The NBA 2K franchise is set to make its debut on the next-gen consoles.
The Xbox Series X|S releases on November 10. The PlayStation 5 will be available on November 12. NBA 2K21’s brand-new next-gen experience will be a launch title for both systems.
Here is a look at 25 things you should know about the next-gen version of NBA 2K21.
1 – The Official Release Date
November 10 is the date for Xbox Series X|S and its November 12 for PlayStation 5. However, if you have your hands on a console early, the NBA 2K21 servers will be up earlier.
2 – Price
NBA 2K21 on next-gen will be $69.99.
3 – Download Size
According to a recent Reddit post 121.7 GB on Xbox Series X and 101 GB for Xbox Series S. We haven’t seen the totals on PlayStation 5 yet, but it’s likely to be close to the Xbox Series X total.
4 – Game Servers Go Live
According to 2K, the servers for the game will be live on November 8.
5 – How to Redeem Your Dual Access to the Standard Edition
If you have purchased the physical copy of the Mamba Forever Edition on current-gen, you should have a code for the Standard Edition on next-gen. If you bought it digitally, you would be activating your Xbox Series X|S or PlayStation 5 on the same account. The SE version on next-gen should be there for you to download.
6 – Visual Enhancements
The screens we’ve seen are obvious upgrades and they seem to be getting better since what appears to be a recent tweak in the lighting. The Zion Williamson image above is one of the best. Still, I’m told by those who have actually seen it in action say that it’s a game you have to see for yourself to truly appreciate.
7 – Heavy Kobe-Bryant Influence
2K has clearly taken this opportunity to pay homage to the late LA Lakers legend. The collector’s edition is named after Bryant, and there are a number of in-game tributes too.
8 – Faster Load Times
NBA 2K21 on next-gen will load a game in about two seconds…literally. You can see an example of it in the video below.
9 – 150 NPCs in the Arena
As you can see from the video above and the first trailer, the environment around the arena is more alive than it has been before. Here is another look at the first trailer.
There are now 150 cpu-controlled NPCs in the arena and environment.
10 – More Control Over Shot Arc and More
2K clearly didn’t want to leave the gameplay untouched for next-gen. There is a massive blog on the gameplay changes which include an increased level of control over your shot.
11 – New Dribbling
In the aforementioned blog, there is an equally expansive section about the new dribbling options which include Sauce and size-up controls. There are several options and new layers to this aspect of the game.
12 – New Movement Engine
The movement system on both sides of the ball have been revamped. This includes ball denials, reactions to screens and more on defense, but also the way players run around a pick and transition from running to dribbling.
13 – Foot Planting
It may seem like a small thing, but foot planting is getting a ton of attention in the next-gen version. Ryan McCaffrey of IGN pointed this out among a few other positives after a recent hands-on impression. McCaffrey wrote:
“Animations are much better, with foot planting and momentum being key areas of improvement. Players also now take procedural steps instead of just canned animations, which leads to less “skating.”
14 – Collisions
The impact engine is one of the most exciting aspects of the gameplay changes. The next-gen version is set to take weight and strength into more consideration. Also, the PS5 controller’s Haptic Feedback feature is designed to take this to another level with resistance feel for the user at the appropriate time.
15 – New MyPlayer Builder
The pie charts are gone and there are less restrictions on the kind of player you can make. Users still won’t be able to go completely crazy while upgrading their characters, but there won’t be as much of restrictive ceiling.
16 – New Badges
2K revamped the badges in the game to fit the next-gen gameplay changes. Here are the new and returning badges.
- Fearless Finisher – Boosts contact layups and decreases fatigue
- Heat Seeker – Boosts takeover progress on inside shots
- Highlight Film – Boosts teammate takeover progress on flashy dunks
- Hook Specialist – Boosts hook shot ability
- Revived Posterizer – Contact dunks!
- Rise Up – Boosts ability to do standing dunks in traffic
- Anti-Freeze – Harder to get cold and lose takeover meter progress
- Blinders – Less affected by peripheral defenders when shooting jumpers
- Circus Threes – Improved ability to hit pull-up and stepback 3’s
- Fade Ace – Boosts all post fadeaways
- Hot Shot – Increases takeover meter faster when knocking down jumpers
- Deep Threes – Dame and Curry range 3 balls
- Rhythm Shooter – Boosts shot %’s out of size-ups as well as 1-step pull-ups
- Set Shooter – Shooting ability gets better the longer you set and wait before pulling
- Sniper – Boosts the ability to hit shots when using Pro Stick aiming
- Stop & Pop Three – for the JJ Redicks who want to pull-up for threes in transition
- Bullet Passer – Gives you the ability to throw laser dots like LeBron
- Relay Passer – Boosts the shooter on pass to assist situations
- Special Delivery – Boosts takeover progress for the passer and receiver off a flashy pass assist
- Ankle Braces – Makes it tougher for ball handlers to break your ankles
- Clutch Defender – Boosts your defensive ratings in clutch moments
- Hot Stopper – Boosts takeover meter for good defensive plays like steals, blocks, and good contests
17 – New Takeover System
Just as there are new badges, the Takeover system has been revamped as well. Players will now have a primary and secondary Takeover. Also, they can still activate Team Takeover. What’s more, all three levels can be active at once.
Here are the Takeovers:
- Advanced Gathers – Unlocks more effective spin, euro, hop step, cradle gathers
- Finishing Moves – Able to absorb contact and finish at the rim
- Easy Blow-bys – Enhances ability for slashers to beat defenders off the dribble
- Pull-Up Precision – Boosts well timed/aimed shots off the dribble
- Ankle-breaking Shots – More ankle-breakers off of spin and stepback jumpers
- Negative Impact – Reduces defensive impact against pull-ups and other skill shots
- Limitless Range – Extends your shooting range out to the logos
- Spot-Up Precision – Boosts well timed/aimed stationary jump shots
- Team Ratings Boost – Playmakers boost their teammates’ offensive ratings
- Team Takeover Boost – Boost your teammates’ takeover meter progress
- Team Badge Boost – Boosts your teammates’ badges up a tier
- Extreme Clamps – More stone wall and lost dribble body-up resolutions for locks
- Perimeter Badge Drop – Knocks shooting badges down a tier when you get close
- Enhanced Jump Shot Contests – Boosts your ability to contest jumpers
- Stuff Blocks – Unlocks more swat, backboard pins, and grab blocks
- Paint Intimidation – Boosts your ability to affect shots around the rim
- Interior Badge Drop – Drops opposition’s scoring badges down a tier in the paint
- Boxout Wall – Improves ability to seal off opponents for easy boards
- See the Future – Shows where missed shots are going to end up
- Glass Clearing Dimes – After rebounds, kick out passes boost your teammate’s shooting
- Power Backdowns – Easier to push defenders around when posting up
- Post Playmaking – Boost your teammates’ offensive abilities when passing out of post
- Advanced Post Moves – Easier to beat defenders with post moves
- Post Shot Daggers – Increased scoring ability with hooks, fades, shimmy shots, etc.
18 – New A.I. Upgrades
The A.I. is one part of the game that is often overlooked, but it impacts MyCareer, MyTeam and offline players of the franchise modes. This year, there was a good amount of work done on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.
19 – Player Ratings
Lakers’ superstar LeBron James is the highest-rated active player at 98.
2K hasn’t unveiled all of the ratings, but an update is coming upon launch for next and current-gen.
20 – When Will Rookies and Free Agents Be Added?
The NBA Draft is supposed to be later this month with free agency running shortly afterward. The 2020-21 season will begin on December 22. The rookies and free agents will be added sometime before December 2, barring a delay.
21 – The City Replaces The Neighborhood
One of the biggest changes to the game affects its MyPlayer portion. The Neighborhood was a huge accomplishment back in 2017, but as 2K moves to another generation of consoles, it has expanded.
Now there is an entire City for gamers to explore interact and more. It’s huge, and I’ve heard it would take nearly 45 minutes for a character to walk from one end to the next.
22 – The WNBA Experience is Much Larger
2K introduced the WNBA in NBA 2K19. They built it out a bit for NBA 2K20, but have taken it to another gear with the next-gen version of NBA 2K21. There is a fully functional, online and offline franchise mode called MyWNBA, a WNBA-themed MyCareer journey as well as an online spot for players to take their female MyPlayers called the W.
23 – MyNBA Combines MyLeague and MyGM, and More
My favorite piece of the next-gen improvements comes in the form of the MyNBA franchise mode. This humongous mode combines MyLeague and MyGM and adds a set of new features. Tattoos on created players, options to include the Elam Ending, full G-League management, and more.
24 – MyTeam Carryover Connects with Current-Gen
Current-gen player’s VC wallet and MyTeam collection will transfer over to next-gen consoles. The mode appears to be mostly the same, however, there are at least a few new environments including a spot called the Pink Diamond Plaza in The City.
25 – New MyCareer Story and Functionality
There wasn’t a ton of information or a trailer for it, but there is an entirely new MyCareer story called the Long Shadow for the mode. Users can now go straight to the G-League from high school or spend 1-4 years in college ahead of landing in the NBA.
There will be several cameos from previous MyCareer characters in the story, and 2K has promised to have a longer cinematic experience as well.
Be on the lookout for a complete review later this week.