2K shared its NBA 2K22 cover athletes last week. This week, we get our first glimpse at in-game screenshots and a number of new features across several modes.
I was a part of a limited group of journalists on hand to learn about the newest features coming to NBA 2K22. We got a ton of information about the new game including some first look screenshots.
NBA 2K22 First Look Screenshots
Let’s first take a look at the three screenshots 2K shared with me. Let’s start with the NBA 2K22 Special 25th Anniversary of the WNBA edition cover athlete Candace Parker of the Chicago Sky.
Here is one of the three cover athletes for the 75th Anniversary of the NBA cover athlete Dirk Nowitzki.
Lastly, we have NBA 2K22 Standard Edition cover athlete Luka Doncic.
All three of the screenshots look strong, but I must say, the pose chosen for Parker is an odd one. I’m thinking they went for something that conveyed a certain emotion, but it’s a strange expression for a first look image.
Biggest New Features
2K told us we’d be seeing deep dives for every mode in August and September, just days before the game releases, but this is more of an overview of what to expect.
The first gameplay trailer will land in August, but if you’re hoping to see defense improve in the game, this might be a good year for you. The notes provided aligned with what we heard from Mike Wang during the feature presentation.
DEFENSE – A completely revamped shot contest and blocking system highlight an arsenal of new defensive tools at your disposal. Playing suffocating defense on the perimeter and in the paint has never felt more rewarding, giving elite defenders the ability to truly change the outcome of the game.
Whether you play traditional head-to-head games in Play Now Online, MyTeam, or at the PARK, Rec or Pro-Am, you should be intrigued by a focus on the defensive end of the floor. While defense wins championships, offense sells game units, so Wang mentioned new innovations that are coming on that end as well.
OFFENSE – Breaking down defenders off the dribble with new signature moves and combos, precision jump shooting, dunking in traffic, and pulling off alley-oops have all become more skill-based. Basketball IQ and stick skills play an even bigger role in separating top offensive players.
I made this statement in a recent stream on my NBA 2K YouTube channel: “2K might be the only major sports title that allows you to win without a decent IQ for the sport you’re playing.”
Maybe that is something that will change.
One thing Wang touched on in a post-preview Q&A session was the impact of stamina and injuries in the game. Stamina has been a problem in 2K for a few years. There isn’t enough of a tax or a decline in skill for abusing turbo or overdribbling.
Per Wang, the team has addressed stamina with a system that now taxes player stamina more based on high-effort dribble moves, contact dunks, etc.
It sounds similar conceptually to what has been in the game. However, the tax has been far too light and this ineffective.
If you play MyNBA, you have probably noticed you never see injuries happen in-game over the course of a season. That’s an immersion-breaker and it needs to be addressed. According to Wang, the team has prioritized having injuries occur more realistically. Though he did say, they are trying to balance that component because “no one wants to play a season where all of the stars are hurt.”
If the injuries are happening at an unrealistic rate, then yes, that wouldn’t hit the target for players who want realism. However, if the injury rate is feasible, MyNBA fans aren’t likely to have an issue with injuries happening as they have in the real NBA.
Fingers crossed for at least a slider component that allows us to find our sweet spot.
The Seasons approach returns to 2K this year, and it will impact MyTeam and MyCareer. Seasonal content drops throughout the release cycle. 2K teased “an all-new way to level up your MyPlayer,” but they won’t expound until August with that information.
In MyTeam, the biggest new feature is MyTeam: Draft. This is one of the features I’ve been wanting to see return to 2K for years. Here’s how it was described in the breakdown.
MyTEAM: DRAFT – Making its long-requested return in NBA 2K22, MyTEAM: Draft has you selecting a complete lineup from a constantly-updated pool of players. Compete with your new lineup in online multiplayer games to earn rewards for your MyTEAM Collection.
It should be exciting to see if 2K can maximize the appeal of the draft with this mode. I believe basketball has the most potential for this concept, so we’ll see how it turns out once the game is released.
Cross-Gen progress and collection continues in MyTeam. Everything is transferrable between PS4 and PS5 and Xbox One X/S to Xbox Series X/S. If you were holding out for a salary cap mode, perhaps that is something that will happen next year. It wasn’t mentioned, and I’m inclined to believe it would have been if it were in this year’s game.
We’ll find out for sure soon.
NEW CITY [PS5/XBS] & NEW NEIGHBORHOOD [PS4/XB1/NSW/PC]
If you’re looking for major differences between the two console generation versions, the career mode environment will again be the biggest divider.
PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC won’t be in the Neighborhood, per se, the MyCareer journey takes place on a cruise ship. Once also pretty cool is that the boat will dock at times for special events in Egypt and other countries.
Here is how this element was described in the press release:
ALL ABOARD THE 2K CRUISE [PS4/XB1/NSW/PC] – On the PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC platforms, NBA 2K gamers will show out and compete in an all new, dedicated basketball community – a Neighborhood built on the spacious decks of a sailing cruise ship. Explore and hoop in nautical luxury, and when the cruise docks in exotic locales throughout the Season, make your way to the Excursion counter to participate in shoreside Events – all taking place completely off the ship!
On PS5 and Xbox Series X, the City returns, minus Rookieville. Executive Producer Erick Boenisch said he didn’t believe Rookievile offered gamers the best experience in NBA 2K21, so it wouldn’t be returning in NBA 2K22.
Perhaps the biggest piece of information in the entire info dump relates to the changes made to MyCareer. It appears there will not be an elaborate, cinematic story component to the MyCareer journey this year.
Instead, players will be turned loose to level up their MyPlayer in their own way within The City. There is a new Quest system that is designed to open up new content while also providing an opportunity to level up your character. The new City will have NPC (non-playable characters) and more.
A LIVING, BREATHING CITY [PS5/XBS] – Step into an all-new City teeming with life, activity, and interactivity. NPCs (non-playable characters) populate the fresh City layout, while MyPLAYERs from all over the world compete in the highest level of playground basketball. An all-new Quest system for 2K22 engages MyPLAYERs with creative content while offering new ways to level up and earn rewards in this reenvisioning of the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S basketball communities.
Here is a look at what will be included in MyCareer, and how the story will be told without the major cutscenes.
HIDDEN TALENTS [PS5/XBS] – In NBA 2K22, dreams and ambitions in MyCAREER stretch beyond the hardwood floors; players can now pursue side ventures to build a profile in lucrative and trendy spaces. Brush up against the fashion world, where the art of promotion will drive your success as a mogul. Or get involved in the hip-hop business, where your music talent opens up an intriguing lane in the industry.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME [PS5/XBS] – Moving up in the professional world means expanding your home lifestyle. Central to your MyCAREER narrative and progress, your personal hub represents your place in the journey to the NBA. As your profile and ambitions level up, so, too, will your home base in the City.
MORE TO THE JOURNEY – MyCAREER in NBA 2K22 will feature fresh faces and engaging storylines, and this year, getting drafted into the NBA is only the start of your basketball narrative.
A major complaint with REC was the inability to find a game without four other friends. 2K announced new matchmaking options that are designed to provide a quicker path into a game.
MATCHMAKING OPTIONS IN THE CITY [PS5/XBS] – The City opens up new and quicker alternatives to get into online hoops. MyPLAYERs can enter select matchmaking buildings to be placed into immediate competition. Matchmaking sessions will be available for a number of game types and will contribute to all MyPLAYER progress.
There is more info on the way regarding PARK, REC, Pro-Am and everything else in the City.
There weren’t a ton of details shared on MyNBA, MyWNBA or The W, though all are confirmed for NBA 2K22.
However, we did learn that a heavy emphasis on scouting and team management was a focus. This is designed to help with player progression during a season. More info on this will be available in September.
There are still multiple gaps to fill and tons of questions sure to come out of this initial info release. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.
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