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.