2K Games details next-gen improvements for ‘NBA 2K21’

2K Games has detailed the improvements being made to the upcoming next-gen version basketball simulator, NBA 2K21.

The next-gen version of NBA 2K21 will boast technical and gameplay improvements, taking advantage of improved hardware on the PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X and S. They include changes to dribble movement, defense and off-ball manoeuvres, foot planting, and a new feature that heavily relies on the PS5’s new DualSense controllers.

The dribbling mechanism for the game has been “rebuilt from the ground up for next-gen”, according to NBA 2K gameplay director Mike Wang, who says “the difference is night and day” in comparison to the current-gen version. “We retained the concept of signature dribble styles […], but otherwise, everything was scrapped and re-architected,” he added.

The result is a boost in realism, responsiveness and consistency, allowing players to better predict movement and more accurately reflect their intentions when moving with the ball in hand. “It’s a complete package and I don’t think I can overstate how much it’s elevated my enjoyment of playing the game,” Wang said.

NBA 2K21
NBA 2K21. Credit: 2K Games

Both non-dribbling movements, on-ball defense and off-ball actions, have also received improvements. The development team has improved pathing, cuts and stops, improving the defender’s grounded feel.

Motional stability and response has also been tweaked, with a reduction to character twitchiness. In addition, left stick taps will now let players take quick steps when they wish to make subtle adjustments to their defense.

The game’s foot planting mechanics have also tweaks. 2K Games has re-engineered the foot planting tech, which will now allow players to “make procedural steps instead of sliding their feet when they need to make micro-adjustments”.

NBA 2K21
NBA 2K21. Credit: 2K Games

Wang also revealed that the PS5 version of the game will include a unique feature called Trigger Effect. It utilises the PS5 DualSense controller’s adaptive triggers and haptic feedback to enhance the gameplay experience. The controller’s adaptive triggers will convey player energy and fatigue. Players will feel an increase in resistance on the triggers when they try to make an exhausted player sprint around the court.

“It’s so dope to feel the difference in your hands between a grazing bump and hard hit,” Wang added. “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 Games and Wang also detailed a bunch of other changes coming to the next-gen version of NBA 2K21, including its Impact Engine, Body Ups and Off-Ball Contact. Check out the full post over at the NBA 2K21 website.

The next-gen version of NBA 2K21 will be a launch title for the PS5, and Xbox Series X and S. A current-gen version is out now for PCPS4Xbox OneNintendo Switch and Google Stadia.

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