WWE 2K17 is the 18th entry in the series that began on PS1 as WWF Smackdown way back in 2002, and the fourth version developed by 2K after THQ’s demise in 2012. New additions to its character list include Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, Charlotte and AJ Styles, while the Dudley Boyz – AKA Bubba Ray and D-Von – make first series appearances in more than a decade. The popular-but-limited Showcase mode of previous years has been removed, with more focus placed on Universe mode and upgrading in-ring elements such as ladder matches. It’s out on PS4, PS3, Xbox One and Xbox 360 and October 11, 2016.
The WCW legend is this year’s free DLC for anyone who pre-orders WWE 2K17 – and the complete focus of the game’s first trailer. Expect a proper gameplay preview to materialise soon.
Brock Lesnar will front this year’s game, on the heels of his Summerslam main event against Randy Orton – and despite The New Day trio of Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods protesting that they deserved a spot on the packaging. Maybe next year, lads. (Unless WWE does something crazy, like splitting you up.)
GR+ strongly argues that WWE 2K16 was excellent, and so is happy to report that 2K17 continues in the same vein. That means it’s a wrestling sim rather than a fighter, packed with small-yet-critical details. For instance, play a triple threat match or fatal four way, and a downed wrestler will roll out of the ring after taking a big bump – exactly as happens in real WWE. This has a tangible gameplay effect too, with characters able to recover stamina after escaping the ring in this way.
Backstage brawls are another huge addition in the gameplay department. For more on those, and a comprehensive list of what’s changed and improved, be sure to read our feature on 11 things we learned going hands-on with WWE 2K17.
Enjoy the Showcases found in WWEs 2K15 (John Cena vs CM Punk/John Cena vs Triple H) and 2K16 (Stone Cold Steve Austin)? Here’s a bit of bad news, then: there is no Showcase mode in this year’s game. Instead, developer Yuke’s has prioritised MyCareer and Universe modes – a move which GR+ agrees with, as both offered limited appeal in 2K16 despite their abundant promise. Perhaps we’ll get a Showcase added via DLC, as happened with last year’s Hall Of Fame pack. We’ll report news of that here, if and when it materialises.
With no showcases this year, Universe mode – in which you create your own federation, choosing rosters, shows, feuds, champions and tweaking every parameter as you see fit – needs to have a big year. The marquee add is the ability to cut promos backstage. Here’s the official 2K take on what this brings to Universe:
“Even with all these new features, presentation and possibilities, we still felt something was missing: promos. In turn, WWE 2K17 will deliver a brand new Promo Engine that lets the WWE Superstars express their thoughts and emotions to the WWE Universe and one another. The Promo Engine creates a new dynamic and brings the experience closer to the actual WWE than ever before.”
Naturally, we'll share more details on Universe mode as soon as they become available.
One thing 2K prides itself on is increasing the number of wrestlers in the game every year, and this time around it’s looking like more than 130. Many of those are returning legends such as Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and The Rock, while female favourites Lita and Trish Stratus are upgraded from last year’s status as DLC to on-disc. Every major and minor current WWE name is included, along with some NXT favourites: Apollo Crews, Nia Jax and Shinsuke Nakamura have already been confirmed as past of the NXT Edition. You can see profiles of every wrestler in the game at our WWE 2K17 roster gallery.
In addition to delivering Nakamura, Jax and Crews for play in WWE 2K17, the NXT Edition offers up actual, physical gifts too. You get a cool Finn Balor statue, an exclusive lithograph signed by Nakamura, and a Topps NXT Takeover London mat relic card (with a piece of the ring canvas from last year's big UK show). Additional in-game goodies include a 50 per cent MyCareer points boost, and the previously announced Goldberg pack. The NXT Edition is exclusive to PS4 and Xbox One, and limited to 50,000 copies worldwide.
WWE 2K17 roster: every confirmed wrestler (plus tips for other new faces)
11 things we learned going hands-on with WWE 2K17
WWE 2K17 roster may have been revealed by clever forum poster
Stephanie, Shane and Vince McMahon added to WWE 2K17 roster
WWE 2K17 NXT Edition box appears to confirm Bayley and Asuka are in the game