Last week, former WWE 2K narrative lead Justin Leeper reported that WWE 2K21 was potentially being canceled. The news has now been confirmed by WWE in today’s First Quarter earnings call. Leeper also revealed what may be an upcoming wrestling game that is separate from the WWE 2K franchise, but that was not mentioned in the call.
WWE interim chief financial officer Frank Riddick was asked whether a new WWE 2K was in the budget and replied: “there’s not going to be a launch of a game this year.” What exactly led to this decision is unclear, but there could be many culprits. Their last release did not go the best, as WWE 2K20 was plagued with design issues, glitches, and scathing bad reviews. This followed as WWE parted ways with their long-time game developer Yukes, who had a 20-year history of producing wrestling games. It may actually end up improving the nest release in the WWE 2K franchise, as 2K Sports will have more time to develop the game and flesh it out.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is also apparent, as WWE is looking to cut costs and minimize financial losses. The company recently laid off a great deal of their talent, production team, and corporate employees. Others were furloughed or made to take a pay cut to preserve the companies finances. There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the WWE, and plenty of discourse in regards to the WWE 2K franchise. It’s difficult to say exactly what caused 2K21 to be canceled, but it’s not exactly shocking news at this point.
The conference call also covered the future of their live events, their partnership with Saudi Arabia, and talent relations. Vince McMahon also addressed falling ratings amid empty arena shows and ever the changing COVID-19 situation. Review the entirety of the conference call here.