With the next-gen version of NBA 2K21, it appears 2K has again re-defined the meaning of depth in a franchise mode.
MyLeague, MyLeague Online and MyGM are no more. The large modes have been morphed into one humongous option with a whirlwind of customization called MyNBA.
I was given an advanced look at the feature’s blog written by NBA 2K Executive Producer Erick Boenisch. The blog is massive, but I have broken it down to several bullet points.
Take a look.
MyNBA Setup Options
- Fantasy Draft: Self Explanatory
- Customize League Rules: Lottery, Standings, All-Star, Shot Clock, Foul Out, Lane Violation, Eight-Second Violation, Backcourt Violation, Playoffs, Possession Arrow, Bonus, Goaltending, Back to the Basket, Sudden Death Overtime, Free Throws, Salary Cap, Trades, Draft, Contracts, and Elam Ending, however you want them from the jump. In case you’re unaware of what the Elam Ending is, here is a solid explanation and example. Most hoops fans watched the NBA All-Star Game in February and saw the stipulations that were added to honor Kobe Bryant. There was a winning score of 24 added to the leading teams total, and that was set as the amount needed to win the game. In the All-Star Game, it was 157, but it could be any score in your MyNBA games. I think this is an awesome concept to include in a franchise mode, and no other sports title is delivering this kind of innovation.
- Custom Roster: User-created rosters locally or downloaded from 2K Share.
- Customize League: Realignment and total teams included. MyNBA leagues, whether online or offline, can be between 12 and 36 teams.
- Customize Salary Cap: Raise, lower or eliminate
- Customize Simple and Advanced Settings: Customizing various league structure details that affect the way your MyNBA will run.
- Customizing the CBA: (Collective Bargaining Agreement). The following can be turned off individually or collectively: Dead Cap (released players counting against your salary cap if not picked up on waivers), Stepien Rule (limit on trading away 1st-round picks in consecutive years), 30/60/90 Day Rules (limits on trading away recently-signed players), Restricted Free Agents (ability for teams to match offers on RFAs), Trade Finances (requirements to match salaries on trades), and Waiver Rules (requirement for 48-hour waiver period).
- Role-Playing Elements: This is the MyGM portion of the new MyNBA. Now, you can choose whether or not each of the teams in the league will have access to: Conversations, GM Scoring, Skills Upgrades, Getting Tasks from the owner, general manager, etc., as well as Morale & Chemistry. All 12-36 teams can have access to these options.
- Ranked: The MyGM-related Ranked feature is back (leaderboards). It’s designed to gauge how well you’ve performed in MyNBA, but quite honestly, I’m struggling to find out how 2K will ever implement this is a franchise mode.
- Budget and Finances: Salary Cap, Hard Cap, and Luxury Tax options are turned on or off, plus Price Changes and User-Controlled Budgets, which for the last generation were features that we had kept exclusive to the MyGM experience and didn’t allow for MyLEAGUE or MyLEAGUE Online. You will be able to set a team’s prices for tickets and concessions, or a team’s budgets, whether or not you’re playing the game with any GM features on.
- Play With Friends: This is the new MyLeague Online. It has ALL of the same features as an offline MyLeague, and it can be trimmed down to as few as 12 teams in the event you don’t want any cpu-controlled teams. This should make it easier to have all-human leagues. Online leagues will have the ability to turn the RPG elements on or off as well.
- Automate Offseason Time Periods: This allows you to easily simulate aspects of the offseason. Retirements, League Business, Staff Signing, Drafting, Free Agency, and Player Progression can be turned on or off individually or as a group.
- Start From Today: As before, you can start the league from the beginning of the regular season or the previous offseason. 2K says the option to start from today won’t be available at launch, and that’s because the season won’t have started, but we now know it will begin on December 22, barring a setback.
- G League: 2K has finally allowed gamers the ability to have full control over G-League games. You can play every game on the schedule of every G-League team. In addition, you can sim or simcast each of them as well.
- Revamped Boom/Bust System: 2K explained what they’ve done to upgrade this system. “We introduced a simple Boom/Bust system to the game last year that added a little randomness to the potential of the prospects, but have given it a major facelift this year and completely revamped it. Younger players in the league will now have a more dynamic growth path using the Boom/Bust system. Players can have low and high-potential floors, low and high-potential ceilings, and a probability to boom, bust, or hit somewhere in between. In addition, until age 23, we will continue to determine the player’s potential based on multiple factors to make it so that every player will still be exciting during the developmental years. The same player could have wildly different growth paths in each save, so keeping up with scouting prospects after they’re in the league will be critical to building a dynasty. We’ve also revamped player generation to better leverage the Boom/Bust system to make for more “interesting” players to scout and further enhanced draft storylines, but as always, all of this can be edited if you want to sculpt your ideal prospects.”
- Additional Assistant Coach: The new assistant coach was added to more closer resemble an NBA coaching staff. This new assistant will impact your players’ performances.
- 2K Share Setup: This is a lot like sliders for a league, but because of what it allows you to arrange and share with the community (league rules, teams, rosters, etc.), it’s even more. If someone creates a different league, or even a college basketball experience, they will be able to easily share the entire thing with one click. Difficult to quantify how cool that can be for users.
- 2K Share Scenarios: Similar to Share Setup, but the best way to differentiate them is to say Scenarios are what users share after they have begun a MyNBA journey, and they’re essentially sharing the progress to allow other users to hop in at the saved point. Here is what the blog says about this feature, which is more a community-created challenge system: “we wanted to give the community members a way to upload save progress in their MyNBAs, where they’ve set up different scenarios and challenges for other community members to try and overcome. For instance, maybe you’ve setup a scenario where you’re in control of the Clippers and down 3 games to 0 in the Western Conference Finals against the rival Los Angeles Lakers. And you want to see if other members of the community will take on the challenge of coming back from a 3-0 deficit against LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Playoff Rondo, and the rest of the Lakers crew. Scenarios like this, and whatever else the most imaginative minds within the community can create, can now be easily shared for others to play.”
- Tattoos on CREATED PLAYERS!!: This is a feature many creators have been wanting for the past few years, and it has finally been added back thanks to the extra resources and tech provided by the next-gen consoles.
- New Hairstyles are in For CAPs: This time, the new hairstyles are available for all created players.
- Slide Navigation: A quicker and easier way to navigate through the modes windows. For anyone who has ever worked on a major project within MyLeague, you’ll appreciate something like this that seems small, but can be a major time and aggravation saver.
The list of features is so long, I was almost overwhelmed by the volume of things that are possible. Having the ability to simply flip some switches off and others on, makes it all consumable and potentially the best possible console franchise mode experience.
That said, nothing is ever perfect. There could be an issue with execution–especially with the online components–but beyond that, here are a few other smaller issues to point out.
I’ve ranked these issues from most impacting to least.
- Face Sculpting Hasn’t Been Updated: Some creators were hoping to get a bit more freedom with the face-sculpting options. I spoke with someone from the 2K development team and I was told: “we kept face sculpting the same for this year to focus on other elements that were a little more in need of love, BUT, the new hairstyles will work on guys in MyNBA.” This feature is missed even more because there is still no image uploader for player faces.
- No Year-to-Year Saves…We Think: Year-to-year saves is the one franchise feature that a series has that 2K still hasn’t introduced. MLB The Show delivered pure greatness when they unveiled this back in 2013. Perhaps 2K could set up 2K21 to marry with 2K22 in this way, but it’s nowhere to be found in the blog.
- It Appears Court Customization is Still Limited to the Same Floor Areas: PC modders have found ways to customize more of the floor, but current-gen 2K and previous versions still only allow customization in certain areas.
The Last Word
In Boenisch’s closing thoughts, he wrote the following:
“One of the main things we wanted to do with our first entry on these new consoles was to not take anything away from our franchise players. All too often, a new console generation means starting from scratch for franchise fans and having to start getting features back with each subsequent release of the game. We didn’t want to take that approach this year and with MyNBA, we have given our players everything that we had on the last console generation, plus a whole lot more. The second main thing we wanted to do with MyNBA is lay the groundwork for the next 6+ years. We feel that by combining the previous modes into the all-encompassing MyNBA, it’ll make it easier to add features down the road. Rather than trying to split time with three different modes that have varied requirements, everything we do will be for the MyNBA brand”
I haven’t played the game or this expansive mode as of yet, but that last paragraph proves there are people working in the gaming industry who understand the importance of turning out a solid product–especially in these tough times. Now, let’s just hope it all works.