WWE 2K15 is the 2015 installment in the long line of wrestling games developed by Yuke’s and the second game under the WWE 2K banner following WWE 2K14. The fighters are based on the WWE license with a roster of 75 characters, smaller than the previous game. In general this edition tones down the arcade approach in favour of slower and more strategic gameplay. Strikes are for instance slower and the stamina system is more effective, especially noticeable for superstars that previously almost always stood up right away. There is a new type of stamina meter with three tiers, drained by enemy attacks. With each tier lost, the fighter becomes slower and more exhausted, eventually even unable to perform finishing moves.
From the Smackdown titles in the series that ended in 2010 the game brings back a season mode in the form of MyCareer. Players get to design a custom wrestler in the game’s Creative Suite and then build the wrestler’s career, starting from the WWE Performance Center and NXT to the main WrestleMania event and finally the WWE Hall of Fame. It employs a storyline with decisions that lead to branching events and a morality system based on following or ignoring the rules. Matches are rated using a star system from one to five based on momentum, pacing and technique, and different ratings based on the type of match. The meter can be tweaked or turned off, for instance to drain slower or to regenerate.
The 2K Showcase mode lets players relive famous WWE feuds from the past 30 years such as Triple H vs Shawn Michaels and John Cena vs. CM Punk with specific objectives during the matches. It is similar to the Attitude Era mode from WWE ’13. Multiplayer is supported in both offline and online matches. There are Steel Cage matches with an escape system, Hell in a Cell matches with weapons taken from under the ring. Two new match types, Three Stages of Hell and Casket Match are only available in the 2K Showcase Mode. Additional showcases are available as DLC.
There is a new type of submission system based on a circular gauge with two parts using only a single button, replacing the breaking point gauge from the previous game that required multiple buttons. Signature moves can be stored, and taunts and finishers are now combined into charged finishers. The game also brings back catapult and catch finishers. The fighting styles of wrestlers now resemble the style of the real wrestlers more, for instance through the usage and effect of power moves and high flyers. Certain wrestlers cannot climb to the top rope and perform moves from the second one.
The game is not entirely identical across the different platforms. The PS4 and Xbox One versions have additional and different features such as the MyCareer mode and a chain-wrestling mini-game. The latter is based on rock-paper-scissors type of match grapple based on three types of locks. It occurs only a few times per match and can optionally be disabled. Instead of MyCareer the PS3 and Xbox 360 version have the Who Got NXT mode as a story mode based on up-and-coming NXT Superstars. The second mode exclusive to those two platforms is Proving Ground, fighting against John Cena, similar to Defeat The Streak in the previous game. The game’s Creative Suite no longer provides female wrestlers or eccentric designs, and also removes the ability to design stories and arenas, and use custom MP3 entrance soundtracks. Two elements, Create-An-Arena and Create-A-Championship, are only available in the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions. There are 25 Create-A-Superstar slots. It is possible to import custom logos and detailed editing for Superstar Heads. The older consoles do not use the face and body scanning technology for the platforms and rely on an updated engine and updated visuals from the previous version.