The longtime developers of 2K's WWE series are moving on to new things. Yuke's, who has been working on mainline WWE titles like the PlayStation One era, will not develop future games in the WWE series, as 2K hands the reins over to NBA 2K developer Visual Concepts.
A 2K statement given to VGC confirms Visual Concepts, which has worked on the series with Yuke's since WWE 2K14, will be taking the lead on WWE 2K20.
"As we've continued to invest in the WWE 2K franchise, we've seen the Visual Concepts team display incredible passion, talent and commitment to the future of the series," 2K told VGC. "We thank Yuke's for their years of partnership and are excited to see what the Visual Concepts team brings to the franchise moving forward."
A separate statement to VGC from Yuke's says the studio plans to continue "providing support" to 2K.
Earlier this year, Yuke's senior vice president and producer Hiromi Furuta said the studio had become frustrated with its achievements in the 2K franchise, and had actually started an internal development project to create a new wrestling game to compete with its own WWE 2K.
"Of course, we will retain the WWE team, but we are also aware that our creators are beginning to lose sight of their passion and confidence and becoming focused only on completing assigned tasks," said Furuta. "That's not the direction Yuke's wants to go in. So, in order to compensate, we're going to start a new wrestling project."
Whether this means a brand new start for the WWE 2K series, which has struggled in recent memory—most notably on the Nintendo Switch—is yet to be seen, but I'm interested in seeing what comes of this. Yuke's now has some freedom to chase their own vision of what a wrestling game could be, and Visual Concepts has been pushing the 2K series forward with each new entry. This could finally introduce some evolution in the AAA wrestling scene.