For the past couple of years, 2K Sports has been dominating the paint with its NBA 2K franchise, as 2K12 managed to sell well over five million copies, thanks to the help of a talented development team and, of course, a virtual Michael Jordan. But the pressure is on this year, as EA Sports is bringing back NBA Live in a big way. 2K, however, isn’t breaking a sweat. Live didn’t even make it to E3 this year, and the team had its own plans with NBA 2K13, which it showed to us behind closed doors.
First off, the team at Visual Concepts (the series’ long-time developer, since it started on the Dreamcast) are hard at work on new transitional animations on players. You might recall in games’ past how players moved from a pull-up shot to a victory animation looking like a robot. The team is remedying this by adding a number of new animations, so that they appear to be more realistic. You’ll see it in the little things, like how a player goes from a slow trot to a fast run on the court. It’s amazing stuff.
Furthermore, the team is also opening up play options on the court, both offensively and defensively. On the offense side, your routes will open up a little more, giving you opportunities to put the ball in the basket. Defensive-wise, you’ll have better chances to steal the ball and thunder down the court for a quick two. 2K didn’t elaborate on these options just yet, they simply stated that they’re coming.
As for the biggest addition to the game, the team is throwing in NBA All Star Weekend for those who pre-order it or buy it day one (it’s a separate download, and should be available separately on Xbox Live and PSN as well). Here, you can take any given NBA athlete, current or legend, and take them through their paces through the Rising Stars Challenge, the Three Point Shootout or the Slam Dunk Contest. And yes, that does include Spud Webb, thank you.
The Slam Dunk Contest was highlighted, not only because it included LeBron James (FINALLY) but also because it has an interesting mini-game instead of real physics. Once you initiate your dunk, you simply hit buttons that come running down a Guitar Hero-ish playfield, and the more you hit, the more successful the dunk.
NBA 2K13 is due for release on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC on October 2, and will release for the Wii U in time for launch as well. We’ll have more details for you in the months ahead as the game makes progress. Be sure to check back for a video interview too. (Sadly, NOT with Spud Webb…)