Ever since its disappearance from the WWE game series in 2008, fans have constantly asked for General Manager mode to be reinstated. In WWE 2K22, General Manager made his long-awaited return, but was it a triumphant return, or the gaming equivalent of WWECW?
Well, I’d say it’s somewhere in between, maybe closer to Kevin Nash in 2011; bags of promise but ultimately a bit of disappointment.
Why? Allow me to elaborate…
Why GM mode?
As you probably already know, this is the only mode I was REALLY looking forward to, as I briefly explained in my first article; 6 WWE 2K22 Superstar Rankings got it totally wrong.
No, I’m not above a cheap plug.
So before I can fully explain why GM mode isn’t for me in 2K22, I first need to explain a bit about why I like GM mode so much and why, therefore, your opinion may differ wildly from mine.
If you don’t care to please me for a second while I take a brief stroll down memory lane, please skip to the next section!
I grew up playing games like Championship Manager, Theme Hospital and Rollercoaster Tycoon. Management simulations have always been something I can easily get lost in for hours.
When I discovered the Extreme Warfare series created by Adam Ryland I was in my element, and I 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 in college at the time, and we had a huge GM tournament at one point (with massive prize money and forfeits at stake) which was eventually won by a very good friend of mine who unfortunately no longer with us.
I could honestly talk about this all night, but I’ve digressed enough. Hopefully, though, this gives you some idea of 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.
Positives of 2K22 General Manager Mode
I want to look at the positives first, because despite where you think I’m headed, there are quite a few.
For starters, the whole mode looks great and plays well for what it is. Booking shows, writing lists, keeping track of “authority challenges” and using power maps are very simple and easy to understand.
Benefits, cards and courses
I like that your choice of show and GM gives useful little perks, but not overpowering or game-changing.
I also like the bonus card system in general, as it can generate interesting variables. They include things like the ability to sign legends to a free contract, extend existing contracts at no cost, block your rival from using certain superstars or production items, and more.
Again, none of this gives TOO much of an insurmountable advantage to anyone, but the right cards can certainly give players a boost or cause their rivals a moderate inconvenience.
Another positive for me is how Superstars have classes and how well certain classes work when you pit them against each other. This means you have to think a bit 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 chances are your grades will suffer and you’ll run out of money pretty quickly.
Balance the books
If you are struggling with money, you also have the option of hiring “local talent”, which is unpopular but inexpensive to hire. They can be developed, if you’re willing to put in the time (or buy a card that gives them enough of a boost) and can actually become one of your best stars if you handle them right.
Having multiple sources of income (ticket sales, running commercial segments during shows, TV money based on production values, etc.) is nice, and I 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 sometimes means you’ll be holding Raw or Smackdown in a school gymnasium for example, which doesn’t make much sense if you think about it.
In summary, 2K22’s general manager mode works well and it’s fun to play, but…
2K22 General Manager Mode Negatives
There are definitely some things I have to take issue with, and most of them have to do with how it feels in general.
It would have been very easy for 2K to take the well-established Universe mode and modify it, add elements of GM mode and victory conditions and leave it up to the players,
But instead, it feels like they decided to build this mode from scratch and then ran out of time to complete it properly, so cut a lot of corners.
First, you need to choose a time limit for the game. One year is the longest option, which apart from being an unnecessary restriction, removes one of the best features of the original GM mode; the annual project.
Previously, GMs earned “tags” they could place on certain Superstars to prevent them from being draft eligible, making them and the brand’s champions the only people safe in the annual reshuffle.
Speaking of champions, that’s another restriction; you only have 2.
Mid-card and Tag titles simply don’t exist in GM mode, nor do official Tag teams, or factions, or any other type of match outside of 1 Vs. 1 and 2 V. 2.
If you want a Fatal 4 Way for the WWE Championship for example…sorry, you’re out of luck.
It’s all starting to seem pretty limited, right?
Well, that brings me to the biggest limitation of all, and yet another one that seems silly and made just to make things simple.
You cannot write from the whole list.
I started the draft, got the top pick, and decided to take Roman Reigns and hopefully The Usos so I could use The Bloodline, not being aware of the limitations I was going to encounter once the draft finished.
The problem is that Reigns wasn’t there, and neither was much of the games programming. I first assumed they must have been picked up by one of the other GMs, but there were too many missing even though I was the last person to draft.