WWE 2K23 has just gotten the full spread of its new features revealed, including a shiny new Wargames match type, a full spread of John Cena goddess including a front cover, dedicated showcase mode, a curated soundtrack by the five-knuckle shuffler himself, and more.
To go alongside these details, we sat down for a short but (too) sweet interview with Lynell Jinks and Brian Williams from Visual Concepts, talking about the challenges with bringing Wargames to the series as well as the future of WWE 2K showcases.
While John Cena may be the most obviously exciting star for WWE 2K23, you may want to pause for a minute and consider Wargames. For non-wrestling fans, it’s wild. Originally created in the 80’s. It's a team-based battle between two rings placed side by side, with a big steel cage surrounding the whole ordeal. A roof on this cage is optional.
“When we shipped WWE2K22, what is one thing we could probably do with this engine to take things to a whole other level. Wargames was our answer, and while at the time it was only in NXT we wanted to try it.” stated Lynell, proudly. “Our designers, engineers, and artists went to work. It was like, oh my god! The different layout and the challenges it presented… There’s the cage, people in that cage, it’s a timed event, there are two rings side by side…. It took a lot of time to dissect but once we did that, because of everything we had learned with 2K22 and the things we ‘unlocked’, we found the work came to fruition very quickly.”
That was around the time Brian Williams came on board and “helped get it across the finish line.” While the team apparently had a lot of practice working with the new engine introduced with WWE 2K22, according to Jinks, it was anything but easy. “When Brian came in it was a skeleton, so I was like ‘this is really cool… but will it get done?’ (laugh), It had to!”
“Honestly, all of it [was a challenge]," Jinks acknowledged, laughing and occasionally placing his head in his hands. "It’s so different from everything we’ve ever done. It’s not the Elimination Chamber, it’s not Hell in a Cell. It’s kind of all of them together, but in its own unique way. The version of Wargames we have is the NXT version, because when we made this early on it was based on those specs. It wasn’t until Survivor series when they brought out those cages [to the main roster] that we were like ‘but we’re already done with this mode!’.”
Jinx continued: “Just figuring out how to get these cages in there, have three referees open cages at the right time, two rings side by side, and this trench! It’s this small area between rings that you need to be able to move around, if you couldn’t do moves down there properly it wouldn’t be Wargames! All these things we had to do were necessary to make it feel like Wargames. I wouldn’t say it was a nightmare, but it was really challenging for a lot of people.”
Obviously, while Wargames sounds like quite the addition, John Cena plays a major part in this year’s instalment. Beyond a front cover and input on the music, they’re also getting their own showcase to celebrate their 21st anniversary like Rey Mysterio did in WWE 2K22.
This showcase will have 14 matches from across John Cena’s career, highlighting the biggest moments in their career ranging from their debut all the way up to Summerslam 2021. You’ll also be in the shoes of Cena’s opponents, rather than the man himself, since they received feedback that playing John for 14 matches in a row could get a bit boring.
While this would mark the second wrestler showcase in a row for the series, the team was adamant that it’s not guaranteed inclusion every year. “It’s something we always think about, when it's time for a showcase… If there’s a nice milestone we can hang our hat on with a showcase, absolutely. But I don’t think it’s a hard and fast rule. Not all anniversaries will get a showcase.”
All in all, it appears there is plenty to be excited about for this year’s WWE game for wrestling fans. Whether or not the team has managed to nail the feel of Wargames, done John Cena’s career justice, and packaged it all in an exciting new wrestling game remains to be seen. But we won’t have to wait too long to find out, as WWE 2K23 releases this March.