There won't be a traditional entry in the WWE 2K series this year, but that doesn't mean we'll have to go without virtual wrestling. Saber Interactive's take on the squared circle action will arrive on September 18, 2020 to provide an alternative to the usual annual 2K entry with WWE 2K Battlegrounds.
Announced earlier this year, WWE 2K Battlegrounds looks like a more animated and exaggerated take on wrestling, with a visual style similar to Saber's work on the NBA Playgrounds series. From alligators chomping down on competitors to the Undertaker summoning lightning, it's definitely taking some liberties.
This is part of Visual Concepts, the developer currently behind WWE 2K proper, taking extra time on the next entry in the series after the roughness of WWE 2K20 last year. After longtime developer Yuke's split with 2K, WWE 2K20 ended up being a fairly buggy mess.
The new executive producer behind the series gave reassurances that there would be a "significant evolution" moving ahead for the series. Hopefully the extra time for development gives Visual Concepts time to step back and examine what can be done with its licensed wrestling sim. As fun as it was to boot up 2K20 and gawk at some of the goofiness, many have fond memories of the Nintendo 64 era of wrestling classics, and it'd be nice to see the genre back in the spotlight for positive reasons.
WWE 2K Battlegrounds, meanwhile, seems like an arcade-style balm that could provide an interesting alternative to the norm. Or at least, it will let me throw wrestlers to the gators in true Florida fashion. It'll arrive on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC via Steam, Nintendo Switch, and Google Stadia on September 18.