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Publisher 2K told VGC in an exclusive report Tuesday that Japan-based Yuke’s will no longer lead development on WWE 2K. From WWE 2K20 onwards the series will instead be led by former co-developer Visual Concepts, it said.
Japanese studio Yuke’s had been developer of mainline WWE titles for almost 20 years, having worked on the series since 1999’s Smackdown for PSOne.
Following the news, Visual Concepts creative director Lynell Jinks posted an energetic video on his YouTube and Instagram accounts, telling fans that “it’s our time to take our shot” as sole developer on WWE 2K20.
Lynell said on Tuesday: “I know it’s been a long time since we talked to you guys, but we’ve been extremely hard at work this year… harder than ever! Because as some of you might have guessed, we’re doing it without Yuke’s.
“We want to thank Yuke’s for all of their hard work. They put 20 years into this franchise and we just want to thank them for all their hard work, but it’s our time to take our shot as Visual Concepts to develop this game.
“We’ve been working really hard to give you what our vision of the future of this franchise is. We really can’t wait for your guys to check it out.”
Jinks has been a creative director on the Visual Concepts side of development since 2016, before which he was an art director on the NBA 2K series.
Yuke’s had previously been the sole developer on the series, until 2K’s 2013 acquisition of the game rights saw it introduce Visual Concepts as support.
Typically the two companies split their duties with Yuke’s leading design, art and tech, while Visual Concepts provided animation, audio and script writing.
The latest Yuke’s release, WWE 2K19, was widely considered to be a return to form for the series, but otherwise it has been criticised in recent years for a decline in quality.
In a separate statement sent to VGC on Tuesday, Yuke’s confirmed that its diminished role extends beyond this year’s game and said that it plans “to continue providing support to 2K with regard to the game engine.
It’s not yet clear why Yuke’s has stepped away from development. However, it did confirm earlier this year it was working on a new, original wrestling IP.