NBA 2K21 is on the way, and will make the leap to next-gen consoles when they arrive.
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Next-gen capabilities means we can get a little greedy. So what do we want to see come NBA 2K21?
The NBA 2K series is the industry standard for franchise mode in sports video games with MyLEAGUE. But while MyLEAGUE is easily the best of the franchise modes, there's still plenty of room to improve and innovate.
PRODIGY: Trae Young is always a sound investment in MyLEAGUE as a young superstar
By potentially incorporating elements from other game modes like cutscenes and storylines from MyCAREER or more managerial options like MyGM, MyLEAGUE could take another step beyond the competition.
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But perhaps more important than innovating the next big thing is improving the current one. That means some baseline MyLEAGUE improvements like better trade AI, better AI salary management, more difficult staff negotiation and more could really strengthen things up.
NCAA Game Mode
For the first time in more than a decade, the image rights for college athletes discussion has made some progress.
The NCAA Board of Governors unanimously voted to reshape image rights policies and the ability for college athletes to profit from their image. With this, major sports titles may once again be able to include college athletics.
IMAGE RIGHTS- College athletics could return now that image rights are back in the hands of players
For NBA 2K21, an NCAA game mode could be an amazing new addition to shake things up.
If we don't get a full game mode, some content in modes like MyLEAGUE and MyCAREER would still be huge inclusions.
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NBA 2K games revolve around the collection of badges that unlock abilities.
Unfortunately each year players find the strongest badges, and quickly make builds that are strict upgrades over others.
THE FOUNDATION- Badges are the base for success in the NBA 2K series
In NBA 2K20, slashers were the most dominant build by a mile. That means we expect NBA 2K21 to tone slashers down to be more in line with other skillsets.
Along with powering down some of the badges that are too strong, we'd also love to see some new badges added, and weaker old badges redesigned.
There's a world of difference in the power between a badge like Quick Draw and Pass Fake Maestro. Bridging this gap will be a huge challenge we need 2K Games to handle well approaching next gen.
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2K Games made huge changes to the MyGM game mode for NBA 2K20. Unfortunately almost all of the changes were misses.
OUT WITH THE NEW, IN WITH THE NEWER- Ranked was an interesting concept for MyGM, but it just complicates an already confusing take on the mode
The first major change was adding Action Points, which limits players from making too many decisions a day in MyGM.
The second was a loyalty and happiness meter for players that must be managed via chit chats.
In theory these changes add some realism to the mode, but in practice they are nearly unplayable.
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Chit-chat involves horrible dialogue that force players into two loading screens each, just to keep players and coaches (even in successful seasons).
NONSENSE- When this is one of the least ridiculous dialogue lines in NBA 2K20's MyGM, you know there were some issues.
What was intended to be a feature for immersion is instead a constant nuisance.
A more serious take on MyTEAM
At its core the MyTEAM game mode is a great way to answer all the "what if's" that basketball fans have when it comes to teams and players. In practice 2K Games has released enough comically unrealistic cards to the mode that it saps a lot of the fun right out.
Because of sets like the Out of Position set, which specifically takes players and gives them opposite skillsets in new positions, there are tons of players that are nothing like their real selves.
OUT OF IDEAS- Russel Westbrook at C/PF is only one of the ridiculous inclusions in the Out of Position set
This includes a C/PG Spud Webb who dominates the paint, and a SG/SF Dennis Rodman that is untouchable beyond the arc among others.
If 2K Games wants players to take MyTEAM seriously in NBA 2K21, they'll have to do so themselves.
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With so many eyes on NBA 2K21 as the series debut on next gen, 2K Games need to put a lot of work into cleaning up the bugs from NBA 2K20.
There are still to this day some game-altering bugs affecting gameplay, that can't be the case with next gen expectations.
These bugs include duplicates in the 2019 draft class in MyLEAGUE, hacked character creations in NBA 2K20's Park (The Neighborhood), and various kinds of rep glitches.
CLONES- It's a tough choice between Ja Morant and his new twin brother, Matt Barry Carroll
Before we get to the big ticket items we want to see in NBA 2K21, 2K Games will have to clean up these basic problems.