After 20 Years Working On The WWE Games, Developer Yuke’s Splits From 2K
Japanese studio Yuke's has been making WWE wrestling games since Smackdown for the original PlayStation, back in 1999. But after 20 years working on the series, the studio has split with 2K to work on its own original wrestling IP.
In a statement provided to VGC, 2K confirmed Yuke's departure, saying "WWE 2K20 will be developed by Visual Concepts, who have worked with Yuke's on the development of the series since WWE 2K14."
Back when THQ held the WWE license, Yuke's was the sole developer on its wrestling games. But in 2013, when 2K acquired the license from the then bankrupt THQ, it brought in US-based Visual Concepts to split the work with Yuke's. As VGC reports, Yuke's was in charge of the games' design, art, and technology, while Visual Concepts handled animation, audio, and script writing.
Yuke's told VGC that it will "continue providing support to 2K with regard to the game engine."
Earlier this year, Yuke's revealed that it was working on its own original wrestling IP, one that will compete with WWE. The team intended to continue working on the WWE games at the same time, but whether they changed their mind or 2K wasn't happy with one of its partners actively working on a competitor product, Yuke's is now separating from the series to go it alone.
Since 2013, the average scores of the WWE games had been trending downwards, though it appears with WWE 2K19 things had turned around. For the first time in years, the series had a game score in the high 70s. This gave hope that WWE 2K20 would be building on that success.
This all means there will be a lot more attention on the next game's release, how will Visual Concepts perform without Yuke's support? And what will Yuke's make when it's not tied to a particular license? Will the two wrestling series challenge each other to be better in the same way PES improved FIFA? We'll see.
Featured Image Credit: 2K Games