WWE 2K23: game release date on PS5 and PS4, Icon and Deluxe Edition pre order - John Cena showcase explained

The new game celebrates 20-years of John Cena with a virtual career retrospective

Like other yearly sporting titles, the WWE 2K series builds on the foundations of previous years’ releases, adding new features and tinkering with gameplay to (hopefully) provide an experience refinded from what has come before.

It doesn’t always work (the series took a year off to go back to the drawing board after the poo reception to WWE 2K20), but you can usually always be sure of a few new features being added to the game at the very least.

But what new features can we expect with this year’s game, and more importantly - when can you play it? Here is everything you need to know about it.

What’s new?

The biggest new match type to come with this year’s game is the debut of the WarGames match. For anyone not familiar with the concept, WarGames features two wrestling rings side by side, with a giant steel cage engulfing the two.

Within this cage, two teams of five wrestlers fight in an anything goes battle, with the first combatant to be pinned losing the contest for their squad. Recent WarGames in the WWE canon have thrown up death-defying stunts and chaotic brawls, so hopefully the virtual reproduction of the spectacle can do the same.

John Cena stars in WWE 2K23 (Image: 2K Sports)

Multiple seasons and enlarged match cards are just two of the changes being made to the MyGM mode, which allows players to build a roster of talent, manage budgets, recruit free agents, choose match formats, arena locations, production components, and more in an effort to defeat rival general managers in weekly ratings wars.

MyFaction - essentially WWE 2K’s answer to FIFA’s incredibly lucrative Ultimate Team mode - now has support for online multiplayer, while Universe mode features a revised story structure, and MyRise - in which you can take your custom wrestler through the ranks - gets a fresh campaign.

Who is the cover star?

The 2K WWE games’ Showcase Modes have genuinely been some of the series’ highlights in recent years, merging expertly packaged archive footage of hisotric big matchs and behind-the-scenes insights with challenge-based gameplay to present something of a ‘virtual documentary’.

Each Showcase Mode usually focuses on the storied career of one particular big-name wrestler, and WWE 2K23 is no different, with its attention turned firmly on John Cena in celebration of his 20th year in the industry.

But where previous modes have had you reliving some of the wrestler in question’s biggest moment, this year’s Showcase flips the script slightly and has you attempting to rewrite history as some of Cena’s most notable foes. Can you take down “The Doctor of Thuganomics” with opponents who failed the task in real life?

To reflect this Cena-centric focus, the 45-year old is also this year’s cover star for the first time in nine years - he previously featured on the box art for WWE 2K15.

The WarGames match type is this year’s big new addition (Image: 2K Sports)

When can I play it?

WWE 2K23 will be released on Friday 17 March 2023. It will be available to play on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Xbox One.

There will unfortunately be no Smart Delivery implementation on Xbox, nor any free upgrades on PlayStation, meaning the current and last gen versions of the game are entirely separate,

That’s something you’ll want to bear in mind as you make your purchase of the game; the Standard Editionwill be available for £49.99 on PC, and for £59.99 on last-gen platforms (PS4, Xbox One consoles)and for £69.99 on current-gen consoles (PS5 and Xbox Series X|S) in both physical and digital formats.

There is a Cross-Gen edition of the game available digitally for £69.99 on PlayStation and Xbox consoles, which includes the Standard Edition across previous and current-gen platforms within the same console family and the same PlayStation or Xbox account.

Are there any special editions?

The Deluxe Edition will be available for £89.99 for PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox One in both physical and digital formats, and on PC in digital format.

The Deluxe Edition includes the Standard Edition, Bad Bunny Bonus Pack, plus a Season Pass to all five post-launch DLC content packs. It will also be available three days early - on Tuesday 14 March.

Then there’s the Icon Edition, which will be available for £104.99, featuring original cover art by renowned WWE-inspired artist Rob Schamberger. In addition to the Standard Edition and all bonus content included in the Deluxe Edition, the Icon Edition includes the Ruthless Aggression Pack.