The next-gen version of NBA 2K21 will feature a number of graphical and animation improvements you’d expect from the generation’s first major basketball game, but one significant new change is coming straight to your controller. In a lengthy blog post, 2K detailed how NBA 2K21 uses the PlayStation 5’s DualSense controller’s adaptive triggers and haptic feedback to simulate energy and fatigue levels in your team’s players.
“Something that always excites us as developers is the introduction of new hardware features that come along with new consoles,” NBA 2K gameplay director Mike Wang writes. “When we first heard about the PlayStation 5’s adaptive triggers and haptic feedback, we immediately began brainstorming ways to use them to enhance the gameplay experience. As soon as we got our hands on the dev kits, our lead engineer experimented with several different prototypes to figure out what made the most sense for a basketball game.”
According to 2K’s post, players will begin to feel more and more resistance on the sprint trigger as the character they’re controlling begins to run out of energy.
For players who like to run a strong postgame, the DualSense adaptive triggers will also factor in. Players with stronger postgame stats will feel very little resistance on the L2 trigger when backing down weaker opponents. Players with weaker postgame stats will have to pull harder on L2 if they want to do the same.
2K utilized the DualSense’s haptic feedback to assist with the always challenging issue of making it look realistic when players collide into one another.
“Boxouts, body-up rides, off-ball collisions/deny/rides… basically any situation where players make significant contact will vibrate the controller at various intensities depending on the strength of the players involved and the severity of the impact,” Wang writes. “It’s also a great reinforcement tool to understand when you’re making players work too hard on the court, which could hit their energy/stamina levels and potentially cause wear-and-tear on their bodies with our in-depth injury system.”
2K’s blog post also details improvements made to NBA 2K21’s movement, dribbling, and other collision mechanics, resulting in some convincing animations wherein a defensive player gets knocked to the ground. 2K also makes specific mention of rebuilding their foot-planting tech from the ground up, allowing players to take small procedural steps instead of sliding around the court like they’re on ice.
You can play the current-gen version of NBA 2K21 right now if you want to, though. IGN gave it a modest six out of 10 in our review, lamenting its list of mostly minor improvements and continued addiction to obnoxious microtransactions. The PS5 and Xbox Series X/S versions of NBA 2K21 will be available on their respective launch dates, November 12 and November 10. Just be prepared to pay $70 for the upgrade, which Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick reflects the “quality of the experience.”
Joseph Knoop is a writer/producer/sweatband-wearer for IGN. Dunk on him on Twitter.