The WWE 2K games have been a bit of a mixed bag visually. Sometimes characters (usually top-tier guys like John Cena and Randy Orton) look uncannily realistic, but other characters are typically less impressive. Add sometimes-wonky animations and dated crowds and arenas, and you have games that only look okay compared to other modern sports titles. Yes, I know, every new WWE 2K entry is the best game Michael Cole has ever witnessed, but I don’t think he’s ever actually seen a non-WWE game.
Well, hopefully WWE 2K18 will be a turn for the better, as this year we’re getting an all-new graphics engine featuring “spectacular new lighting, more realistic skin and new camera effects.” WWE 2K18 cover star Seth Rollins showed a bit of what the new engine is capable of, by sharing the game’s first screenshot, featuring himself and his improbable CrossFit-sculpted abs.
Meanwhile, the WWE 2K Twitter account shared this look:
The new WWE 2K18 screens look impressive, but how do they stand up against past games in the series? The folks at ThisGenGaming put together a couple comparisons, and there’s no doubt there’s some improvements. Check one out above, and another one, below.
The level of detail looks roughly the same between WWE 2K17 and 2K18, but the lighting definitely looks to be more advanced. Skin textures also look more realistic – the plasticky look of past WWE 2K games seems to be gone. Of course, we won’t really know how good WWE 2K18 looks until we see it in action. Hopefully the first gameplay trailer arrives soon, because I know WWE fans have to be getting impatient.
Finally, 2K Games also shared this behind-the-scenes video, which shows the process for scanning and creating new characters. Apparently, 2K Games have an entire futuristic pod they take to WWE events to scan all the stars. They show John Cena getting scanned, which, out of context, looks like footage of Cyborg Cena being returned to his charging station.
Here’s what WWE 2K18 lead character designer Jonathan Gregory had to say about the new graphics engine:
“This year's engine is great, because I'm getting to see all the details as accurately as when I'm working on them. Seeing what I see on my monitor, and seeing it actually go into the game perfectly -- it's nice. There's nothing lost in translation when it goes from what I'm sculpting to the game engine. It makes my job easier, and it's great to see the characters come to life.”
WWE 2K18 unleashes its mayhem on Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch on October 17.