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Take-Two Interactive Officially Takes Over WWE License

The publisher has entered into an agreement to take over the license from THQ.

It had been rumored previously, but now is confirmed: WWE video games have a new home at Take-Two Interactive.

Take-Two will be bringing you your mainstream wrestling games from here on out.

A motion was filed late yesterday as part of now defunct publisher THQ's bankruptcy proceedings. In it, Take-Two acknowledges that it has reached a final agreement with World Wrestling Entertainment to take over the license. Court approval is still pending, but with all parties seemingly on board, it hardly seems likely that it won't come to fruition.

In a brief statement to Polygon, Take-Two acknowledged the agreement, but skipped out on any significant details, outside of retention of developer Yuke's, who has been THQ's primary wrestling game developer for the better part of the last decade.

The WWE license was one of the last dangling pieces of unfinished business in the THQ bankruptcy saga, namely because the WWE was listed as one of THQ's credit holders, due to unpaid royalties from the publisher. As part of this deal, WWE will waive the $45 million debt claim against THQ, essentially taking a loss on the deal. Yuke's will also be losing some money, as they will waive the $15 to $20 million in development costs still owed to them by THQ. Instead, they'll recoup somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 to $5 million when all is said and done.

Additionally, THQ's former WWE production staff--which is reportedly around 20 employees--will be picked up by Take-Two to resume work on the franchise. Because the agreement is yet to be finalized, there's no word yet on whether the publisher plans on pushing for a new WWE game from Yuke's this year, though having Yuke's and THQ's former production team on board would likely help speed that process along, should they desire.

This strikes me as both great and potentially not-so-great news. Getting the WWE production staff back is great, and I don't see Take-Two actively screwing up a license like this. It's just not the sort of thing they're known to do. That said, I still have my reservations in regards to Yuke's. In an ideal world, maybe Yuke's just pushes out WWE '14 while Take-Two hunts for another developer to take over the following year. Or, maybe we'll just get Yuke's games forever. I expect we'll find out one way or another soon enough.

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Edited by insaneTJ

Hopefully they can breath some fresh air into this series.

Edited by AjayRaz

take two do the 2K sports games too, right? apparently those are kind of amazing, so i hope they can have a fresh take on the WWE games.

Crush Hour 2, anyone?

edit: oh. it's still a Yukes joint? boo.

Posted by BleedingStarX

With Yukes developing it'll more than likely be the same as it has been for the last few releases. I really hope they change it up though, as a huge fan the current offering gets worse and worse every year

Edited by Rabid619

All that I want out of this is to have the series far, far away from Yukes. I enjoyed these games once, but haven't played one in almost 10 years, so the fact that I look at it now and it looks almost the exact same (but prettier) is absolutely baffling.

If they continue to make the series, I'll continue to not buy it. Unless they basically start over.

Edited by bobafettjm

I love me some wrestling games, but the last one of these that I actually played was 2008. I think it would be interesting to see another developer handle them and do something new.

Edited by icytower38

Get Yuke's out of there, or at least put your foot down Take-Two. I have hope, but I don't think there's much to improve on in wrestling games anymore.

Posted by KillerBomb

Get rid of Yuke's. Bring AKI damnit!

Posted by Murdoc_

Happy that the developers didn't lose their jobs, but man, why pick up such a stale license if you have no plans to shake things up? Alex may be on to something that 2015 is a different dev.

Edited by papercut

Yuke's more like...uh...Booooooke's

Yeah I'm not terribly happy about Yuke's coming along.

Posted by HBK619

Disappointing that Yukes will still be handling it. Although hopefully it's just a 'get the game out in 2013' type of deal and not a multi-year thing.

Yukes need to either get away from it for good or completely re-boot the series to re-invigorate what is a very tired series. I just feel that if they keep on doing it, we'll keep getting middling, nothing but small incremental improvements each year and no real big leap that the series needs.

I don't know if the 2K Sports guys would be up for it, or even really a good fit for what the WWE games need to be (as 2K are very much simulation as opposed to the arcade formula that WWE needs to move to) but it's at least somewhat in the right hands with Take-Two. Hopefully they can really freshen the series up.

Edited by ImmortalSaiyan

I bet some great people work at Yukes but I have not been interested in their games is many years. I was hoping a new team would take over. I bet now the games are no different.

Posted by KittyVonDoom

There's something so very fitting about retaining the crappy, tired-out dev team for your tired, crapped out entertainment product.

Whatever. I'll say it again. WWE fans will buy the game regardless of the quality or the marketing, and you're never going to sell it to anyone who isn't at least mildly invested in it already.

It's like the Dragonball license. Except less profitable.

Posted by WinterSnowblind

I was really hoping we'd see a new developer for these games. They've been churning out the same rehashed product for far too long now and they usually remove more features than they add.

Posted by ninkendo

I feel starting over with a brand new developer wouldn't have been the right move. Yukes finally got it right with WWE 13 and I want to see what they can do with that from here.

Posted by Branthog

Oh boy, I hope they don't ruin the fake fake wrestling! I know the THQ iteration was so buggy and glitchy, that it made it seem pretty unrealistic. I mean, less fake. I mean, more . . . I mean . . .

Posted by Branthog

There's something so very fitting about retaining the crappy, tired-out dev team for your tired, crapped out entertainment product.

Whatever. I'll say it again. WWE fans will buy the game regardless of the quality or the marketing, and you're never going to sell it to anyone who isn't at least mildly invested in it already.

It's like the Dragonball license. Except less profitable.

Exactly. It's hard to imagine that people who are still watching WWF after all these decades are exactly a "discerning" audience.

Posted by HulkieD

Retaining Yukes isn't a surprise to me, actually. It's an annualized franchise, and if they want to get something out this year (or more likely, have to), they pretty much had to do that. Work was already going on WWE '14 while the whole THQ mess went on.

Hopefully for the new consoles, though, they get someone else working on it. Not 2K Sports per se, but it does need new blood. Shame we'll never get another WWE All-Stars, though...

Edited by Kasswara

Fucking Yukes I swear to god.

Edited by GaspoweR

Now, Take 2 needs to make WRESTLEMANIA: GHOST PROBLEMS 3-D a reality.

Ghost Problems was the best thing to have come out of a WWE license in a very long time.

COLLUSION!!!!

Edited by MattClassic

'14 will almost certainly be another Yuke's joint. Work on it had probably already started by the time '13 hit shelves because of the annual schedule they've been maintaining, and the games still reliably bring in cash. I just hope that between now and '14's release they shop around for a new developer because goddamn am I sick of Yuke's wrestling games.

Posted by insane_shadowblade85

Nothing stops WWE quick looks. Nothing!

Posted by Rabid619

@branthog: You're being a bit rude, don't you think? Come into an article about a wrestling game, insult wrestling and be not so subtle about insulting people who like it.

Maybe if you have nothing of value to add to a conversation you should stay out of it. Right? Right!

Cool.

Posted by Phished0ne

Get rid of Yuke's. Bring AKI damnit!

you mean syn Sophia? Yeah, that'll never happen, they stopped making games that werent on portable systems a long a time ago.

It doesnt matter, wrestling games sell, they always sell because the people that play them dont care about *actually* playing the games. They care more about how the models look, and if the entrances are right. They care about the presentation of the product, and making their own dumb storylines. Take Two would be better off turning the WWE games into a full-fledged booking/federation running simulation like Total Extreme Wrestling, except with the option to actually watch the stuff happen.

Edited by Branthog

@rabid619 said:

@branthog: You're being a bit rude, don't you think? Come into an article about a wrestling game, insult wrestling and be not so subtle about insulting people who like it.

Maybe if you have nothing of value to add to a conversation you should stay out of it. Right? Right!

Cool.

You're right, what am I thinking -- commenting about the quality of a game and its subject in a thread about that game.

Also, I wrestled for fifteen years. I feel pretty confident in earning the right to judge it.

Posted by Wikitoups

Heres hoping that the next wwe game is also on pc!

and forget about aki... someone get Sal Divita and the rest of thq san diego for the next wwe game!!

Online
Posted by Rabid619

@branthog: Judging the quality of the game is fine, and necessary (as you can you by my previous post), but you seem to go out of your way to come across as condescending and rude in a comments section that has been filled with people speaking normally. I really don't care what you've done in your past, it doesn't change the fact that your approach to your comments were a bit callous.

My only request is you show respect to the people. Shit on the games all you please, I know I have plenty. They have been terrible for a long, long time.

Posted by JEC03

I would like to see this series on PC I hate wrestling today but I'm nostalgic for some 90's era wrestling I like that this series has a mode like that at least in the current one.

Edited by Rabbykayn

It's too bad Yukes is staying. I was really hoping for a ground up rebuild... The series has been stale for a VERY long time.

Edited by Porkellain

Now it's time for Darksiders. Come on Crytek Austin, pwetty pwease :3

Posted by Demoskinos

I'll say it until I'm blue in the face. Take the frame work of a Strategy RPG like Final Fantasy Tactics and throw the WWE licence on it. THINK IT ABOUT IT MAN. You could really blow out and exaggerate everyone's persona's give them all sorts of wild abilities and shit. I will continue my useless one man petition for this until the end of time.

Posted by volcane2004

Screw up? Take-Two can pretty much just fix the franchise at this point.

Posted by Seroth

They should just go ahead and put all focus on improving the story creator.

Posted by zeekthegeek

Knew if they were doing a 2014 game they wouldn't be able to ditch Yukes, there is just not enough time for that. Maybe they can experiment with it later down the road.

Edited by President_Barackbar

I'll say it until I'm blue in the face. Take the frame work of a Strategy RPG like Final Fantasy Tactics and throw the WWE licence on it. THINK IT ABOUT IT MAN. You could really blow out and exaggerate everyone's persona's give them all sorts of wild abilities and shit. I will continue my useless one man petition for this until the end of time.

That is one of the dumbest fucking ideas I have ever heard in my entire life. Which is precisely why it needs to happen as soon as possible.

Edited by Miketakon

Word is Yukes has been future endeavored.

"Bloomberg reported that Take Two Interactive will take over THQ's WWE series, the company will develop and publish future WWE titles; previous agreement between THQ and Yukes' will be terminated and Yukes' will no longer be working on the series."

via GAF http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=47717139&postcount=196

Posted by DaMisterChief

WWF ERA GAMES, get some rockstar people working on that game

Posted by ChameleonX

Give Yukes a 2-year development cycle. The next game would be the perfect game to start. Skip the annual game and naming convention and rebrand the series for a next gen debut.

Posted by Grimluck343

WWF ERA GAMES, get some rockstar people working on that game

Oh God can you imagine. Whoever works on the game, I hope they take it in a totally different direction.

Edited by MattClassic

@miketakon said:

Word is Yukes has been future endeavored.

"Bloomberg reported that Take Two Interactive will take over THQ's WWE series, the company will develop and publish future WWE titles; previous agreement between THQ and Yukes' will be terminated and Yukes' will no longer be working on the series."

via GAF http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=47717139&postcount=196

Not to steal any thunder, but here's the original Bloomberg article: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-13/take-two-to-take-over-development-of-wwe-games-from-thq.html

This might be the best news I've heard in this whole THQ dissolving thing. Which is actually kind of messed up now that I think about it, that I'm excited for a game because of who isn't working on it.

Edited by Demoskinos

@demoskinos

said:

I'll say it until I'm blue in the face. Take the frame work of a Strategy RPG like Final Fantasy Tactics and throw the WWE licence on it. THINK IT ABOUT IT MAN. You could really blow out and exaggerate everyone's persona's give them all sorts of wild abilities and shit. I will continue my useless one man petition for this until the end of time.

That is one of the dumbest fucking ideas I have ever heard in my entire life. Which is precisely why it needs to happen as soon as possible.

Yer damn tootin'! I would just like to see some WWE themed games that don't always have to be a wrestling sim. As much as I do really enjoy the technical aspects of pro wrestling they've got all these fun characters that you could use to do some really wild shit.

Posted by Generiko

@miketakon said:

Word is Yukes has been future endeavored.

"Bloomberg reported that Take Two Interactive will take over THQ's WWE series, the company will develop and publish future WWE titles; previous agreement between THQ and Yukes' will be terminated and Yukes' will no longer be working on the series."

via GAF http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=47717139&postcount=196

Not to steal any thunder, but here's the original Bloomberg article: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-13/take-two-to-take-over-development-of-wwe-games-from-thq.html

This might be the best news I've heard in this whole THQ dissolving thing. Which is actually kind of messed up now that I think about it, that I'm excited for a game because of who isn't working on it.

it just sounds like they need to make new contracts between Yukes,WWE, and Take-Two to make things official. I wouldn't get my hopes up about it

Posted by President_Barackbar

As much as I do really enjoy the technical aspects of pro wrestling they've got all these fun characters that you could use to do some really wild shit.

Then boy have I got a game for you!

Posted by Agent47

@branthog: Can't tell if you are being sarcastic or not,about the "fake" wrestling thing anyway.Like I don't want to be "that" guy but yea that's a pretty bad term mainly cause you are putting your body at risk everytime and injuries are serious,like any other sport.I guess it gets lost though with all the televised broadcasts and recent softening of the sport.

Posted by liquiddragon

I used to love games like wrestlemania 2000, no mercy, and some of the smack downs on the ps2 so I'm interested in what 2k will bring.

Posted by Shane

This series has been long in need of an overhaul, and annual releases prevented that, best thing that could have happened to it tbh

Posted by SupernormalStep

I'm at the very least glad the 20 THQ WWE production staff members got to keep on with their jobs, that's really good to hear.

Edited by innervoicexx

I was never into wrestling games but maybe they can do something good with it.

Posted by RecSpec

@president_barackbar said:

@demoskinos

said:

I'll say it until I'm blue in the face. Take the frame work of a Strategy RPG like Final Fantasy Tactics and throw the WWE licence on it. THINK IT ABOUT IT MAN. You could really blow out and exaggerate everyone's persona's give them all sorts of wild abilities and shit. I will continue my useless one man petition for this until the end of time.

That is one of the dumbest fucking ideas I have ever heard in my entire life. Which is precisely why it needs to happen as soon as possible.

Yer damn tootin'! I would just like to see some WWE themed games that don't always have to be a wrestling sim. As much as I do really enjoy the technical aspects of pro wrestling they've got all these fun characters that you could use to do some really wild shit.

Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

Posted by Branthog

@agent47 said:

@branthog: Can't tell if you are being sarcastic or not,about the "fake" wrestling thing anyway.Like I don't want to be "that" guy but yea that's a pretty bad term mainly cause you are putting your body at risk everytime and injuries are serious,like any other sport.I guess it gets lost though with all the televised broadcasts and recent softening of the sport.

I'm not being sarcastic about it being fake wrestling. It is fake wrestling. It is also not a sport. The primary element of sport is competition, which isn't choreographed and doesn't have a pre-determined outcome. Ballerinas and stuntmen are very skilled, have great physical prowess, and are subjected to serious injuries. Both are in entertainment; not sports. The same is true of fake wrestling. I also don't call it pro wrestling, because that's not what it is. Pro boxing is boxing, but for money. Pro wrestling is nothing like wrestling in any way imaginable.

Referring to it as fake doesn't deter from the skill and dedication it requires. It's just an acknowledgement of what it actually is. I'm not a fan of it (because a bunch of grown men in costumes performing a soap opera where even during an actual match, they only get around to performing a move every couple of minutes and generally look like a bunch of sweaty sloths crawling around on the ground or stumbling around the ring, as if they forget they're actually fighting another living thing, so they better hurry the fuck up and get to it) -- but I know plenty of people who are and that's fine (though that doesn't stop me from generalizing about wrestling fans, the same way one would Walmart clientele or Twilight fans).

I wrestled for fifteen years (and think that real wrestling is also very stupid) and grew up around a couple "pro" wrestlers who were friends of the family (one, a certain kilt-wearing badass who owned a car shop called "Piper's Pit" in southeast Portland). I don't refer to it as "fake" out of some pompous slight, but out of respect to real wrestlers as well as real athletes in actual sports, in general. If pro boxing was totally fake, I'd refer to it as fake-boxing, too. (Okay, too be fair, pro boxing isn't fake, but there have been a number of cases where it has been orchestrated -- at least with a specific determined outcome for the benefit of promoting one fighter or another, so that's borderline, too!).

Anyway, the point of my comment about fake wrestling and the games being kind of dumb is because it's sort of weird to have a simulation of a simulation. The same way it's kind of weird (and boring) to play a paintball videogame. A simulation of a simulation of gun fighting. I mean, the idea of playing a game that simulates a thing where dudes stand around a ring doing nothing 80% of the time is . . . silly.

I also find the final product of most wrestling games over time to have been pretty bad. I used to think it was a technical limitation that we hadn't overcome yet, but boxing games have really done well in the last few years. The wrestling games always seem to have terrible animations, poor animated body interactions, ugly character models, and tons of clipping. I might even consider playing it sometime, if it didn't just look like an endless stream of graphical glitches occurring in a ring (think of the lame and disjointed animations when, for example, getting a guy in a head-and-arm or lifting him from the ground to perform some sort of ludicrous throw.

If the duders ever get a chance, I would actually love to have them ask a developer of one of these wrestling games about this. About what challenges and limitations they actual face in animating the models and making them interact in a way that (should, but doesn't) look realistic. I've kind of just always made the assumption that it was due to low budgets and shitty developers.

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