NBA 2K14 released at the beginning of October for current-generation consoles but the next-gen version set to launch alongside PlayStation 4 and Xbox One is far from the same game. The game will feature improved graphics and gameplay only possible through new technology.
The most startling improvements to next-gen NBA 2K14 are the visuals. Developers at Visual Concepts traveled across the country during last year’s NBA season to scan every player’s face using state-of-the-art technology. Details such as player hairstyles, facial hair and tattoos are recreated in great detail. That means even the last guy off the bench will look more realistic than ever.
Enhanced visuals also include stadium details and lighting. The development team went to great lengths to recreate the exact light placement at each arena and the effects of those lights. Developers actually counted the amount of LEDs at each stadium and dynamic scoreboard lighting realistically reflects onto the hardwood court. It is clear that 2K Sports is leaving no stone unturned when it comes to visuals. Both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One version of the game will run at 1080p resolution and 60 frames per second natively.
Because the team at 2K wanted to create a truly next-gen title, developers built the new Ecomotion game engine. Whether the game engine is in fact brand new or a better version of the current gen engine is up for discussion. However, there are several details Visual Concepts was able to enhance that make the game feel alive.
The new technology allows developers to eliminate the annoying sliding effects that inevitability occurs while playing. Instead, ballers will plant their feet and remain planted. There are also a ton of new animations, especially when dribbling. The ball will rotate when bouncing up and down. Animations will change based on what is happening around each player. For instance, no two jumpers will appear the same. If the defense is playing tight, the shooter and defender will interact accordingly.
Players and coaches will also react to the action on the court. Coaches will change strategy on the fly based on what is happening over the course of the game. Meanwhile, the Emotion Plus feature will bring players’ unique personality to life as they react to in-game events.
The next-gen version of NBA 2K14 will not have the new LeBron: Path to Greatness mode and no classic team mode has been announced. However, there are plenty of new features being introduced to the franchise to make up for it. MyCAREER underwent an extreme overhaul for next-gen NBA 2K14. The mode is a true RPG that captures off-court events such as talking to an agent, hanging out with buddies and competing with an NBA rival. Thousands of cutscenes were captured using real actors for multiple scenarios in MyCAREER. The mode offers more than 40 hours of gameplay in the first year of a career alone.
New to the franchise is MyGM mode, which takes Association mode to the next level. Gamers will be able to take control of a team’s front office, as they can in most sports games. However, there are consequences to every decision in MyGM besides what players are on the team. GMs have attributes and special abilities just like players. Gamers will not only have to make personnel decisions but will also experience conversations in which they must assess the person they are talking to. Owners can fire a GM if they are not happy with the team or fan interaction.
MyTEAM, the digital trading card experience, carries over to next-gen NBA 2K14. The next-gen version will have an exclusive Domination mode. Gamers will be able to pit their assembled team against real NBA teams and teams made up of All-Stars. Players will also be able to participate in online and single-player tournaments with their fantasy teams. Emerald and ruby levels are added in addition to the existing bronze, silver, gold and sapphire levels in MyTEAM.
There are still more details regarding NBA 2K14 that have yet to be unveiled. At the end of a recent press event, the 2K Sports team teased that a MyPLAYER spends time at the park when not on the court. A video presentation being shown zoomed out from a single MyPLAYER to an image of hundreds of MyPLAYER avatars playing in a huge park. The event ended at that point, with no information on the game mode.
While the lack of information regarding the next-gen version of NBA 2K14 so close to the release date is alarming, the game appears to take full advantage of the new hardware. 2K Sports franchise has been dominating the court across two console generations. With NBA 2K14 on the way, it appears the team is primed for a three-peat.