Why Has WWE Never Remastered Their Video Games?

Not long until WWE 2K22 arrive. Suffice to say, everyone involved in making the game and all of us who plan on playing it are waiting with bated breath. The last installment in the series, WWE 2K20, was so bad, development of WWE 2K21 was halted and the studio has spent more than two years working on the next game that will launch on March 11, 2022. So far so good when it comes to trailers, reveals, and new features added to the series, but there will be no way of knowing if the game is good enough to save the series until we all get the chance to play it.

THESPORTSTER VIDEO OF THE DAY

If the wrestling community deems it subpar, then the future of 2K manning the helm for WWE games could well be in jeopardy. The details of the contract between WWE and the studio aren’t clear. It might be a case of there having to be more games from 2K and WWE reassessing once the current deal is done. Then again, considering what has happened on that front the past two years, that deal has probably been revisited and changed a fair bit.

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Why No Remasters?

The pressure on 2K22 and all modern-day wrestling games to be really, really good isn’t the fault of 2K20’s failings alone. Whether it’s the same sort of rose-tinted nostalgia we feel for the Attitude Era or if they really were that good, most older fans would agree that wrestling games were simply a lot better years ago. Whether it’s the SmackDown games, SmackDown vs. Raw, or the one wrestling game that stands above all others for most fans, No Mercy.


Smackdown vs. Raw '07 and Smackdown vs. Raw '10

2K does recognize that hence the return of GM Mode in WWE 2K22. That begs the question, why not bring those classics back? Even if 2K22 is a success and the series continues on as normal after this recent hiccup, there is undoubtedly a market for wrestling game remasters. The last few years in the video game industry have proved there’s basically a call for any and every game more than ten years old to be polished and released on modern-day consoles, yet classic wrestling games continue to get overlooked.

NSO Is An Option

There are a number of avenues 2K, or whatever studio decides to tackle some potential remasters if it is indeed an option, could go down. The obvious is simply re-releasing or remastering a wrestling game from the past. SmackDown Here Comes The Pain perhaps, the last SmackDown-branded game before SmackDown vs. Raw took over. There’s also Nintendo Switch Online to consider. A subscription to the service’s Expansion Pack now comes with access to a number of Nintendo 64 games. Why not add No Mercy and WCW/nWo Revenge to that collection? Or, remaster and re-release a collection of your own. Imagine being able to buy all five SmackDown games on one disc and play them on your PS5.


smackdown
via THQ

Well, the short answer is whoever wants to do it, if anyone, might not have the rights to do so. Unlike WWE’s extensive video library, this isn’t necessarily a case of WWE being the ones with a decision to make. Video game rights can be complicated, especially when discussing games released so long ago. The rights might be owned by a studio that has no interest in using them or might even need to be tracked down. The code used for the games could also be incomplete or lost to the cancels of times altogether.

If there’s even a slight possibility that some of WWE and WCW’s old wrestling games can be unearthed and remastered for a modern-day audience, then it should absolutely be done. A two-plus-year gap without a mainline wrestling game, and the last one in the series being a huge letdown, has left people hungry for a decent game. Not to mention thinking about a time when they believed wrestling games to be far better than they have been for the past few years. If we’re not going to get those remasters, then let’s hope 2K22 and AEW’s incoming game are good enough to fill the gaping void there is right now.


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