Motion Engine Upgrade
Back in NBA 2K18, a new motion engine was introduced and although it looked nice, it was prone to errors and bugs.
NBA 2K19 went some way to address this, but movement was too rigid and lacked fluidity.
This year, the team at 2K has bulked out the department responsible for motion tech – and as a result, the game 2K20 promises the most realistic movement so far in the series. Momentum modeling and motion styles have been incorporated, while sprinting has been redesigned.
"This year, you’ll notice a flashing yellow effect around the Stamina bar when your energy level drops below a certain threshold”, NBA 2K Executive Gameplay Producer Mike Wang wrote on the blog.
“Once hit, you’ll quickly ramp down to a run speed and get tired much faster. So it’s important this year to pick when you want to explode with your first step and not abuse the Sprint trigger all game long.”
Dribbling is an essential part of basketball, and the 2K community made many complaints about the dribbler’s lack of contextual and situational awareness in 2K19.
New signature dribbles have been implemented for a variety of players, allowing gamers to differentiate between players with distinct styles.
When building their player on MyCareer, gamers will be able to choose from 27 different dribbling styles, ranging from Kyrie Irving’s streetball handles to Harden’s unique ‘between the legs’ set-up moves.
Gamers will also be able to utilize the new ‘size-up’ mechanic, opening up a necessary skill gap and allowing them to chain moves together in competitive game modes such as Pro-Am, MyTeam and MyLeague Online.
Shooting and Defence
The addition of ‘gather resolutions’ is a bold move by 2K developers, considering the number of ‘collision detection issues’ that plagued the gameplay of 2K19.
However, 2K’s executive gameplay producer Mike Wang is confident that this addition will remove these infuriating situations.
In the blog he explains that “forcing a gather into heavy traffic or directly into a defender will lead to jam ups, but choosing the correct gathers in open spaces will let you knife right through traffic.”
Hundreds of mid-air collisions have also been captured in this year’s game, which will please the elite rim-protectors in the league. Developers have also placed emphasis on the shot block timing mechanism.
This will not only dictate the level of success when players attempt to block shots, but also separate the strong defenders from players who rely on pre-scripted sequences.
The most neglected aspect of real-life basketball in the 2K series is without a doubt, the off-ball movement of players.
“The combo of new moves and off-ball movement make playing away from the ball much more of a skill game”, NBA 2K Executive Gameplay Producer Mike Wang wrote.
From this, we can tell that 2K gameplay developers are attempting to separate the elite off-ball players from the rest of the pack, benefitting the players with a higher basketball IQ.
Further work has been done so that ‘CPU controlled teammates’ can now create realistic movements away from the ball. AI teammates also have the capability to dynamically roll to open spaces on the court, instead of standing idle and creating holes in defence as they have on previous editions of 2K.
Should all of these tweaks serve their purpose and run smoothly, we can expect 2K20 gameplay to set the standard for years to come.