WWE 2K15 sets forth a brand new core gameplay experience through key additions and improvements designed to elevate the franchise now and into the future. Five times more new animations than before captured in an authentic WWE ring, a new chain wrestling system, a new stamina mechanic and many more realistic additions take the drama and adrenaline of matches to new heights.
New to the series is the Stamina System, with a three-tier Stamina meter which controls the pace of a match.
- Each move that is performed, especially striking and running, will drain the stamina meter. During the first tier, the wrestler will be full of energy and perform moves easily. During the second tier, the wrestler will begin to slow down. In the third tier, the wrestler will be completely exhausted, even being unable to perform their finishing moves should it drop too low. Stamina will slowly regenerate as long as a meter is not depleted.
- Unlike in previous games, superstars will not stand up immediately after taking a bump or slam or after kicking out, but they stay down until they have enough in them to start making their way up. Thanks to the fatigue and damage factors, high-impact moves will also have the attackers taking their time to collect themselves after executing a big move. Just like a WWE match.
- There are also brand new moves and animations, like a downed wrestler getting up on one knee due to being tired, crawling towards the ropes and using them to get up, tired animations for moving around, climbing the turnbuckle at different speeds, tired strikes, special tired finishers and desperation pin attempts, crawling for hot tag, and more.
NEW SKILL SETS & ABILITIES
Another way in which WWE2K15 helps to make the experience more realistic is by giving the superstars Abilities and Skills, along with more varied Attributes.
- Abilities have changed from what they were previously. Each superstar can have up to 6 abilities. Each ability has three different levels and each has a different impact on the gameplay. Some of these have an impact on stamina, some impact the kick-out gauge and others impact the amount of damage you can inflict on your opponent.
- As well as the reformed abilities, each superstar has their own Skill List to help making each superstar feel much more unique and even more like their real life counterpart. For example, high flyers like Rey Mysterio will not do power moves and will focus on diving and springboard moves while giants like Big Show cannot climb the turnbuckle and will focus on power moves (superstars who cannot climb to the top rope can climb to the second rope). Skills also include OMG Moments, catch and catapult finishers. There is no limit on how many skills can be assigned to a Superstar, however a few OMG moments can't co-exist with each other if they are triggered from the same position.
A new chain wrestling mini-game has been implemented to make matches start out more realistically.
- Pressing the grapple button at the beginning of the match will initiate a collar-and-elbow tie up. From there, each opponent will press one of three face buttons to place their opponent into a side headlock, a wrist lock or a waist lock with a rock-paper-scissors style outcome.
- If you then get the upper hand, it's your turn to chain it into the next move. You simply move the right stick in a circular motion until you find the sweet spot and you hold it there. Whoever does it first gets the advantage for the next string. Now if you are the offensive wrestler to start, you can punch or wrench down on the opponent to break up their sweet spot and have it reset.
- Once this happens 2 or 3 times the match moves on as normal and we would expect it, just a more realistic start to the match. Wrestlers like the Big Show won't even do a chain grapple however and will start off without it as it's not their style. This further adds to roster feeling very unique between each wrestler.
GRAPPLING, STRIKES AND FINISHERS
- Grappling has undergone a key change: the intermediary grapple stances are finally gone. Once you’re out of the opening chain-wrestling phase, you just press or hold the grapple button along with a direction to launch right into a move. You can still do a basic headlock to set up rudimentary moves and the limb targeting system, but your core grappling moves will come right from standing. Meanwhile, the various former "transition grapples" such as the side headlock and wrist lock have now been moved to the aforementioned Chain Wrestling system... where they belong.
- Strikes have returned to their normal speed with new more realistic animations, improved collision and selling animations from the opponent.
- In another drastic change, moves are now dynamic and start out with the attacker doing the unique correspondent animation when you initiate them, unlike before where all grapples, signatures and finishers were always initiated the same way, locking both characters to the move animation the instant it was triggered. Now, for example, the AA directly starts off with you bending and extending the arm to lift the opponent, the RKO starts off with you launching directly into the air, the Chokeslam starts off directly with your hand reaching out for the opponent throat. And this happens for all moves and it's best seen into practice for all "striking" grapples that now actually feel like manual strikes and not "pre-determined cutscenes", for example: Sweet Chin Music, Trouble In Paradise, Bullhammer... or even any move that starts with a kick to the gut such as the Pedigree or a DDT, it's initiated (and reversed) with a kick animation, not a grapple. A great concept that has been obviously inspired from WWE All Stars and it was long awaited in the series, making the gameplay feel so much more fluid.
- Wake-up taunt finishers are now known as "Charged Finishers" which combines the taunt & finisher into a single animation by pressing and holding the finisher button when the opponent is grounded and then releasing it when they're on their feet and you're ready to strike. It flows much better than it did in previous games, especially for Running Finishers, and you can even do a Charged Finisher from a standing position, for example with the opponent having his back turned.
OTHER REALISM IMPROVEMENTS
- Animations were captured in a full, regulation-size ring this year, and all the in-game rings and animations were rebuilt and tweaked to proper scale to compensate. It changes how wrestlers look compared to their surroundings, how fast they get to the ropes off an Irish whip, and how they climb the turnbuckle. All these subtle things that have been wrong for so long are finally right, the sum of it all is a more believable match.
- When you execute a move that requires some space to happen but you are close to the ropes, your character now automatically drags/rolls the opponent towards the middle of the ring (for both standing and grounded moves) before executing it. It does need to be tweaked a bit, as the dragging sometimes triggers when it wouldn't be needed and viceversa, but it's the right "middle way" between the warping/teleporting from old games, and the "execute-the-move-wherever-even-if-it-doesn't-look-right" of the latest few games.
- When you climb the top rope, now the opponent not only waits on the ground (opponents getting up too quickly was a major problem in past games), but also automatically rolls closer to you into the perfect position to take (or reverse) the diving attack, an intelligent nod to the choreographed aspect of wrestling.
- There are real time physics now, with dynamic interaction with the environment, the ropes, the objects, etc.
- True weight detection: Size really matters now. Giants don't go down as easily when striked.
- Motion capturing was done over 40 days and the result is WWE 2K15 has five times the animation data over any previous WWE game.
- The game's submission system has been tweaked. The "Breaking Point" gauge has been replaced with a two part circular gauge. The mechanic of the system remains mostly the same, but players only have to mash a single button rather than all four.
- WWE 2K15 features an updated on-screen display reflecting a player’s health, momentum and stamina. There is a percentage number displayed for each wrestler, that is their momentum. A signature move requires 100%, while 150% is for finishers.
- Another new change is now R1 or RB switches between signature move and finisher if you have both stored up.
- There are new move positions, including middle rope (although it's still pretty limited), sitting, downed on one knee, and close range strikes.
- New Referee Animations, which now realistically reacts to the moves and has many more more contextual motions