WWE 2K Creative Director feels development team let public down with 2K20 & let themselves down

Originally published at WWE 2K Creative Director feels development team let public down with 2K20 & let themselves down

Members of the WWE 2K team share their thoughts about past games and the future. 

The newest edition of the WWE 2K series is out as 2K23 was released on all platforms on March 17th. Almost a full week removed from the release, WWE 2K’s Lynell Jinks, Alan Flores, Dino Zucconi and Derek Donahue guest appeared on the Cultaholic Wrestling podcast

Jinks is the WWE 2K Creative Director and he spoke candidly about the 2K20 release that was on the receiving end of a great deal of criticism. He feels they let the public and themselves down with that game. He added that for them to accomplish what they have with 2K23, what occurred with 2K20 had to happen. 

Jinks: I would hate to speak for everyone but it seems like unanimously, everyone is extremely excited with the response that we’ve gotten so far (for WWE 2K23) and you know, it’s a complete contrast from what we experienced on 2K20 to now but, I will say in order for us to pull off what we did, 2K20 had to happen, right? We had to fall flat on our face, we needed that reality check. We thought we knew what we were doing, we thought we understood the engine that we created and we didn’t and you know, not only did we let you guys down but we let ourselves down as developers as well and luckily, we bounced back with 2K20 and with 2K23, we had to prove ourselves once again to not only maintain everything that we shifted into 2K22 and hope that level of polish but to make it even stronger by adding more features, adding WarGames, tightening things up, you know? Just the rivalry system, Universe (Mode), everything we touched on for 2K23 was hard to not only just manage but get it done in a yearly cycle again.

As the conversation continued, the team was asked if there was a difference in making 2K23 in comparison to the last several years, factoring in Vince McMahon’s resignation and Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque now being the Chief Content Officer

Lynell Jinks answered and said the biggest difference from previous games were the talent releases and trying to find out if certain talents could still be in the game although they were no longer with the company. 

Jinks: I will say though, the difference between (WWE) ‘22 and ‘23 was, ‘23, we have the opposite problem in ‘22. ‘22, we had to cut, right? And we had two-and-a-half years of development so the roster was changing it just seemed like every week which created a ton of problems for us, especially with modes like MyRise or Dino (Zucconi) and Showcase, like kind of lock that down and then trying to figure out can this person still be in the game even though they’re not a part of the WWE? And luckily, I think the WWE did a pretty good job of allowing us to keep certain people that were involved in heavy storylines in some of our modes. But this year was the opposite. A lot of people came back which is a great thing, right? And so, for me, I think I’d rather have that problem than the opposite. We gotta try to do our best to make sure we fit those new additions in within the time that we have.

Showcase Mode Lead Designer Dino Zucconi and Lead gameplay Designer Derek Donahue added to the conversation when they suggested names they’d like to see added to WWE 2K games. Zucconi named Ahmed Johnson and Nick Bockwinkel. Donahue named Meiko Satomura. 

Zucconi: I got a boatload of legends (I’d like to have in WWE 2K). Ahmed Johnson would probably be my first one, I’d like to get him in the game. I’d like to go back a bit, get Nick Bockwinkel up in here… I like those old time guys. It makes my mode a little bit easier to make if I can get something new but yeah, Ahmed Johnson would be my big one. I loved that dude back in the 90s. 

Donahue: I’ve been watching a lot of older matches lately. I’m gonna say Meiko Satomura. Some matches from decades ago are some of the best that I’ve ever seen and you know, she’s in NXT now. I think I would love to see that happen.

The cover athlete for WWE 2K23 is John Cena, who’ll be challenging Austin Theory for the United States Championship at WrestleMania 39. 

If the quotes in this article are used, please credit Cultaholic Wrestling with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.