Cover art featuring Stone Cold Steve Austin
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, Xbox One|
WWE 2K16 is a professional wrestling video game developed in a collaboration between Yuke's and Visual Concepts, and published by 2K Sports for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. It is the sequel to WWE 2K15, and was succeeded by WWE 2K17. It was released on October 27, 2015, in North America and on October 30, 2015, in Europe, while being released on PC on March 11, 2016.
Reversals have been changed so players have a set amount of reversals per match, preventing players from spamming reversals all match. On next-gen versions, there are no loading screens between entrances, and players have the ability to attack other wrestlers during their entrance. Referee and manager AI has been improved. The chain wrestling minigame has been reworked. Pins and submissions have been reworked and improved, with a new system replacing the previous one, allowing for fairer breakouts and newer animations have also been added, including dirty pins and canceled pins. Online matchmaking has also been improved. The game will also feature rest holds characters can use to regain stamina. Gameplay in the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions remains largely the same blueprint as in previous iterations on those respective consoles; however, new things have been introduced, including smoother animations for a number of moves. Handicap tag team and tornado tag matches, all of which were removed in WWE 2K15, return in WWE 2K16.
2K announced on their social media accounts that WWE 2K16 will feature the "largest roster in the game's history", featuring over 120 unique playable characters, nearly double the 67 that were in last year's game. A developer for the game then clarified that the 120 unique playable characters count does not include potential DLC, and that all 120 characters are included and will be released with the game. 2K revealed that despite "push(ing) as hard as we could" to include them, for "various reasons," Sasha Banks, Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Bayley (the Four Horsewomen of NXT) will not be in the game or included as DLC. 2K also revealed that WWE denied them the inclusion of Cody Rhodes as himself in the game, though he was included as his Stardust gimmick. Hulk Hogan was announced as being part of the game, but was cut late in development due to the release of controversial racial statements he had made previously. 2K16 features 26 superstars making their WWE games franchise debut.
Visuals and audio
The commentary team has been expanded to three members, with John "Bradshaw" Layfield joining the returning Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler. Jim Ross returns to call matches alongside Lawler in the Steve Austin showcase. The game features new cloth physics and animations, creating more realistic attire. The variety of the crowd has been improved as well. Hair physics and sweat features have been improved. In the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, only Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler are present for commentary outside of Showcase mode. WWE 2K16 features a licensed soundtrack that consists of twelve songs as well as users can use entrance theme song of superstar/Diva to be played in the menu. 
The 2K Showcase mode also returns, with the showcase detailing the career of the cover star "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. A second showcase becomes available only with purchase of the 'Hall Of Fame' DLC pack. It is a collection of classic matches featuring each of the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2015 entrants (excluding Arnold Schwarzenegger). However, one match with Alundra Blayze is a fantasy match featuring then current WWE women's wrestler Paige. This was the last video game in the WWE 2K series to feature a single player story campaign.
MyCareer returns from 2K15, with 2K claiming the mode will be significantly expanded from last year's game. The mode is only available on PlayStation 4, PC and Xbox One. Several changes have been made in order to give the player more control over their superstar. The character's personality can be influenced through actions, such as forming alliances and rivalries. The Authority are featured in the mode, with the player having the option to support or defy them, causing their career to be influenced. Players are also able to interfere in other superstar's matches in order to create rivalries.
WWE Universe mode allows the player to create their own WWE shows and pay-per-view events, allowing them to create rivalries and feuds for singles wrestlers and/or tag team wrestlers, and will let them create custom arenas and championship titles.
Players can have a variety of different matches with other players online.
Create a Diva, Create a Show, Create an Arena, and Create a Championship features that were removed in WWE 2K15 have returned in 2K16. The create a superstar feature includes several new features, such as hair dye, change material properties (for example, having a mask or shirt be vinyl, cloth or satin) and new face photo importing tool. The amount of available save slots for created superstars has been increased to 100, the same number as in 2K14 and four times the amount available in 2K15.
Marketing and promotion
On June 16, 2015, WWE 2K16 was officially announced by WWE and 2K, when they revealed the first six superstars and divas, who would be included on the game's roster. On July 6, 2015, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was announced as the cover superstar for this year's game, accompanying by the debut trailer, which features Austin digging up at the desert, uncovering his customized "Smoking Skull" championship belt and putting it over his shoulder, before turning his head, just to stare down and at the camera.
On July 27, 2015, 2K announced that Arnold Schwarzenegger's T-800 Terminator (both The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day versions) will be a playable character available as a pre-order exclusive. On the same day, the second trailer featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Daniel Bryan, Eva Marie, Paige, Finn Bálor and Dean Ambrose was released to promote the inclusion of the Terminator character in the game. The trailer was a re-enactment of the bar scene from Terminator 2: Judgment Day. 2K then released the first official screenshot of the game, the Raw announce table with John "Bradshaw" Layfield's cowboy hat sitting on it.
On August 4, 2015, IGN revealed the first screenshots, gameplay and entrances for WWE 2K16 at Gamescom. IGN then handled the release of newer screenshots, animations, features, and artwork which would be included in the game. They also handled the weekly release of superstars who would be featured in the game, dubbing it "IGN's Roster 3:16". An Arabic localization has been announced for Middle Eastern countries. The demo for the game was playable at selected Walmart locations across the United States as part of the "WWE 2K16 Early Access Tour". 2K then released a trailer detailing the MyCareer mode of the game on September 25, 2015. The series of trailers featuring Stone Cold preaching from "The Book of Austin" gave details on the game's roster, three man commentary, the game's soundtrack, and the game's feature set. The third live action trailer, titled "Bonfire" was released starring Austin, Sting, Seth Rollins, Rusev, Paige, Kane and Ambrose on October 20, 2015.
On October 7, 2015, 2K revealed the game's post-launch season pass and DLC information. The season pass includes the Legends Pack (featuring these playable characters such as Big Boss Man, Dusty Rhodes, Lita, Mr. Perfect, Roddy Piper and Trish Stratus), the 2015 Hall of Fame Showcase (which features these wrestlers, who have been inducted into the 2015's WWE Hall of Fame, also it features these playable matches that includes Randy Savage vs. Jake Roberts; Rikishi vs. The Rock; Alundra Blayze vs. Paige; Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Ric Flair; The Bushwackers vs. The Natural Disasters; The Outsiders vs. Harlem Heat, and Ricky Steamboat and Dustin Rhodes vs. The Enforcers), the New Moves Pack (featuring several new animations and wrestling moves), and the Future Stars pack (which features playable characters such as Samoa Joe, Blake and Murphy and Los Matadores). In addition, a MyPlayer KickStart was announced as a boost for player stats in MyCareer mode. The digital deluxe edition, featuring the game, season pass, MyPlayer boost, and a digital theme was also announced. All season pass content was released on March 31, 2016.
Eurogamer called it "best wrestling game in years", praising the gameplay changes and deep roster, while noting long load times. In a positive review, IGN called the game a "step in the right direction" for the series and praised the gameplay and roster features, but criticized overall inconsistency within the game. GameSpot rated the game a harsher 4 out of 10, praising the 2K Showcase mode and the return of Jim Ross on commentary but saying that "Little else in the game makes much of a positive impression".
- List of licensed wrestling video games
- List of fighting games
- List of video games in the WWE 2K Games series
- WWE 2K
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