Powerhouses who collided at WrestleMania XX—Brock Lesnar and Goldberg—feature prominently in the early glimpses of the WWE 2K17 video game.
The annual virtual celebration of WWE action will have Lesnar on the cover, and he promises to play a major part in the marketing campaign. Goldberg, who hasn't been seen in WWE since that WrestleMania showdown with Lesnar, serves as an incentive to pick up the game early.
How they will figure into this year's showcase mode and who else will tangle with them in WWE 2K17 are among the biggest unanswered questions as information begins to trickle in about the game.
WWE has made a number of aesthetic and personnel changes in the past few weeks as part of the return to the brand split. That will upend 2K's plans to make its latest WWE game as accurate as possible.
Shelton Benjamin is coming back to SmackDown. Finn Balor is headed to Raw. NXT added Bobby Roode. Folding those changes into the video game will be tough.
Kyle Lewis of Three Man Booth joked that fans wouldn't mind if WWE 2K17 didn't come out on time:
Unless developers take Lewis' advice, WWE 2K17 will be released on October 11, for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One and Xbox 360 systems. Until then, speculation and sneak peeks will have to satisfy fans of the series.
Revealed Roster So Far
While fans don't yet know all the possible fantasy matches WWE 2K17 has to offer, word is already out that the McMahons will invade the game.
Stephanie McMahon announced on Twitter that she, her brother Shane and her father are in the game:
That's good news if one wants to feature McMahon family drama in virtual form or have Shane and Stephanie lead SmackDown and Raw, respectively, as they now do in real life.
Matthew Artus of WWE.com provided an early list of who else comprises the WWE 2K17 roster. John Cena, Ultimate Warrior and current women's champion Sasha Banks are all confirmed as part of the game. This will mark Banks' video game debut.
Artus also listed Goldberg, cover star Lesnar and the wrestlers who come with the NXT special edition.
As for who else will join those names, Vince Ingenito noted on IGN that he will release a weekly roster reveal on Tuesday mornings. The mystery about who will join Cena, Goldberg and The Boss in the game won't last long then.
NXT Edition, Goldberg Bonus
NXT fans will be thrilled to discover that the developmental brand has inspired a special collector's edition of WWE 2K17.
In previous years, the game has celebrated Undertaker, Hulk Hogan and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin this way. This time, it's NXT's turn. As seen on WWE2K.com, players will be able to buy a loaded version of the game with plenty of NXT-themed goodies.
The package includes the game plus Shinsuke Nakamura, Nia Jax and Apollo Crews as playable Superstars.
The NXT special edition also features a lithograph designed by WWE artist Rob Schamberger and signed by Nakamura, bonus points to use in MyCareer mode, a trading card, a Finn Balor figurine and more.
Fans can also rewrite Goldberg's WWE legacy thanks to a pre-order bonus.
2K is offering the former WCW world champion as a playable character to those who pre-order the game. In addition to nabbing Goldberg, fans will get alternative attire for him, as well as exclusive WCW Monday Nitro and Halloween Havoc arenas.
Goldberg follows Sting and Ultimate Warrior as names from the past to sign on as exclusive WWE 2K17 characters.
Speculation, Wish Lists
2K has yet to reveal what will be at the center of this year's showcase. The Attitude Era and WrestleMania have both been the subjects of their own game modes in previous editions of WWE 2K.
Brian Mazique, writer for Bleacher Report and Forbes, believes WCW will be next. He spelled out his reasons why WWE's former rival will play a major role in this year's game in a recent YouTube clip:
The Monday Night War between WCW and WWE is one of the most important periods in wrestling history. It's feasible that 2K would want to explore that, allowing fans to relive The Outsiders invading WCW or Goldberg's winning streak coming to an end.
And after a year when several popular female NXT stars didn't make the game's roster, fans will be anxious to see if 2K rectifies that this time around.
What Culture's Ross Tweddell believes WWE 2K17 must feature more of the women's division, including Becky Lynch, Charlotte and more. He also wrote that 2K needs to add the ability to roam backstage and increase the number of match types.
WWE 2K16 didn't offer the Inferno match, 2-out-of-3 Falls match or backstage brawl as options.
Paul Heyman has a request of his own. Lesnar's manager wants to see former ECW commentator Joey Styles in this year's game.
Heyman told Ben Wilson of Games Radar: "Why? Because I would like to see Brock Lesnar 'F5' Joey Styles. I'd love to hear what it sounds like when you're in midair and you're coming crashing down to the mat and you hear, 'Oh-myyyyyyy-God!'"
Announcers haven't stepped from behind the commentator's desk in the WWE 2K series, but adding Styles' voice to the proceedings would be a smart move.
It won't be long before fans find out whether Styles and other ECW alum are part of the video game. Information about the latest installment in the WWE 2K series always comes flooding out around SummerSlam.