The current WWE locker room is full of video game fans, but Styles has them beat with a passion backed up by the mother of all video game collections and the ability to talk about them for hours on end.
Now that WWE 2K Battlegrounds is out, I had the chance to chat to Styles, and while I could have talked about his current feud with Sami Zayn and Jeff Hardy regarding who the true Intercontinental champion is, I thought, stuff it. It was time to talk about video games with the phenomenal one instead.
You’ve been wrestling in real rings and virtual ones all your life, so by now you’ve probably got one of the better opinions on the genre. If I was fresh-faced, curious and wanted to jump into a wrestling video game, where would you recommend I kick off my road to Wrestlemania adventure?
First I’m going to ask you: Are you willing to put in the time to get around the learning curve? What have you played previously? Like 2K and 2K Battlegrounds, it’s going to affect the way you think about wrestling. I was a big No Mercy on the N64 fan, but that’s not how 2K plays at all. You’ve got to get that out of your mind. That’s really hard for me because I love the game, and in Battlegrounds I have to find ways to open it up.
That’s what’s going to work for me, because of the learning curve. I’ve got no real patience as I’ve grown older. That’s why I’m excited about Battlegrounds. It’s a melee game, it’s a fighting game, it’s wrestling. It’s a lot of action, and being a wrestling fan, that’s cool to me. Some guys like the realism, so 2K19 is where you need to go. Because I was on the cover.
WWE 2K20 wasn’t exactly well received last year, and the next entry is taking a gap year so it can return in 2021 with a more polished product. In that gap, we’ve got WWE 2K Battlegorunds, which is simpler and more cartoonish in nature. In these weird and horrible times we currently live in, do you think a game like WWE 2K Battlegrounds is a breath of fresh air to help prevent annual franchise stagnation?
I think it’s a great idea. If it were up to me, which it’s not, we would put out 2K21 next year, skip 2022, and have Battlegrounds 2 instead. We are well and ready prepared. We are doing the same thing as Activision with Call of Duty. Ee have two different studios for games. They’re swapping that out every year and it keeps things fresh, keeps things different. For me, this is a great idea and I hope they continue.
Do you plan to play as yourself, or are you going to dip into the custom character side of the game and create your own unique superstar?
Why do I need to build a character when I can just be me? I’ll tell you why: My son will probably play as me and beat the trash out of me and I’ll have to make up a character to defeat this dude. But that’s what’s so cool about it,hat you can do that. It has always been cool, in every 2K game, that you can create anybody. Before I was in the WWE, I was in the 2K games. That’s exciting for kids and adults.
Any tips for playing the game, or are you also entering the ring on day one, like the rest of us?
Good! That’s perfect! That’s the way it should be. I would love to give you some gameplay tips, but the fact is that I haven’t had the opportunity to play it all that much. 2K, you should have let me have it first, I should have been the first one! I’m going to get whupped the first couple of times I play it, for sure.
You’ve got a hell of a video game collection, which Xavier Woods from The New Day recently documented after he paid you a visit. Out of everything you’ve collected, what’s the most valuable game in your library, not on a financial level, but as an emotional investment?