Last week we got our first look at NBA 2K21 current-gen gameplay thanks to the “Everything Is Game” trailer. Thursday (Aug.13), we now know some of the changes players can expect in the game.
As we inch towards the launch of the next installment in the number one basketball video game franchise, information about the game is starting to spill out. In a 2K Courtside Report, written by NBA 2K Gameplay Director Mike Wang, he revealed the new improvements and influences for the significant changes coming to NBA 2K21.
When players take the court for the first time in NBA 2K21, they can expect a plethora of improvements to the game. In the report, Wang revealed that he spoke with a big fan of the franchise and the game’s current-gen cover athlete Damian Lillard a couple of months back to get some feedback and ideas on how to make the game better. Lillard expressed that he wanted the ability to create oversized point guards in the MyCAREER mode. So thanks to Dame, you can now create a PG that is 6’8 like Penny Hardaway, for example.
Also, Wang revealed that developers did their best to make NBA 2K21 a “fun-ifying” and enjoyable for everyone whether you’re picking up the game for the first time or are a seasoned NBA 2K veteran. So how will they accomplish that, you ask? Well, Wang states that NBA 2K21 will be introducing a “robust” set of sliders that will allow 2K players to carefully map out the settings in all of the various modes in the NBA 2K21, basically addressing the Skill Gap vs. Accessibility debate.
Another big change players will notice is with the Pro Stick. Wang announced that the feature which has been a staple in the game for years is getting some much-needed improvements. NBA 2K aficionados can look forward to using a fully-featured dribble stick. Here is how the new dribble stick works:
- Hold RS down = jump shot.
- Hold RS left or right = escape dribble moves.
- Hold RS up = signature size-ups
- Tap the RS = quick 1-to-1 dribble moves
- Tap the RS with Sprint held = quick momentum dribble moves
With these changes, Wang states that developers were “able to greatly expand the dribble move arsenal and give you access to more moves in a more intuitive control scheme.” He also promises that players will get used to the new Pro Stick in no time. Alongside the remap, the moves themselves have been “overhauled,” making them more responsive and easier to chain with other dribbling basketball moves. That pesky problem of accidentally triggering a “street move” has been solved by moving that action to that to the right trigger. Several new signature “NBA size-ups” has been added to the game as well, and they include:
- James Harden’s around the leg dribble.
- A new version of the late Kobe Bryant’s dance.
- Kevin Durant’s signature hesitation cross.
Wang also announced that Nate Robinson stopped by the studio to do some motion capture for some really “unique” moves that he says we will have to find in the game. Players will also be able to perform size-up dribbles while on the move just by holding the Pro Stick up in combination with the left stick moving your player in any direction. When NBA 2K21 launches, gamers can look forward to 14 Park and 36 unique NBA Size-ups.
The way you shoot and finish at the rim in the game is also being “updated.” Wanting to make scoring from the perimeter or at the basket more of a skill, Wang revealed that the developer decided to use a shooting mechanic that first saw the light of day conceptually in NBA 2K17, and that is Shot Stick Aiming.
“Shot Stick Aiming. Aiming didn’t really work that well in NBA 2K17 because it was a bit buried, didn’t have much skill built into it, and didn’t give the user any feedback. We took those learnings and used them to create a better solution this time around,” Wang states in the report.
Basically, how it works is instead of the usual shot meter we have grown accustomed to when players use the Pro Stick to shoot a targeting meter replaces the timing bar. Instead of trying to stop the meter to get a perfect release, players will now “adjust the Pro Stick in real time to hit the ideal center aim point.” The shooting ability of the player who takes the shot will determine the target window size. There will also be new shooting animations added to the game like James Harden’s unique 1-foot running fadeaway.
If your team has an imposing big man anchoring the defense, expect his defensive presence in the paint to heightened. Block targeting has been improved, making it easier for you to send weak sh*t into the stands, and coverage for contact in the paint has been “loaded up” to slow down overpowered moves like the hop step.
SIgnature motion styles from your favorite NBA superstars will now be featured on the defensive end as well. When you create your player, you can base him off of either: Russell Westbrook, Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Pat Beverley, Andre Iguodala, and Draymond Green.
The ability to swap badges in and out as you upgrade, a fan favorite is also returning to NBA 2K21. Quick Draw has been removed, and release speed has been put back into the Jump Shot Creator.
Last but certainly not least, you will be able to experience some of these new changes when NBA 2K21’s demo arrives on August 24 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. So mark your calendars.
Photo: 2K / NBA 2K21