promotions. Though the game sacrifices high resolution graphics for more cartoony objects and avatars, it allows for an array of possibilities for the user to take advantage both inside and outside the ring.
While WWE 2K’s graphics are a great touch, conventional wisdom would point out that they are not as important on mobile devices because most mobile games receive critical acclaim for gameplay, which is a lot easier for developers to control.
Dickie believes that a key to his game’s success is its ability to pack a wallop in such a small file size. His latest update brings Wrestling Revolution 3D to 107 megabytes. WWE Immortals, in contrast is 1.3 gigabytes—over ten times the size of Dickie’s game.
“The 2K game looks good thus far, but that would worry me because it’s the kiss of death for gameplay,” Dickie said. “It usually means large file sizes, limited content, and high price tags, so we’ll have to see if they strike the right balance. Wrestling Revolution 3D did 10 million downloads because it’s light on its feet. A heavyweight contender will struggle to keep up with that.”
WWE 2K’s features upon release include simulation style gameplay, a Create-a-Superstar mode, a career mode, a tutorial, and a multiplayer mode—the only thing missing in Dickie’s mobile games. A bad multiplayer, however, can take away from even the best wrestling game, so including multiplayer in 2K’s first mobile installment is a huge gamble on the part of WWE and 2K Sports.
Time will tell if WWE 2K can keep up with Wrestling Revolution 3D and the already established community for mobile-wrestling games.
WWE 2K is currently available for both iOS and Android devices for the price of $7.99.
Wrestledelphia.com staff writer Jack Goodwillie can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jackgoodwillie.