Similar to its predecessors, WWE 2K18 is a professional wrestling game and the first time since WWF SmackDown! Just Bring It, eight wrestlers will be able to be in a match at once, previous games capped the number at 6 wrestlers only (The Nintendo Switch version will only support 6 wrestlers in the ring). The Royal Rumble match has been retooled, with new mechanics, finishers and elimination sequences. A carry system will be introduced (which is similar to the Ultimate Control Grapple system introduced in WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2007), allowing players to pick up or drag their opponent and place them in a specific spot.
Improvements have been made to the creation suite, including an enhanced highlight system. The Create-a-Match feature, last seen in WWE 2K14, has returned. MyCareer now allows backstage free roaming, with wrestlers creating alliances and enemies, and fighting styles are introduced in the “MyPlayer” career mode, letting players choose between eight different fighting styles, each with its own strengths and weaknesses.
The new Road To Glory mode enables players to use their MyPlayer characters to qualify and compete in events, similar to the one found in WWE SuperCard.
Universe mode has been improved with a new story system, alongside new cut-scenes, power-rankings and a goal system.
WWE 2K18 will feature a new commentary team of Michael Cole, Byron Saxton and Corey Graves. Crowd sound will be also improved and will feature authentic crowd chants. It will also feature a new graphics engine, which will enhance the camera system and improves lighting, textures and character models.
On June 29, 2017, it was announced that Kurt Angle would be the pre-order bonus character for WWE 2K18, making his first WWE video game appearance since WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2007. For the third installment in a row, the roster will be the largest included in the series at launch. As part of a product placement deal with KFC, WWE 2K18 will have Colonel Sanders as a playable character, accessible through the “create-a-wrestler” feature.