The announcement came on an earnings call for investors during which WWE CEO Vince McMahon offered numerous updates on his organization following the first quarter of 2020.
This year will mark the first time since the 1990s that a game in the WWE 2K series, previously known as WWE SmackDown!, will not be made. The series began in 2000 with the original WWE SmackDown!.
Per Marc Middleton of Wrestling Inc., WWE Interim Chief Financial Officer Frank Riddick broke the news on the call after being asked if a video game was in the company's budget. Riddick said the game was canceled but did not provide an official reason.
A report from ex-WWE SmackDown vs. Raw video game writer Justin Leeper said (h/t Jeremy Lambert of Fightful) on April 11 that he "heard from reliable sources" the game would be shelved:
Lambert also provided more information.
"Leeper continued, saying 2K is publishing a different kind of WWE game from a different developer that's not Visual Concepts. Leeper went on to say that WWE 2K22 won't be released on next generation consoles.
"Leeper previously reported that the budget for WWE 2K21 would be slashed and developers had quit after the release of WWE 2K20, which underperformed in sales and was heavily criticized by fans due to glitches. Yuke's and 2K split months before the game was set to release, which reportedly contributed to the problems in WWE 2K20."
Alex McCarthy of TalkSPORT reached out to 2K about the cancellation rumors on April 14 and received the following response: "We don’t comment on rumors and speculation."
WWE 2K20 was not well-received. Of note, Mitchell Saltzman of IGN.com gave it a 4.3 on a 10-point scale, calling the game a "buggy mess."
There isn't official word yet on the long-term future of the WWE 2K series. Per Middleton, Riddick was not asked about WWE2K22 on the call.