Since its disappearance from the WWE games series in 2008, fans have consistently requested that General Manager mode be reinstated. In WWE 2K22 General Manager made its long-awaited return, but was it a triumphant comeback, or the gaming equivalent of WWECW?
Well, I’d say it’s somewhere in between, perhaps more akin to Kevin Nash in 2011; bags of promise but ultimately a bit of a disappointment.
Why? Allow me to elaborate…
Why GM Mode?
As you’re probably aware by now, this is the one mode I was REALLY looking forward to, as I briefly explained in my first article; 6 Superstar Ratings WWE 2K22 Got Totally Wrong.
No, I’m not above a cheap plug.
So before I can fully explain why GM Mode doesn’t hit the mark for me in 2K22, I first need to explain a little bit about why I love GM Mode so much, and why as a result your opinion might vary wildly from mine.
If you don’t care to indulge me for a second while I take a brief stroll down memory lane, please skip on to the next section!
I grew up playing games like Championship Manager, Theme Hospital and Rollercoaster Tycoon. Management sims have always been something I can easily get lost in for hours at a time.
When I discovered the Extreme Warfare series created by Adam Ryland I was in my element, and must have spent days of my life playing Extreme Warfare Revenge in the early 2000s.
So when GM Mode was introduced in Smackdown Vs, Raw 2006 it was like all my dreams had come true, and I loved it. I was at University at the time, and we had a huge GM tournament at one point (with a considerable cash prize and forfeits on the line) that was ultimately won by a very good friend of mine who is sadly no longer with us.
I could honestly talk about it all night, but I’ve digressed enough. Hopefully though that will give you an impression of just why GM mode holds such a special place in my heart, and why I probably hold it to much higher standards than some players will do.
2K22 General Manager Mode Positives
First I want to look at the positives, because despite where you suspect I might be heading, there are quite a few of them.
For a start the whole mode looks great and plays well for what it is. Booking shows, drafting rosters, following the ‘Authority Challenges’ and using power cards is all very straight-forward and easy to understand.
Perks, Cards and Classes
I like that your choice of show and General Manager gives little perks that are useful, but not over-powered or game breaking.
I also like the perk card system in general, as it can throw up some interesting variables. They include things like being able to sign Legends on a free contract, extend existing contracts with no charge, block your rival from using certain Superstars or production items, and so on.
Again none of it gives anyone TOO much of an insurmountable advantage, but the right cards can definitely give players a boost or cause their rivals a moderate inconvenience.
Another positive for me is how Superstars have classes, and how certain classes work well when you pit them against each other. This means you have to think a little more when selecting your roster, and you can’t just go for all the biggest names and expect it to work.
I mean you can, if you really want to, but there’s a good chance your ratings will suffer and you’ll run out of money pretty quickly.
Balancing the Books
If you’re having money troubles there is also now the option to hire ‘Local Talent’, who are low popularity but cheap to contract. They can be developed, if you’re willing to put the time in (or purchase a card that gives them a sufficient boost) and can actually end up as one of your top stars if you manage them correctly.
Having multiple revenue streams (ticket sales, running advertising segments during shows, TV money based on production values and so on) is nice, and I do like the idea that different levels of marketing, equipment, arena sizes etc are a choice and will affect your bottom line. It’s a bit of a double edged sword though, as it means sometimes you’ll be holding Raw or Smackdown in a school gym for example, which doesn’t make a lot of sense if you think about it.
In summary 2K22’s General Manager Mode does get a lot right and it IS fun to play, but…
2K22 General Manager Mode Negatives
There are definitely some things I have to take issue with, and most of them relate to how bare-bones this feels in general.
It would have been really easy for 2K to take the well established Universe mode and tweak it, add in the GM mode elements and some win conditions and leave players to it.
But instead it feels like they decided to build this mode from the ground up, then ran out of time to finish it properly so cut a load of corners.
Firstly you have to choose a time-limit for the game. A year is the longest option, which aside from being a pointless restriction, removes one of the better features of the original GM mode; the annual draft.
Previously GMs would earn ‘tags’ that they could place on certain Superstars to stop them from being eligible for the draft, making them and the brands champions the only people who were safe when the annual reshuffle came around.
Speaking of champions, that’s another restriction; you only have 2.
Mid-card and Tag titles just don’t exist in GM Mode, neither do official Tag Teams, or Factions, or any match types outside of 1 Vs. 1 and 2 Vs. 2.
If you want a Fatal 4 Way for the WWE Championship for example… sorry, you’re out of luck.
All beginning to sound pretty limited, right?
Well that brings me onto the biggest limitation of them all, and yet another one that seems nonsensical and done purely to simplify things.
You can’t draft from the whole roster.
I started the draft, got first pick and decided I’d take Roman Reigns, and hopefully The Usos so I could utilise The Bloodline, not aware of the limitations I was about to encounter once I’d finished the draft.
Problem is Reigns wasn’t there, and neither were a good chunk of the games lineup either. I first presumed they must have been picked up by one of the other GMs, but there were too many missing even if I was the last person to draft.
It appears to be random as to who you do and don’t get a chance to draft, and the same applies to mid-season drafts too as the ‘Free Agent’ pool randomly changes each week, although that could be explained by the other GM’s picking Superstars up or not renewing their contracts and letting them go.
Once again though it seems like an unnecessary restriction, which I can only presume would have taken more time to program in than if you just had free reign across everyone.
Oh, and there’s no trading either, at least not that you can instigate yourself. Occasionally your rival brand might offer you one of their Superstars for a price, or someone might defect and offer you their services, but if you want someone on the opposite roster you’re out of luck unless one of those things happen or they get released.
I don’t want to be too negative, because I DID still have fun playing 2K22 General Manager mode.
But its biggest crime is that it doesn’t even replicate what already worked over a decade ago. Had this been an exact replica of what we had in 2006/2007, but with an updated roster, gameplay and graphics, I would have been more than happy even if there was no clear progression.
But instead we got something that feels very rushed, and I hope the 2K developers have plans to build on it for the next iteration of the WWE 2K franchise, whenever that might be.
Am I looking at the old G.M Modes through rose-tinted spectacles? Almost certainly, but could (and should) 2K22 General Manager mode be way better than it is? Definitely.