WWE 2K19 - Please take some time off
I don't watch Wrestling on TV and haven't in over a decade but in the video game world I have always enjoyed arcade wrestling action. When THQ stopped helping develop games for WWE after filing bankruptcy (the 2013 game was the last) the yearly releases are a series of 60 dollar problems they unleash on the populace. The annual release cycle has been cruel to many other franchises including every sports game, and even non sports titles like Assassin's Creed and Call of Duty because the current generation of games take more time to develop and polish than you can realistically pull off in a year. Especially if you have to spend time patching the glitchy mess that was released on schedule.
2K19 is coming soon (October 9th) and they are just now starting to tease images which likely means they know showing footage will be problematic and will not drive sales. This level of confidence on top of another subpar release last year means things didn't get markedly better, and unless they announce a huge bump in production budget or take a year off next year will struggle too. When WWE squashed all their competition a few years back it means we are stuck with them as the only meaningful path to getting a cool arcade wrestling game and I really want them to pull it together. Here are a few pitches I think will help.
1. Simplify the controls and maybe the graphics to make the game-play less frustrating and yearly releases more feasible. While we might love sweet 4k oiled muscles jumping off the top rope, we would take stronger gameplay and deep rosters over an attempt at photo-real graphics every time. The THQ style controls while not perfect made it easier to do a variety of moves while the current system is built more on counters and more often unravels into repetitive button mashing. Stylized and simplified graphics also may improve performance rendering matches like a Royal Rumble and cut down on the clipping issues born out of futile attempts to render photo realistic hair that they can't pull off for dozens of characters.
2. Embrace the Create a Wrestler as the core of the game. It is hard to weave a decent story over several seasons every year which sports games don't have to worry about. If you make the process of building a new wrestler and taking them up the ranks fun, the replay value could be in doing that with more than one creation. The cover wrestler could be more clearly woven through this mode as either a mentor or ultimate foe so they still can use the game to increase exposure for a particular individual while tying them to a more satisfying game mode.
The video game world needs this genre to get it together, so please take a year off and wipe the slate clean and make something strong because I have to be honest, I would rather play an N64 wrestling game than whatever you are releasing this year based on your track record.