After a two-game absence, the story-driven 2K Showcase is back in WWE 2K19 in a major way!
The Return of Daniel Bryan follows the long and storied career of the fan-favorite WWE Superstar and is told in his own words through a series of high impact video packages. Daniel Bryan discusses his early days in sports entertainment, his premature retirement and his recent triumphant return at WrestleMania 34. Players journey through key matches in his career, completing historically accurate objectives in order to unlock in-game content.
We spoke with the 2K Showcase Design Team at Visual Concepts about all of the exciting elements players can expect in Daniel Bryan’s 2K Showcase.
For those unfamiliar, what is 2K Showcase?
2K Showcase is a story-driven, single-player campaign mode that traditionally covers a particular era or rivalry of a WWE Superstar. The mode features historic WWE footage that gives context and backstory to the objective-based matches the user plays through. Achieving objectives often triggers mid-match cinematic cutscenes that allow the user to recreate historic moments on their way to victory. Completing objectives also unlocks special arenas, Superstars, attires and championship belts. The goal of finishing a Showcase is to complete as many objectives as possible to earn all unlockable content, and of course, relive some awesome WWE history along the way!
Why did the team bring back 2K Showcase?
The first factor in making this decision was listening to our audience. We’ve received a lot of requests asking us to bring back the mode. Internally, we also wanted to bring 2K Showcase back because it adds a different dimension to how you play the game, as you’re attempting to recreate historic moments. Finally, it’s a great way for players to learn about different WWE Superstars and experience matches they may not have witnessed when they originally occurred on WWE programming.
What makes Daniel Bryan’s story an ideal fit for the 2K Showcase format?
In our eyes, Daniel Bryan is one of – if not the most – popular WWE Superstar in the last decade, with nearly universal support from the WWE Universe. His story resonates with everyone, as he worked incredibly hard to get to the top of his craft – only to deal with setbacks that seemingly would keep him from fulfilling his dreams. Instead, he persevered, fought for what he wanted and is now back doing what he was meant to do. His story is both relatable and inspiring for anyone trying to achieve their goals in life.
When Daniel Bryan announced his comeback, how did it impact development?
Prior to Daniel Bryan being cleared to compete again, the ending to his 2K Showcase was up in the air – much like his in-ring future. There were several ideas on the table, but once he announced his return, everything fell into place. The natural culmination of everything was his WrestleMania 34 return match, where he teamed with Shane McMahon. Daniel’s speech on SmackDown Live about “fighting for your dreams,” despite whatever adversity you face, also really helped shape the story for the Showcase’s interview scenes.
How was it working with WWE on creating the interview scenes?
The WWE production team was a fantastic and collaborative partner. The team brings so much passion and experience to everything they work on, and the 2K Showcase was no exception. They know how to tell the stories of WWE Superstars better than anyone else.
In total, the Daniel Bryan 2K Showcase delivers 15 videos in total, with a combined run time of more than 25 minutes!
What was your vision for bringing the interview scenes and playable matches together?
We wanted the interview scenes and supporting footage to not only bridge the gameplay segments but also stand on their own and tell a complete story if you watched them without playing through the matches. Our goal was to produce a mini-documentary similar in quality to what you would see on the WWE Network. With the help of WWE’s production team, we think we achieved that. As well, thematically, we were inspired by Daniel Bryan’s perseverance to overcome whatever obstacles he’s faced inside and outside the ring, as well as his aforementioned “fight for your dreams” speech.
How many matches are in 2K Showcase, and what was the reasoning behind the match selections? It must have been difficult to only select 11 matches from Daniel Bryan’s career!
There are 11 historical matches, and one additional “surprise” match, for a total of 12 matches.
We chose matches that were important to telling the larger story. Whether necessary as backstory, important moments in Daniel Bryan’s career or just a great match, we wanted to give fans the ability to relive both the well-known and the somewhat forgotten moments.
Selecting the matches was very difficult. We started with a lengthy list and had to make some tough choices. Ultimately, we felt we chose the matches that helped show just how far Daniel Bryan has progressed throughout his career, as well as how hard he worked to become the WWE Superstar he is today.
2K Showcase is slated to feature nine historic arenas. Which are you most excited to see in the game?
We think it’s really cool to have the throwback Velocity arena represented in the game. There were a ton of really great and underrated matches on Velocity during its run, and it was also a place a lot of guys got their start, which is highlighted here with Daniel Bryan (as Bryan Danielson) facing a young John Cena. It’s also cool to see WrestleMania XXX in New Orleans, as it was such a memorable night in Daniel Bryan’s career and the culmination of the “Yes Movement.”
What are some of your favorite Daniel Bryan looks/attires that are included in 2K Showcase?
There are 11 different Daniel Bryan character models in his 2K Showcase, and they’re not just different looks; we made sure to capture the taunts and moves from each era. For example, a younger Daniel Bryan will have more submissions and move a bit faster, while the more current Daniel Bryan has his Yes Kicks, the Yes Lock and other moves that have become staples of his offense.
One of our favorite Daniel Bryan looks in his 2K Showcase is his 2003 Velocity appearance – under the name Bryan Danielson – versus John Cena. He was young, just starting out and almost looked like a different person than today when you factor in his short hair and lack of beard! Another favorite look is when Daniel had a brief run as a member of the Wyatt Family.
Overall, we’re excited to give the audience a near-complete representation of Daniel Bryan’s time in WWE.
What other fun facts can you tell us about 2K Showcase?
We have a lot of cool stuff in store for the fans, but here are a few items:
- We have 20 story-centric video cutscenes, including some very elaborate ones;
- Fans will find eight new entrances and 11 new victory scenes;
- More specifically, Daniel Bryan has four new entrances and six new victory scenes. You’re in for something really cool if you team Daniel with Kane as part of “Team Hell No.”
What were some team highlights of working on Daniel Bryan’s 2K Showcase?
Some of our team members either hadn’t seen some of these matches in a while or maybe hadn’t ever seen them at all. In doing research and working on the project, everyone really enjoyed re-discovering – and in some cases discovering – these important moments in Daniel’s career. That’s one of the cool things about Showcase in general: Some of our fans will be introduced to content for the first time, and then they can go to WWE Network and watch some of these matches they might’ve missed when they first happened.
Here are a few other highlights:
- Seeing the interview segments come to life with Daniel Bryan and how they gave everything a personal touch. It’s unlike anything we’ve had in prior Showcase Mode offerings;
- The overall ease of telling Daniel Bryan’s story. He’s the ultimate underdog who never stops fighting, which is both extremely relatable and inspirational;
- Seeing moments you loved from WWE television – brought to life in our game – is always a great feeling when working on a 2K Showcase. For example, the night Daniel Bryan broke free from The Wyatt Family, climbed to the top of the cage and was serenaded by the fans with a Yes chant. Experiencing that moment in the game is awesome, and hopefully all the Daniel Bryan fans out there will have the same feeling as they relive their favorite moments from his career.
And of course, we’d be remiss to not ask: How was it working with Daniel Bryan?
A huge part of Daniel Bryan’s appeal is his authenticity, so it shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that Daniel is very much what you’d imagine: A smart, thoughtful professional who was generous with his time and candid with his answers. You always approach a project like this trying to find angles that will give new insight about the subject, and that can be challenging when someone has been covered as much as Daniel over the year. However, Daniel provided so many new stories and perspectives that finding the right fit was never a concern. He was a pleasure to work with, and we hope he is as happy as we are with the final results.
WWE 2K19 is currently scheduled for worldwide release on October 9, 2018 for the PS4™ system, Xbox One and Windows PC. For more information on WWE 2K19 and 2K, visit wwe.2k.com, become a fan on Facebook, follow the game on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtags #WWE2K19 and #NeverSayNever or subscribe on YouTube. For more information on the WWE 2K19 Million Dollar Challenge, please visit wwe.2k.com/milliondollarchallenge/rules.