WWE 2K21 has been canceled ahead of its usual fall launch window.
Video game company investor calls are often a source of new information, but in the case of WWE 2K21 it was the wrestling company's investor call that revealed new information about this fall's presumed game. As it turns out, it's not happening. "[T]here’s not going to be a launch of a game this year," said WWE interim CFO Frank Riddick when asked about the game.
Before last year's game, previous installments had been developed in collaboration by Yukes and Visual Concepts, the same studio (but different team) that launches the award-winning NBA 2K series each year. But beginning with last year's game, Yukes departed the series to work on its own wrestling game unrelated to WWE.
At least partly for that reason, WWE 2K20 was a certified mess at launch last fall, with bugs so bad that it was trending on social media for all the wrong reasons. Some people demanded refunds and Visual Concepts promised to fix the game. To an extent, the studio did repair it, though early impressions sunk it, leaving it with one of last year's lowest OpenCritic scores of a 39 with just 2% of reviewers recommending the game to players.
Rumors still swirl that there will be some kind of WWE game in 2020, but it won't be a simulation. From those details, it sounds like an arcade-like, perhaps retro-styled experience is in the works. When approached for comment on the WWE series, a representative for 2K told Polygon to look for "details on the future of the WWE 2K franchise as well as some exciting news on Monday at 7:00 a.m. PT."