this was coming last week, but now it's official: Take-Two is now the holder of the WWE license.
Take-Two struck a five-year deal with WWE, WWE executive vice president of consumer products Casey Collins confirmed to ESPN. The previous WWE license holder was THQ, who has been pumping out wrasslin' games since 1999. THQ has since become no more, forced to sell off all its assets to the highest bidder – but before that silent auction, THQ and WWE got together to hold private bidding for the license. According to Collins, Take-Two was the right fit, a publisher he sees as "a leader going forward on these next-gen systems."
Not only that, but Take-Two's success with the NBA 2K series also spurred interest, Collins said. "The work they do, and the quality of the games they put out and how they've been able to grow their franchise with not only the simulation aspect of the game, but also the entertainment aspect, we thought they'd be a perfect partner."
WWE '14 will launch this fall, a joint collaboration between 2K Sports studio Visual Concepts and longtime WWE series developer Yukes, located in Japan. As part of this five-year deal, Take-Two has also hired on some designers from THQ to work with Visual Concepts. "What we're going to do moving forward is meld Yukes with the team at Visual Concepts, so we can have the best of both worlds," Collins said. "Having Yukes' experience and then getting the Visual Concepts guys on board with them, we think this is going to be a dynamic duo."
Collins confirmed that folks from THQ's "Fight Team" were being hired at Take-Two to help Visual Concepts with the transition. "The THQ Fight Team is also being brought over, and they'll report directly to Visual Concepts. Their experience in the marketing, their experience in the development, their experience with our franchise for years ... we thought that it was very valuable to keep that continuity."
[Note: Image taken from WWE '13, but you probably knew that because it says WWE '13 right on the image.