When it comes to the WWE 2K20 roster list, developer Visual Concepts only had to get one thing right: include Bray Wyatt's "The Fiend" character.
And the latest release does just that. Becky Lynch and Roman Reigns might share the cover, but it's The Fiend dominating much of the pre-release hype.
Not only is the figure plastered on most of the promotion, he's the headline act in a new development called WWE 2K20 Originals:
When it comes right down to it, the roster is the first thing 2K20 will earn an A-plus grade for before the game even releases by way of simple inclusion. The 200-plus Superstar list, counting alternates, is not only massive, but it also doesn't seem to feature any major omissions.
That's a big change from a year ago, when Tommaso Ciampa was left out. But he's one of the most notable newcomers here alongside The Fiend. Fan requests such as The Brian Kendrick, Buddy Murphy, Io Shirai, Matt Riddle, Nikki Cross and Rhea Ripley are in as well.
If there is a notable hit against the game's roster, it comes in the form of different versions of Hulk Hogan, Chyna and Mankind sitting as exclusives to non-base versions of the game. But an interesting counterbalance comes in the form of creative Superstars from 2K20 Originals such as Aleister Black "Wicked" and Randy Orton "Unleashed" to match the theme of The Fiend's content pack.
And those content packs are a big talking point when running down the list of new online options. The Fiend's Originals pack offers up creation parts and alternate characters right out of something like a horror movie.
But the biggest new online option is a massive, albeit familiar one—lobbies.
Lobbies return to the WWE video game landscape with 2K20 and provide a host of options, as noted by the game's official website:
"If you have an exact online multiplayer match in mind, creating a lobby is the way to go. Select from a wide variety of match types and rules with up to six players. Choose the arena, Superstar gender, and even toggle the restriction to only allow default WWE Superstars (a.k.a. Fair Play)..."
There is good functionality mentioned here, too, as lobby sessions can be private and friend-invite only until it comes time to round it out with public players.
A quick play option also exists thanks to the ability to browse public lobbies and join the fray. While this might not sound like much for players who frequent other video games, it has been a sorely needed feature of WWE games for some time.
Also interesting is the inclusion of what 2K20 calls "Tonight's Match" that promises new multiplayer matches daily and keeps things fresh with different rules, types of matches and even arenas. Any sort of always-changing element like this to keep players coming back for more is always a good sign.
The challenge with almost any annual sports release is keeping things fresh with innovation via new features, as well as keeping up with an ever-changing roster. That is even more challenging for a game trying to chronicle the WWE Universe.
And yet, 2K20 seems to hit all the right notes here before release. The roster is robust and mostly all-inclusive and new innovative wrinkles in ease of use (lobbies) and sheer experience (daily alterations) show that the game is taking a serious approach to the biggest hurdles it faces.