Much has changed surrounding the WWE and video game landscapes since the WWE 2K series last released a new title.
Then again, some things—like cover star Rey Mysterio—stay the same.
WWE 2K22 from developer Visual Concepts is the first entry in the series since October of 2019 and, given the hiatus and release of next-generation consoles, it might be the most-hyped entry ever.
It's only fitting, then, that WWE slapped a generation-spanning legend like Mysterio on the cover:
Mysterio's the headliner for one of the most interesting, if not strange rosters to reside in a wrestling video game release.
Over the course of WWE 2K22's development, WWE released or saw the departure of 80-plus Superstars as the NXT brand got rearranged and the company decided to trim the roster. As such, Superstars no longer with the company, such as Cesaro, remain on the roster.
Interestingly, Mysterio's son, Dominik Mysterio, is one of the most notable new additions to the roster:
- Dominik Mysterio: 79 overall
- Hollywood Hogan (nWo 4-Life Edition): 92
- Eric Bischoff (nWo 4-Life Edition): 69
- Kevin Nash (nWo 4-Life Edition): 90
- Scott Hall (nWo 4-Life Edition): 90
- Syxx (nWo 4-Life Edition): 88
- Ministry of Darkness (Undertaker Immortal Pack): 93
- Phantom Mask (Undertaker Immortal Pack): 88
- Boneyard Match (Undertaker Immortal Pack): 91
Other new notable additions to the roster listed above come from various editions of the game via the Undertaker Immortal Pack and nWo 4-Life Edition. Given the presence of a season pass and an announced five DLC packs, it's safe to presume the roster will keep morphing and growing to better represent the real-life broadcasts—never mind potentially dipping into history for more legends, too.
Of course, roster composition wouldn't be all that important if the game itself was upgraded in a number of ways.
Gameplay, for example, gets a noted improvement and new features thanks to a revamping of the combat system. This won't feel like WWE 2K games of old thanks to the presence of a new combo system and a trio of different ways to go on the defensive, which opens the door for versatile counters.
As would-be players can hear in the gameplay deep dive, the goal was to modernize things, make sure it has pick-up-and-play potential and also a nice skill ceiling that lets veteran players really shine:
As far as other new features, this year's release isn't holding back on going all-in as far as innovation in the hopes this time out truly feels different. MyRISE is the new story mode where players inject a created male or female Superstar into a story. And MyFACTION is the series' take on the popular card-collecting modes found in other sports titles like Madden.
While those are going to be hot-ticket items simply because they feel refreshing compared to more recent releases, WWE 2K22's headlining act is the return of a MyGM mode.
That's a throwback, as it's a mode that hasn't been in the series since 2007. At its most simplistic, it allows players to take control of a weekly show like Raw or NXT, draft and manage a roster, its weekly shows and events and listen to fan feedback in order to get the proper reactions:
It's hardly as simple as that, though. Things like commissioner goals on a weekly basis will task players with mixing things up and offer big rewards that can boost ratings. Similar to GM modes found in other 2K titles, players will also get to directly interact with Superstars, who come to the player via text and request certain things, such as promises.
As a whole, MyGM sounds like a good embodiment of pretty much everything about WWE 2K22—there are very basic things on the surface level, but everything from gameplay to the depth of the top new features offers a beneath-the-surface experience that players will want to experience.
Based on the early hype and details, it sounds like the WWE 2K brand could hit on a big resurgence, which players will get to find out for themselves on launch day, March 11.