NBA 2K21 Next-Gen: Player collision, movements, & interaction at the heart of improvements

The latest Courtside Report is here and it comes into more detail about next-gen gameplay for NBA 2K21.

Let's take a look at what 2K has in store for players.

Next-gen movement

Written by Gameplay Director Mike Wang, this Courtside Report goes into great detail about movement on next-gen.

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2K has put a lot of resource into improving the player movement both with and without the ball for next-gen.

Dribble movement

Rebuilt from the ground up, dribbling on next-gen is going to be remarkably better.

The concept of signature dribbles is retained, but otherwise everything else was rebuilt to bring a completely different feel with the ball in hand.


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Protect and post movements have seen a massive upgrade. Dribble movement has much better predictability and consistency to it, making it easier to get precisely where you want to go on the floor.

It will work cohesively with the Pro Stick dribble move system thanks to both processes being built on the same engine. Player speeds are also better and there's more of a sense of weight to movement.

Defense & off-ball

It's not just with the ball that things have improved.

Unique motion assets for situations like transition stops, leak out, guard break and others give players more life on the floor.

Defenders sliding issues have been fixed for next-gen thanks to improved pathing, cuts, and stops.

NBA 2K21 Next gen Trailer Zion Williamson
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2K has smoothed out some of the twitchiness, allowing players to more accurately follow user input.

Updated player-size detection logic and better player differentiation will help make different sized players really feel different. Bigs will feel more like bigs, and completely different to guards.

Left stick taps will allow you to play quick steps which will help you make micro-adjustments to your positioning.

Foot planting

The next-gen version of NBA 2K21 is set to make a huge leap forward when it comes to sliding. This is thanks to the massive technology boost of the consoles.

nba 2k21 next gen gameplay foot planting 1
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Foot planting tech has been entirely re-written to make a striking visual improvement.

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Players can take procedural steps instead of sliding their feet to make mirco-adjustments. This just leads to even greater immersion as players make hard cuts, stops, and starts with a real-life feel.

Body Ups

This is the interaction between ball handler and defender.

2K has tried to strike a balance between offense and defense with these interactions, and reward user control.

Taking proper driving angles and respecting contact will be key on next-gen.

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Attempting to drive head first directly into a defender will stop them in their tracks, lead to charges, or force pickups.

When ball handlers get to the hip of the defender but the defender matches well, it will lead to more realistic rides that neither player will feel stuck in.

The same goes to the other extreme, react too late and expect to get punished.

Off-ball contact

The same principles have been translated to off-ball contact too. Off-ball contact systems have been totally reworked and noew feature everything from let throughs to hard collision.

There will be no more "vacuum screens" thanks to the more realistic contact. You can reject screens appropriately, go over or under, and fail too!

Impact Engine

What is this all about? Well, 2K has developed a new in-air contact shot system that they call the Impact Engine.

This is to create balance for contact in the paint without warping players while still stressing the importance of user control.

Thanks to the power of next-gen 2K has been able to remove the snatching used in the past and resolve mid-air collisions better.

NBA 2K21 next gen gameplay trailer Stephen Curry
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This means less reliance on triggering animations and more emphasis on player control when defending in the paint.

The logic that goes into block targeting has been improved and 2K is using inverse kinematics more heavily now.

Contact alley-oops and putback dunk-ons are now available for the first time in 2K.

PS5 DualSense

Sony's DualSense controller is a game-changer for a lot of titles. NBA 2K21 is one of them.

Adaptive triggers will be used to convey fatigue in players. As you move around the court you'll feel more and more resistance on the sprint trigger as your player gets tired.

Strong post players will feel very little resistance on L2 when backing down weaker opponents. You'll have to use more force to pull L2 when the situation is reversed though.

Haptic feedback will come into play will come into play with the collisions outlined above. Boxouts, off-ball collisions, and any situation where physicality comes into play will trigger it.

Vibrations will intesify with the strength of players involved and the severity of the impact made in the game.

Both of these features will add to the immesion of NBA 2K21 on PS5!

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For more articles like this, take a look at our NBA 2K and Next-Gen page.