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Get the first look at WWE 2K23 with Stone Cold, Hogan, cover athlete John Cena and more

After remaining something of a mystery for a while, 2K’s WWE 2K23 is official, and it’s bringing some of the biggest grapplers of all time with it.

The Champ is here

John Cena seems like an odd choice for a cover athlete, but that’s just what fans will be getting when WWE 2K23 hits the shelves. The former wrestling great-turned-actor will be featured on no less that three covers for the game, which was just made official today.

Aside from the announcement of Cena though, 2K also revealed some first looks at the in-game graphics for the title. Those don’t disappoint, as screen showcase some of the biggest stars of today, plus Hollywood Hogan and Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Take a peek:

“It is a pleasure to tell the story of my career through the WWE 2K23 Showcase,” said John Cena. “2K has done a fantastic job capturing and invigorating the WWE 2K franchise through this concept, and I am honored to grace the cover of WWE 2K23.”

“Much like our cover Superstar John Cena, the Visual Concepts team didn’t back down from the challenge to prove that the quality of the WWE 2K franchise is here to stay,” said Greg Thomas, President at Visual Concepts. “WWE 2K23 takes a winning formula and adds so much more. We’re especially excited to see how fans react to the 2K Showcase and WarGames.”

2K press release

Along with Cena, fans can expect to see a loaded roster, with “Roman Reigns, “American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes, Ronda Rousey, Brock Lesnar, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and more”. It’s particularly great to see the legends showcased right alongside the modern stars in this first look too. So if you’re in it for the classic guys and gals, it certainly seems as though you should find plenty to like.

And speaking of which, longtime players of the series should be able to expect plenty of improvements this year too.

Building a sports entertainment empire

While there might have been some periods of relative stagnation for the WWE series from 2K, last year broke that tradition nicely. WWE 2K22 had quite a bit of refinement and improvement from previous entries, and moved things along pretty darn well.

For the 2023 model, the publisher and developer Visual Concepts will continue that. The press release for the new game touts not only the improved graphics and animation, but also “camera angles and lighting, plus accessible controls and a new optional pinning mechanic”. Sounds interesting.

As far as modes, you can expect a return to form, plus the addition of stuff like Wargames. The fan favorite event will be making its first appearance in a WWE game, with 3 on 3 or 4 on 4 play.

And of course, there’ll be some Cena-centric action.

  • 2K Showcase Starring John Cena: Conquering John Cena in the ring is an accolade few Superstars can claim. In an unprecedented twist on the 2K Showcase, players will step into the boots of several of Cena’s toughest competitors with one goal in mind: defeat the man who will “Never Give Up.” Spanning his 20-year WWE career and narrated by Cena himself, this interactive sports entertainment documentary uses 2K’s unique Slingshot Tech for a seamless transition from gameplay to live-action footage to bring pivotal moments in each match to life;
  • WarGames: The fan-favorite, chaotic and action-packed WarGames makes its debut in WWE 2K23 and delivers heart-pounding 3v3 and 4v4 single player or multiplayer mayhem inside two side-by-side rings, surrounded by a double-steel cage;
  • MyGM: Now featuring more GMs to choose from – or a player’s own custom GM creation – as well as additional show options, multiple seasons, expanded match cards, and more match types for up to four players. Players draft a roster, manage budgets, sign free agents, choose various match types, arena locations, production elements and more, with the goal of beating a rival GM in weekly ratings battles;
  • MyFACTION: Now featuring online multiplayer action, the team-building mode in which players collect, manage, and upgrade an array of WWE Superstars and Legends to create their ultimate four-person factions returns. Players can now take their faction online and compete for global dominance, or compete in Weekly Towers and Faction Wars, while new themed card packs and goals roll out regularly throughout the year**;
  • MyRISE: Aspiring Superstars walk through the curtain for their WWE debut in MyRISE and shape their career with the decisions made along the way. Featuring distinct men’s and women’s division storylines and the ability to import custom created Superstars, players journey from the humble beginnings of a Rookie, to being immortalized as a WWE Legend;
  • Universe: The ultimate WWE Universe sandbox that puts players in charge of their own version of WWE, from Superstar rosters, feuds, champions, weekly shows, and Premium Live Events! Updates to Universe include a reworked story system and more;
  • Creation Suite: A signature feature of the WWE 2K franchise, the creation suite returns with cross-platform community creations, including the ability to design custom Superstars, GMs, arenas, entrances, move sets, championships and more. Custom arenas are now playable online, and advanced customization has been added to created entrances.

The ways to play

In addition to all of the above, 2K also took the wraps off just how you’ll be able to play WWE 2K23. And by that, I mean the four different versions of the game that will be out there for you to scoop up.

Obviously, there will be a standard version, for those who don’t particularly care about all the extras. But other than that, fans can also look for a Cross-Generation version (which should be self-explanatory), plus Deluxe and Icon Editions.

Here’s how those break down:

  • The Standard Edition will be available for $59.99 on previous-gen platforms (PS4, Xbox One consoles) and PC and for $69.99 on current-gen consoles (PS5 and Xbox Series X|S) in both physical and digital formats;
  • The Cross-Gen edition will be available digitally for $69.99 on PlayStation and Xbox consoles. The Cross-Gen edition includes the Standard Edition across previous and current-gen platforms within the same console family and the same PlayStation or Xbox account***;
  • The Deluxe Edition will be available for $99.99 for PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox One in both physical and digital formats, and on PC in digital format. The Deluxe Edition includes the Standard Edition, Bad Bunny Bonus Pack, plus a Season Pass to all five post-launch DLC content packs****; the MyRISE Mega-Boost and SuperCharger; Ruby John Cena MyFACTION Evo Card, Gold Edge MyFACTION Card, Emerald Bianca Belair MyFACTION Card, Gold Asuka MyFACTION Card, and three Basic Premium Launch MyFACTION Card Packs. The Deluxe Edition will be available from March 14, 2023 – three days ahead of Standard and Cross-Gen Editions!*****;
  • The Icon Edition will be available for $119.99 for PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC, featuring original cover art by renowned WWE-inspired artist Rob Schamberger. In addition to the Standard Edition and all bonus content included in the Deluxe Edition, the Icon Edition includes the Ruthless Aggression Pack, celebrating 20 years of John Cena’s WWE career by featuring John Cena’s early “Prototype” character, as well as “Leviathan” Batista, developmental rookie versions of Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton, the John Cena Legacy Championship and WrestleMania 22 Arena. Additional bonus content includes an Emerald Paul Heyman MyFACTION Manager Card, and three Deluxe Premium Launch MyFACTION Card Packs. The Icon Edition will be available from March 14, 2023 – three days ahead of Standard and Cross-Gen Editions!*****;
  • Bad Bunny Bonus Pack Pre-Order Offer: Players who pre-ordered the Standard Edition and Cross-Gen Digital Bundlewill receive the Bad Bunny Bonus Pack, which includes Bad Bunny as a playable character, as well as a Ruby tier Bad Bunny MyFACTION card.* The Bad Bunny Bonus Pack is included in the Deluxe Edition and Icon Edition at launch.

* Bad Bunny Bonus Pack Pre-Order Bonus Offer: *Pre-order bonus offer available through March 16, 2023 for orders of WWE 2K23 Standard Edition and Cross Gen Digital Edition. Offer is for one (1) Bad Bunny Bonus Pack, which includes playable Bad Bunny character and Ruby tier MyFACTION card. Bad Bunny Bonus Pack is included with the Deluxe and Icon Editions. For digital pre-orders, items will be automatically entitled on March 17, 2023. For physical pre-orders, items will be redeemed in game via code provided in box. Terms apply.

**WWE 2K23 and internet access required to play MyFACTION content. Online Account (13+) required to access online features. See www.take2games.com/legal and www.take2games.com/privacy for additional details.

***PlayStation 5 console required to play PS5 version. PlayStation 4 console required to play PS4 version. Xbox Series X|S console required to play Xbox Series X|S version. Xbox One console required to redeem and use Xbox One version. 

**** For digital orders, post-launch DLC will be automatically delivered on release for PC users, available for download in the PlayStation store/Library tile for PS4 and PS5 users, and available for download in the Microsoft Store for Xbox users. For physical orders, post-launch DLC will be available upon release and redeemed in game via code provided in box.  DLC will also be available for purchase separately

About Jason

Jason's been knee deep in videogames since he was but a lad. Cutting his teeth on the pixely glory that was the Atari 2600, he's been hack'n'slashing and shoot'em'uping ever since. Mainly an FPS and action guy, Jason enjoys the occasional well crafted title from every genre.

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