WWE 2K15 – Who Got NXT Developer Diary
By Bryan Williams, Senior Designer, Visual Concepts - WWE.2K.com
With MyCareer being exclusive to next-gen versions of WWE 2K15, we (the design team) were tasked with creating a mode that would only be made available on current-gen systems. With our creative juices flowing, just about everyone on the team immediately thought of NXT. We hadn’t developed a firm idea or concept regarding NXT; we only knew we wanted to incorporate NXT in our eventual idea. When the reality show aspects of NXT were dropped and NXT became its own brand, folks on the development team started to take notice. Within a matter of months, NXT became the show to watch. How could we not include this awesome corner of the WWE Universe in WWE 2K15?
When the day came to pitch our ideas, we still hadn’t come up with a fully fleshed out design, but we had settled on our core concept. In a nutshell, our idea was to create a compelling unlock method. We wanted to create a mode or area of the game where players could control a handful of NXT Superstars with the stipulation they’d be strictly confined to the mode and not be available for use outside of said mode until certain requirements had been fulfilled by the player – and when I mean confined, I mean confined! Until completing said requirements, NXT Superstars would be prohibited from all game modes (e.g. Exhibition, Online, Creation Suite, Universe), and their associated assets (e.g. moves, entrance videos, etc.) would be locked. We wanted the unlocking of an NXT Superstar to be similar to that of an actual NXT Superstar being called up to the main roster.
Who Got NXT focuses on five NXT Superstars – Sami Zayn, Adrian Neville, Rusev, Corey Graves and Bo Dallas. I know Rusev and Bo Dallas are no longer on NXT, but they were during development of the mode. Each of the five NXT Superstars is assigned his own chapter consisting of four matches that players will need to complete in sequential order. The gameplay experience within each chapter is similar to 2K Showcase in that players are tasked with completing a number of optional objectives – three at the most – and a required match stipulation. The only way to advance to the next match is to complete the match stipulation. In most cases, the match stipulation states you must defeat your opponent via pinfall or submission, but on occasion, you’ll be asked to do something that deviates from the norm. While objectives are optional and won’t impede your advancement to the next match, it really is in your best interest to complete them unless you have no interest in receiving a plethora of NXT-related unlockables. I’ll delve more into those in a bit. Once you’ve successfully completed all four matches within a chapter you’ll unlock the featured NXT Superstar. All five chapters can be played concurrently, but as previously stated, the matches therein must be played in sequential order. You can also replay any match you’ve previously completed in the off chance you failed to complete an objective or if you’d simply like to play it again.
The matches in Who Got NXT aren’t direct recreations of real NXT matches. The matches in Who Got NXT are certainly inspired by matches held on NXT programming, but it wasn’t our intent to authentically recreate them as they actually occurred. Also, there is no interconnected narrative from one match to the next in these chapters. Each match is its own self-contained story, but we rely strictly on commentary to communicate said story. Commentary, specifically written for the mode, appears during each NXT Superstar’s entrance, victory scenes and of course, gameplay. The narrative of each match is communicated by the commentators during the entrance scenes, establishing why the match is taking place, and the narrative is reinforced during gameplay via back and forth play-by-play between commentators. Though matches aren’t connected to one another from a narrative standpoint, the chapters themselves definitely have their own overarching themes. The complete and utter destruction of one’s opponent is exemplified in Rusev’s chapter, and the objectives have been designed to support this theme. I’ll just say by the time you’ve completed Rusev’s chapter, you’ll be quite proficient at executing his Accolade finisher. Adrian Neville’s chapter revolves around his quest for the NXT Championship. Sami Zayn’s chapter is typified by his resiliency and fighting spirit (naturally, we had to pit Zayn against Cesaro). The Graves chapter asks the question, “Who is Corey Graves?” What’s he all about? What are his motivations? Bo Dallas’ chapter, which turned out to be one of my favorites (as I Bolieve), is characterized by his unrelenting desire to hold onto his NXT Championship at any cost. You’ll be ramming opponents into exposed turnbuckles, intentionally getting yourself (Bo) disqualified (it’s more fun than it sounds, trust me) and a number of other dirty tactics to maintain Bo’s grip on his beloved NXT Championship.
After unlocking all five NXT Superstars, there’s still gameplay to be had in Who Got NXT. After clearing all chapters, you’ll be able to participate in the new Proving Ground match! The Proving Ground is the spiritual successor to WWE 2K14’s Defeat the Streak. Whereas in Defeat the Streak, players were tasked with ending Undertaker’s WrestleMania winning streak (we all know how that turned out), in the Proving Ground match you’ll be facing off against the face of WWE and the face of WWE 2K15, John Cena! Like Defeat the Streak, John Cena will be controlled by the AI and will be very tough to defeat. When you enter the Proving Ground match for the first time, you’ll be shown a snippet of footage from the April 4, 2014 episode of SmackDown, wherein John Cena delivers an in-ring promo. The promo properly sets the stage for your encounter with Cena, as he essentially calls out the entire roster – and in particular – the new faces on the roster. The transcript of his promo is below:
“The future is now! It is an exciting time to be in the WWE, as there are so many promising Superstars. So let me make a promise of my own. I am not The One. I am not the Viper. I am not the King of Swing. I am not the Boss! I am the measuring stick. I am the standard bearer. I am John … Cena! Any WWE Superstar can talk all they want, but past, present or future, they do know if they want their feet planted firmly on the top of the WWE mountain, well, they better go through me to do it!”
Following Cena’s incendiary promo, you’ll be transitioned to the Superstar select screen. Initially, you’ll only be able to select one of the five NXT Superstars to go against Cena. However, you will be able to unlock the entire roster (including created Superstars) if you defeat Cena using all five NXT Superstars. The match itself is a traditional, 1-on-1 match with a 30 minute time limit. The Proving Ground match also contains mode-specific commentary that can be heard during the entrance scenes, gameplay and victory scene. Like Defeat the Streak, you’re provided a score at the end of your match, and should you manage to beat Cena, you’ll be able to upload your score to the Proving Ground online leaderboard. Here’s a tip: if you force Cena to submit, you’ll score a huge win bonus!
Now that I’ve explained how to unlock the NXT Superstars (complete their respective chapters) and the Proving Ground match (complete all five chapters), so you’re probably wondering about those other NXT related unlockables I made mention of earlier. All you have to do is complete all of the objectives within each of the five chapters - it’s as easy as that! As a reward for doing so, you’ll receive the following:
- NXT Arena
- NXT ArRIVAL Arena (only available on current-gen!)
- NXT Championship
- NXT Tag Team Championship
- NXT Women’s Championship