Posted on August 11, 2014 AT 05:00am
After a few years of disappointment from the WWE franchise, 2K has promised huge changes with this iteration. We’ve already seen some screens that highlight the improved realism in WWE 2K15, and now 2K Sports has announced that this year’s version will feature a revamped campaign mode called 2K Showcase, which will go in-depth with some of the most intense rivalries in WWE history.
The game will launch with two showpiece throwdowns. The first focuses on Shawn Michaels’ heated feud with his on-again, off-again D-Generation X comrade-in-arms, Triple H, from 2002 to 2004. The other highlighted clash explores the bad blood that brewed between neon-clad kiddie favorite John Cena and the anti-establishment, “Voice of the Voiceless” antihero CM Punk from 2011 to 2013—a feud that really took off after Punk’s iconic “pipe bomb” promo on the June 27, 2011 edition of RAW. 2K’s access to the extensive WWE archives means that players will see these feuds play out with the appropriate promos, hype, and swerves, which will then lead into the in-ring action, adding context to the maneuvers inside the squared circle.
“It’s a deep dive into some of the greatest rivalries in WWE history,” says WWE 2K15 executive producer Mark Little. “They’re set up as mini-documentary-style packages, with video assets, scripted commentary, and historically accurate characters and events. Players will be able to play through 33 matches across the two rivalries that tell the story of those rivalries.”
Back in 2002, most fans thought they’d seen the last of Shawn Michaels—one of the most athletically gifted performers in wrestling history. The Heartbreak Kid suffered what appeared to be a career-ending back injury when he faced the Undertaker in a casket match at the 1998 Royal Rumble. After a four-year absence, Michaels reunited in the ring with his former DX running mate, Triple H, only to have the Game unleash a devastating Pedigree in the middle of the ring, leaving Michaels betrayed by his best friend shortly after returning as an active competitor.
“It was an amazing return—it was my return from a four-year absence in 2002,” Michaels says. “To have all that chronicled now in a videogame is nothing short of pretty cool.”
Reminiscing on his feud from more than a decade ago, Michaels points out that it was the chemistry between the two competitors that made this one of the most respected, revered rivalries among wrestling fans in the WWE’s post-Attitude era.
“I don’t think I could’ve done it with anybody better,” Michaels says. “It’s no secret that he and I are extremely close, and I think that’s something this rivalry shows. I came back after a four-year absence, and we were going to get DX back together. It was something that everybody wanted. It was such a feel-good moment. And then, of course, he turned on me. The one thing I always enjoyed about that rivalry was that it was two years—that’s hard to come by anymore. Two years, and so much happened in that time. People are going to get to play through every aspect of it; 2K has documented darn near everything we did in those two years. It’s a documentary-style reliving of that rivalry.”
One element of 2K Showcase that Michaels thinks will help keep players immersed in the experience is the attention to detail—particularly when it comes to the elaborate wardrobes involved in any wrestling endeavor.
“One thing is for sure: I’m no fashion assassin,” Michaels jokes. “When I first came back, I was in jeans and boots, and then I slowly went back to the traditional HBK attire—the glitz, the glamour, the different costumes. I think that’s something that’s going to be fun for people. It’s not going to be a static, stale character. If nothing else, I tried to evolve. I tried to be different all the time.”
Michaels also says he’s excited about the possibility of his virtual incarnation matching up with a collection of legends—particularly with a certain WCW superstar who’s recently come into the WWE fold for the first time.
“One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about the videogames is the fantasy matchups, the matches you never got to see,” Michaels says. “One of the guys I’m very excited about is Sting. Sting is brand new to the WWE as a whole, and I never got a chance to wrestle him, but that’s something that can come true in WWE 2K15.”
While only the Michals-Triple H and Cena-Punk feuds will be available on day one of WWE 2K15‘s release, Davis confirms that additional rivalries will be available via downloadable content after the game’s launch. Could we see the Ultimate Warrior and Papa Shango’s hex-based, blue-goo-infused grudge match? Might we get to relive that classic moment when Rick “The Model” Martel callously blinded Jake “The Snake” Roberts with a few sprays of his Arrogance cologne on the Brother Love Show? Longtime wrestling aficionados all have their favorite feuds, and it’ll be interesting to see if fan requests play any role in which rivalries we’ll see make the cut.
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