Prepare to load up on rocket fuel and set sail for parts unknown as The Ultimate Warrior returns to the ring in WWE 2K14. Announced via a suitably snarling promo video, the tassle-clad superstar marks his first appearance in the former-SmackDown! series by tearing into the game’s 2K offices. With title in hand (and bent around the face of one unsuspecting employee) the interstellar spirit warrior confirms his arrival as the game’s pre-eminent pre-order incentive.
Available from October 29th in the U.S. and November 1st internationally, WWE 2K14 is the first ‘simulation’ ‘wrassler’ to be handled by 2K Games since the collapse of THQ last winter. Following the acquisition of late, great grappler ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage, The Ultimate Warrior marks the second long-term series holdout to re-debut with this year’s annual installment — albeit as pre-order exclusive.
Despite making a joint appearance in THQ’s 2009 brawler WWE All Stars, a myriad of contractual and personal issues had been keeping both Savage and The Warrior from returning to the inside of the ‘squared circle’. In 2005 WWE released The Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior on DVD, in which a number of respected industry figures painted the entertainer as an ungrateful and elitist locker-room hindrance. Just why the Warrior signed on to reprise his role and endorse WWE’s latest product in light of that well-earned character assassination is anyone’s guess, though 2K’s financial clout may have had something to do with it.
The wrestling industry’s convoluted approach to contractual agreements can make the use of likenesses difficult. Whilst the WWE owns any ‘gimmick’ or character trademarks established during a performer’s tenure with the company, pre-existent or real-life names can often prove trickier. Jim Hellwig, the exuberant ex-bodybuilder who portrayed The Ultimate Warrior even went so far as to legally change his name to ‘Warrior’ in order to try and retain some of his character’s lucrative copyrights.
Given the occasional recycling of gimmicks between different performers, fans continue to speculate as to the authenticity of the Warrior’s mid-90s incarnation. One set of particularly imaginative fans even speculate that Hellwig died and was suddenly replaced by a doppleganger, an event this new video references with talk of a grim reaper “starving to get his hands on [the] Warrior’s soul.”
So are you excited to race to the ring, shake up the ropes and scream your lungs out as The Ultimate Warrior? Let us know in the comments below.
WWE2K14 will appear on the Xbox 360 & PlayStation 3 formats on October 29th (USA) and November 1st (internationally).
You can follow Sam on Twitter @GamingGoo.