WWE 2K21 may be canceled according to the latest rumor. While this may disappoint those expecting their yearly dose of virtual wrestling, it may be precisely what Visual Concepts’ franchise needs.
The rumor comes courtesy of YouTuber Violent Lee, aka Justin Leeper. The former writer for the WWE SmackDown vs. RAW series in the 2010’s, who most recently performed motion capture for Hideo Kojima’s divisive Death Stranding, has become a fairly reliable source for WWE nuggets. As such, the rumor comes with more credibility than your average out of the blue Reddit or 4chan leaks.
The YouTube revealed in a video posted late last week that ‘reliable sources’ confirm that Visual Concepts has canceled WWE 2K21 . He points in particular to the lack of promotional material for the annual franchise, which historically would have started doing the rounds at this point in the year.
As Leeper explains, the factors behind the decision to cancel WWE 2K21 may be two-fold.
First and foremost, last year’s WWE 2K20 was nothing short of disastrous. Scathing reviews, glaring visual bugs, lackluster gameplay, and a general sense that the game was nothing more than a thinly veiled reskin of WWE 2K19 characterized the public sentiment towards the game. Mass refunds ensued, and a raft of patches did little fix a game broken at its core.
Taking a year out to take stock, re-calibrate priorities, and allow enough time to craft a title that does justice to the license makes sense. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to say that another botched entry in the form of WWE 2K21 could be the last straw for many fans.
Another factor is, of course, the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic.
Work at home measures will have naturally impacted development cycles. For a series already struggling to hit baseline quality expectations, we can only imagine the state of a game with even less resources than it already has. Compounding this was news late last year that developers at Visual Concepts were jumping ship to distance themselves from WWE 2K20.
Leeper explains that this year won’t be devoid of a WWE release, though. Publisher 2K Games is reportedly working on another non-mainline WWE title from a different developer other than Visual Concepts.