NBA 2K21 developer Visual Concepts has published a list of the upgrades and enhancements the game will see in the next-gen versions launching with the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and Series S.
The gameplay changes between the versions are pretty small, as the focus seems to be on on-the-court mechanisms that harnesses the new hardware’s power to do new things rather than just improve old ones.
Among the changes: players will be more cognizant of the three-point line, and step back behind it for the shot on their own. Many players have found toeing the three-point line to be inconsistent based on the continued motion of a player taking a pass or dribbling to a stop. This way, there’ll be fewer 21-foot twos — although gameplay director Mike Wang said some players will step forward for a closer jump shot if the situation looks bad for a long-range try.
Moving onto another enhancement – Shot arc control. Previously, the arc of a player’s shot has been driven by background factors, like range to the target, defensive pressure, and release time. Now players can deliberately opt for rainbow threes, with a long movement of the right thumbstick, or a fast flick.
To help with shooting, the game’s shot meter in next-gen versions “gets a new look and plays a bigger role in your makes and misses,” Wang wrote. It’s more readable and, importantly, “no longer scales in world space (meaning it won’t be really small if you’re in a far away camera view),” he added.
“The changes that we made here make it much easier for us to help players understand the difference between a good and poor shot,” Wang said, “and also allow us to re-tune shooting to accommodate the wide variation of skills levels of the 2K community.”
Wang’s developer blog deals strictly with gameplay; additional game content, modes, or mode features are not discussed. In a conference call with reporters in August, executive producer Erick Boenisch confirmed that next-gen versions of NBA 2K21 would allow for the creation of playable women avatars in the game’s MyCareer suite.
NBA 2K21 is available now for Google Stadia, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One.