Former WWE Game Writer On What Went Wrong With WWE 2K20

In an interview with Inside the Ropes, Smackdown vs. RAW writer Justin Leeper spoke about what went wrong with WWE 2K20, which was universally panned upon its release. Here are highlights:

On the time crunch: “Well, it was a very difficult situation because whoever you believe on the timeline, Yuke’s was no longer on the project for 2K20 and they were always on the project for 20 years. They built the car that was pulling the game to stores every year and when you don’t have the driver and the mechanic there and you try and put someone else in the driving seat, it’s always going to be difficult and especially with such a time crunch.”

On how important Yuke’s was: “Yuke’s had flaws but what they did was they always worked super hard. I would go and visit them in January, in Yokohama, and there was people sleeping under their desks then. It’s heartbreaking to see how hard they had to work but also, they had to work that hard to get that kind of production to make those kinds of games. Say what you will about the breadth of the series, what’s good, what’s bad and what feels cookie cutter or whatever – making a game in 11 months is very hard. Yuke’s bore the brunt of that pressure and they did it well and were always kind and always humble and always good to work with.”

On Visual Concepts not being equipped to take over: “When you get rid of those people you have to fill them you have to replace them with somebody. Visual Concepts was just not equipped to do the kinda production and make the kinda sacrifices I think that Yuke’s did to get these games out. It’s such a tough thing for them to do that got taken for granted and I think when we saw that they weren’t there… and it’s their engine! They built it, whether there are rusty bolts and duct tape holding things together, they put it together and they knew it better than everyone. So for a company in California to sit there and try to take the helm, that’s a losing prospect but they had to put something out. I don’t excuse the game for coming out in the situation but I know what goes into making games, and those games in particular, and just how valuable Yuke’s was.”

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