The General Manager Mode was a mainstay for the Smackdown vs Raw series on the PlayStation 3. However, that came to an end when the 2009 entry in the series opted instead for the Road to Wrestlemania mode instead – which also replaced the Season Mode. The fans of the series didn’t respond well, and, for the last ten years, have requested that the developers find a way of bringing it back. Other sports sims like NHL 20 and FIFA 20 have their own management simulation which adds more content and better value for money.
More recently, Fire Pro Wrestling on the PlayStation 3 and PC has added its own GM mode called Fire Promoter and as a result, the series has gained bigger following than previous entries. One only has to go to the Fire Pro Wrestling fan page to see the growing community sharing their promoter results online and comparing it to others to get an idea of how engaging such a mode can be. Keeping gamers talking and interested until the next series entry is exactly what 2K should be aiming for, so here are 10 reasons why GM Mode should make a comeback.
10 Smackdown’s Move To Fox
In October 2019 one of WWE’s flagship shows Smackdown moved to Fox in a deal with worth $205 million per year. This means that going forward that show will be competing with and striving to get better ratings than WWE Raw which airs on NBCUniversal.
This means that for the very first time the brand split means that both shows genuinely competing with each other. In the past, the concept of Smackdown vs. Raw always felt like a hollow and scripted imitation of the Monday Night Wars between WWE and WCW. Now that the competition between the networks promises to be a new TV rating war in itself now would be the perfect time to reintroduce the GM Mode allowing players to replicate what they see on TV.
9 GM Mode Allows Fans To Get Creative
WWE’s GM Mode was replaced by the Universe Mode in 2009 and for the past 10 years, fans have been begging for it to return. While Universe Mode does offer many of the same features the pressure to get creative and defeat the competing show by any means necessary meant players had to think outside the box.
In addition, there’s something more satisfying about running a show and getting successful ratings, purchasing top stars, and beating the other brands to the punch or defeating them at their own game.
8 A Universe Mode With Stakes
When Universe Mode arrived on Smackdown vs Raw in 2009 it felt and still feels like a shallow version of the General Manager Mode. It’s true that Universe mode allows players a lot of flexibility in creating their own shows and setting matches for a five-star event, but this feels pointless without any reason to do it.
What made the GM Mode so interesting is the stakes were higher, setting up dull pay per views or risk losing unhappy wrestlers to a different brand would cost the player dearly in the brand wars. Without the stakes involved in a proper GM mode, there’s very little reason to play the Universe mode.
7 GM Mode Will Add Longevity
The beauty of a General Manager Mode is like other sports games that include a similar option is that it adds longevity and will keep players coming back for more. A management sim with real stakes and control in the outcomes of their favorites wrestlers and teams and it becomes a game within a game.
One of the biggest complaints from fans of the series is that once they have completed MyPlayer and the Showcase modes there’s very little reason to return to it. A GM mode would be the perfect answer to that and could potentially add more longevity than a recent Brock Lesnar title reign.
6 Online Capabilities Make GM Mode A Perfect Fit
When the General Manager mode was a mainstay in the Smackdown vs Raw series on the PlayStation 3 online gaming wasn’t as fast as it is today. With today’s online capabilities, better servers, and console power, a General Manager Mode competing against a friend would be a perfect fit.
Players competing against each other online for brand supremacy would add to the stakes even more than a single-player mode. Being able to steal or outbid opposing players for their star wrestlers has the potential to become incredibly tactical and satisfying in its execution.
5 The Rise Of AEW
It has been a long time since the WWE had a legitimate contender in wrestling programming since the collapse and purchase of World Championship Wrestling (WCW). The WWE hasn’t needed to worry about getting beaten in ratings or potentially losing wrestlers to another promotion for nearly two decades.
Then All Elite Wrestling (AEW) arrived on TNT smashing WWE NXT on Wednesday nights and a billionaire boss with more than enough money to compete with Vince on a global scale. The WWE 2K games should take full advantage of the new TV rating war allowing players to set up their own fantasy promotion wars.
4 A Sense Of Accomplishment
The Universe Mode in the WWE 2K series looks like it is set to stay but that doesn’t mean that the developers can’t find a way to use the available tools and work in a real competitive General Manager option too.
What Universe Mode lacks is a sense of accomplishment and personal investment. Those who have played the Fire Promoter Mode in Fire Pro Wrestling know only too well the anxiety of losing a star wrestler to an injury just as the company is doing well and earning big money – Universe just lacks that kind of engagement.
3 Relive The Monday Night Wars
Wrestling fans that grew up watching in the late nineties will always tell younger audiences that there has never been a better time since to be a fan of wrestling. This was due to the famed Monday Night Wars between the WWE and WCW.
For those that don’t know what this is should check out the Monday Night Wars series on the WWE Network just to see how hard both promotions worked to keep their fans interested in the biggest stars. A GM mode that could include some Showcase moments from that period of history would definitely satisfy fans young and old.
2 Fire Pro Wrestling Proves There’s Still An Audience For GM Mode
Over the last ten years, fans have been begging for the developers of the Smackdown and now the WWE 2K series to bring back the General Manager Mode. For whatever reason, the developers have chosen to stick with the Universe Mode in the recent games.
It could be possible that 2K feel that there wouldn’t be much call for a promoter/manager mode but the sudden interest in Fire Pro Wrestling’s Fire Promoter Mode proves others. The game has a cult following that continues to grow for this reason - as well as its deep gameplay - and its fans are more than happy to spend hours tweaking every little thing in their promotions and wrestlers to achieve a successful company.
1 2K Really Needs To Listen To Its Fans
Just like its real-life counterpart the WWE 2K series hasn’t had any competition in the wrestling games business for years. There was the mediocre TNA Impact developed by the now-defunct Midway Studios and released in 2008 on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 or the Fire Pro Wrestling series which for some is an acquired taste because of its old school visuals.
However, Yukes the team responsible for creating all the Smackdown and WWE 2K games have left to create their own non-WWE wrestling game without the pressure of feeling rushed into a yearly release schedule. Fans are speculating that it could be either a full-blown AEW game or a game that includes several smaller promotions in one title. Either way, now that competition is about to heat up in the video game market again it would pay for the developers at 2K to listen to their audience starting with a GM Mode before they move on.