Visual Concepts enters the virtual ring with Yukes for new wrestling game.
LOS ANGELES -- Professional wrestling is going next gen. 2K Sports is bringing its second WWE game to Xbox One and PlayStation 4. They’ve enlisted NBA 2K15 developer Visual Concepts to work with Yukes on the new game, which will also be available on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on October 28, 2014.
“Next gen is the future and WWE is making its next gen debut with NBA 2K15,” said Chris Snyder, senior marketing director at 2K Sports. “Gamers and fans have been waiting generations for us to introduce the brand with this new level of excitement through Visual Concepts’ pedigree. We’re going to utilize Yukes development expertise as well.”
2K Sports didn’t have WWE 2K15 playable at E3 in Los Angeles, but they did show screenshots behind closed doors at the video game trade show. WWE 2K15 uses new NBA 2K15 facial scanning and body scanning for the next gen platforms. In addition, all versions of the game will feature new lighting and character models. 2K confirmed that Hulk Hogan, John Cena, Roman Reigns, Cesaro and Bray Wyatt will be in the new game.
“With WWE superstars like Daniel Bryant you can see how the lighting effects bring a completely different look to the character model’s skin texture and beard,” said Snyder. “With WWE diva AJ Lee, her trademark jean shorts look more realistic with the lighting and her hair looks more natural. With Naomi you can see her face looks more lifelike with the complexion of her skin.”
Visual Concepts has been busy traveling across the country to capture each and every WWE wrestler. Snyder said the team has scanned over 90% of the WWE talent so far and they’ll get the other 10% before the game ships this fall. In addition to capturing their faces, each wrestler is asked to go through a range of emotions so that those facial expressions can be implemented into the game. Snyder showed a next gen model of John Cena complete with facial expressions. The difference between the new current gen model and the next gen model is night and day when it comes to realism. Fans of NBA 2K already know how realistic basketball players look in that 2K Sports game, and the team is using the same technology for WWE.
“We’ve improved the core gameplay experience,” said Snyder. “This is not a fighting game with WWE characters. We tweak gameplay every year for NBA 2K and we’re doing the same thing for WWE. We have a lot of new game modes coming out too.”
2K Sports is using new motion capture technology in its Petaluma studio to capture wrestlers inside the ring. They’ve already captured five times the animations of any previous game. The team even uses an actual WWE ring that went on tour in Europe for the mo-cap sessions.
“We’ve focused a lot of energy on the commentary and audio to bring the atmosphere of the WWE to the game,” said Snyder. “WWE 2K15 features five times as many lines recorded than any previous game. Micheale Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler worked together as a team and recorded over 35 hours of commentary for the game. We’ve also completely overhauled the in-ring sound effects using Visual Concepts’ audio layering technology to capture everything from body slams to chair hitting.
“We enjoy our video games,” said Mike “The Miz ” Mizanin. “Sometimes people will bring PlayStations or Xboxes on the road just to play the video game because, literally, we’re on the road 250 days a year. It’s non-stop, all day, every day. We don’t have time to do anything. Once you can sit down and plop in a hotel room, and put on a video game, it’s fantastic.”
2K is hoping wrestlers and wrestling fans will be thinking the same thing when WWE 2K15 hits store shelves just before Halloween.