WWE have reportedly held talks with EA (Electronic Arts) as their relationship with 2K Sports appears to be coming to an end.
Just hours before WWE 2K22 is released into the world, a new report has claimed that the deal between Take-Two Interactive, the parent company of 2K Sports, and WWE could be coming to an end. Furthermore, “multiple sources” have claimed that WWE have held talks with EA over a deal which would see WWE games move to the publisher.
The report from Mike Straw, via Fightful Select, notes that WWE 2K22 is seen as a “make or break” release for the series, with it’s success or failure being key for future WWE games. The latest agreement between the two sides was signed in 2016, and is believed to have been for six years, with the option of an extension.
Should WWE 2K22 not live up to expectations, a deal between WWE and EA could become “greater possibility than ever before.” Talks between the two sides have been ongoing for a number of years, beginning after the disappointing release of WWE 2K20.
“WWE has shown a lot of frustration with the reception and lack of success of recent games,” one source said. “The gaming market is a major selling point for them, and they believe they’ve fallen behind the competition.”
Regarding this point, the report goes on to say that WWE feel that their games have been given less resources than other popular 2K titles such as the NBA 2K series.
While the budget allocated to the development of WWE games has fallen every year since the release of WWE 2K15. In addition, things have not been running 100% smoothly with the creation of the latest offering, with some members of the 2K Next Makers program expressing that they may leave once their commitment to the latest game is over.
The WWE 2K series came into being following the bankruptcy of former publisher THQ. While the game was published by 2K Sports in the early days of the partnership, long-time WWE Games developer Yuke’s remained a major part of the development alongside 2K developer Visual Concepts (VC). In fact, it wasn’t until the development of WWE 2K20 in 2019 that Yuke’s left the series.
Although Yukes claimed there was no hard feelings over the split, Visual Concepts Creative Director Lynell Jinks said that it was forced by 2K.
With all of that being said, there is still a possibility that the existing partnership will continue.
“The development team at VC is of the belief things will continue as normal,” one source close to the game said. “If anything is changing, no one’s been given even a hint of it.
“2K is confident in it continuing,” they said.
Another person within the WWE 2K22 team feels the team has put so much effort into improving the game that it’ll convince those making the decisions to move forward together.
“It’s basically a brand new game in a lot of areas,” the person said. “There is a new foundation laid out to make this a series that everyone wants. It just needs to be understood that it won’t happen in one year.”
Should WWE choose to join forces with EA, it is believed that the game would be developed at EA Vancouver, alongside the EA UFC series. However, a switch in publisher would result in a “multi-year wait” for a new game.