With a new "WWE 2K" video game on the horizon, the chance is there for 2K Games to finally replicate the experience of a wrestling fan to tune into "WWE Raw" or "SmackDown Live." Since taking over the WWE video game license in 2013, 2K has struggled to reinvent the franchise after years of former developer THQ letting the series grow stale.
Now, with "WWE 2K17," it feels like they may have finally accomplished their objective. At a launch party for the game in New York City, Zap2it was able to get our hands on a demo of "WWE 2K17," which gave a sneak peek at the major improvements that were made, creating the closest feeling yet to actual WWE programming.
1. An all-new ladder match
For so long, ladder matches have been a hindrance in WWE games. It was practically impossible to place the ladder in just the right spot to retrieve the prize hanging above the ring. Plus, as wrestlers got more creative with how to use the ladder as a weapon, it simply didn't translate to the game.
With the new ladder match, there are only five places to set up the ladder in the ring -- including perfectly centered for getting the title. To add more damage though, it can be propped up outside of the ring between the apron and audience barrier. That one's going to hurt.
2. Backstage brawls are back
After a lengthy absence, backstage brawls are back and better than ever. You and your opponent will have multiple connected areas to battle through, including Vince McMahon's office, with just about everything in the environment able to be used as a weapon -- smash them through a TV or powerbomb them on a desk, if you feel like it. "2K17" also brings fighting in the crowd back, with a section in the audience loaded with weapons to inflict more damage.
3. The biggest and best roster yet
While "2K16" boasted the biggest wrestler roster to date, the new version is going even bigger, with more past, current and future superstars. There's even a special NXT edition of the game that gives you access to superstars like Shinsuke Nakamura, Nia Jax and Apollo Crews. Of course, there's also the DLC packs, which haven't been officially announced yet, that will load even more wrestlers into your game.
4. Toning down the chair in a multiple-person match
In years past, sometimes matches had far too many people to keep track of the action. Now, like real life, players will be able to roll out of the ring to catch their breath, allowing the match to continue in a more focused way. Don't worry, while recovering from damage taken you should still be able to jump back into the ring to break up a pin.
5. Taunts will actually help you now
Finally, taunts aren't just something to make you look cool while your opponent is down and hurting. Now certain taunts will give you a boost of energy, while other will increase the damage you dole out. Choose your taunts and when you unleash them carefully and you may become the most dominant superstar. Plus, you'll still look cool.
"WWE 2K17" is available beginning Oct. 11 on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3.