The long term partnership was apparently rife with problems.
For over two decades, Yuke’s was involved in some capacity with the WWE license. Going all the way back to the PS1 era titles to WWE 2K19 the developer went hand and hand with the wrestling simulators. That’s why it was quite the shock when it was announced that Yuke’s would not be developing WWE 2K20, instead 2K’s Visual Concepts taking full control. Apparently, though, the relationship between Visual Concepts/2K and Yuke’s had a good deal of tension, meaning the split was inevitable.
Talking to DualShockers, Creative Director for 2K20 Lynell Jinks said that the split between Yuke’s and 2K/Visual Concepts wasn’t mutual. He didn’t get into the nitty gritty exactly, but he said the two entities had been tip-toeing on each other, with Visual Concepts having to play to Yuke’s strengths, and weaknesses, which lead to many compromises and seems to imply a lot of issues starting with at least WWE 2K15.
“When you have an outside person coming in and telling you how they want the game to be, and when you’ve been working on the game for so long, it’s going to create some friction. It’s going to create some back and forth. It’s hard to be a really cohesive unit in that way, especially that first year when we’re coming in and asking them to get out of their comfort zone. We realized from that point on, it was like, ‘All right, we know what we got, we know what their strengths are, and we have to play to their strengths,’ and add features here and there to try to get us there over time. Now for us, it felt like we had to be very careful about what we asked for because we didn’t want another [WWE] 2K15 situation.”
Regardless of what one thought of Yuke’s WWE output, it’s hard to deny it’s the end of an era as the company has been associated with that brand longer than some fans have been alive. The Yuke’s-free WWE 2K20 is available now, and you can read some things you’ll probably need to know on the game through here.