As the most popular basketball video game franchise, NBA 2K has a lot to live up to with each new release. And with NBA 2K23 on the horizon, fans are wondering what to expect from the latest installment.
While the game’s developers have not yet revealed much about the game, there are some things that we can expect based on past releases. For one, the graphics are sure to be even more realistic than ever before. The game’s developers are always striving to make the game look as close to real life as possible, and with each new release, they seem to get closer and closer.
This is what 2K has revealed from the upcoming features and improvements.
The defense was a point of emphasis in last year’s game, but NBA 2K23 is so jam-packed with new features and upgrades on the offensive end of the floor that it’s a perfect starting point. NBA 2K22 was a banner year for perimeter players: small guards had a slew of advantages over their taller counterparts, and outside shooting reigned supreme in online matches. Thinking about how we could bring more authenticity to our game, we looked at how virtual games were playing out compared to the real-life NBA, and it was clear that we needed to give more love to slashers who love to finish at the rim. This meant expanding the tools for attacking the basket.
UPGRADED PRO STICK
The most obvious upgrade is the addition of new gesture combos to the Pro Stick. Internally, we refer to the new mechanics as double throws (flicking the Pro Stick in a direction, letting it go back to center, and then quickly moving the Pro Stick back in the same direction) and switchbacks (flicking the Pro Stick in a direction, letting it center, and then quickly moving the Pro Stick in the opposite direction). These new gestures introduce a lot of new weapons for both shooting and ball handling.
FLEX ON THE RIM
For dunking, the metered skill dunks from NBA 2K22 (ability to force difficult dunks in traffic with a timed shot meter) return, but the new commands allow us to expand the dunking controls to let you dunk exactly how you want without accidentally firing off a skill dunk you weren’t expecting. When driving to the basket with the Sprint trigger held, the new Pro Stick control map for dunks is as follows:
- UP = Two-Hand
- RIGHT = Strong Hand
- LEFT = Weak Hand
- DOWN = Rim Hang
- UP-UP = Flashy Two-Hand
- DOWN-UP = Flashy One-Hand
- UP-DOWN = Normal Skill Dunk with meter
- DOWN-DOWN = Rim Hang Skill Dunk with meter
You’ll notice with this new map, you now have control over rim hangs. For New Gen, we’ve taken that control to an all-new level with physics-based simulated rim hangs! This is an incredibly entertaining and wonderfully complex piece of tech that’s been in development for a couple of years now. It allows you to control when and how you hang on the rim after a dunk.
The controls are simple. Use one of the new rim-hang dunk gestures mentioned above when driving toward the hoop, but keep the Sprint trigger held when the player gets their hands on the rim. You’ll hang indefinitely as long as you keep the trigger held, and you can use the Left Stick to adjust the momentum of your swinging body and the Right Stick to pull yourself up on the rim. This is all done through a physical simulation, as opposed to canned animations—it looks and feels amazing. It’s one of the most fun things to do in the City (available on New Gen only), but watch out for techs if you hang too long in NBA games.
FINESSE YOUR WAY TO THE RACK
For slashers who want to finish with a little more finesse, double throw gestures are used for hop-step layups while switchback gestures are used for euro-step and cradle layups, which feels very natural. A simple hold left or right will perform an all-new set of quick scoop layups. These are great, especially for small guards who want to quickly flip the ball up around defenders before they can react and block the shot.
For the bigger/stronger players, you’ll also experience a lot of new contact layup content that properly shows what should happen when players like Giannis Antetokounmpo plow through everyone in their path.
In addition, we’ve added several new layup packages for both New Gen and Current Gen, including Devin Booker, Joel Embiid, Allen Iverson, Magic Johnson, Nikola Jokic, Zach LaVine, Ja Morant, Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, and more!
For post players, double throws can be used for post drop steps and hop shots. Switchback gestures will give you shimmy shots and hooks. There are a bunch of new signature post shots and hooks to choose from this year as well.
COMBINE MESMERIZING SKILL MOVES
Dribbling in NBA 2K has taken on a life of its own and has become a sort of game within the game. Ball handlers are going to enjoy ‘combo-ing up’ in NBA 2K23, as the new gesture combos give you even more options for your arsenal. Switchback gestures will now perform dedicated signature double cross and hesi (hesitation) cross combo moves that you can assign as part of the Moving Crossover signature package—which has grown from 15 options to 28. Learning the speed of your stick throws and the timing of your signature animations is especially important now.
You can chain your player’s normal signature size-ups by rocking the Pro Stick back and forth rhythmically. Rapid double throws will give you the aforementioned new combos. And flicking the Pro Stick back and forth repeatedly will give you a whole different set of animations called Signature Combos that look incredible.
Another major dribbling change is the introduction of “attacking size-ups.” One of the things we wanted to improve with dribbling in NBA 2K was that, while the size-up moves looked cool, they weren’t very useful. The new attacking size-ups provide a lot more side-to-side movement and are much better at forcing the defense to drop and shift, allowing you to bait them one way and then attack the other—something all great ball handlers do so well in real life.
While it’s fun to clown your opponents with a flurry of flashy dribbles, we don’t want to encourage players to dribble the entire shot clock out while their teammates fall asleep. Energy will deplete much quicker when spamming too many moves together, so it’s important to be efficient and not “play with your food” too long. There’s a long list of size-ups to learn on paper, but they’re all very simple and feel natural in practice. Jump into 2KU Freestyle Practice to play around with different stick throw timings and you’ll get the hang of it after a few minutes.
Another new feature to prevent over-dribbling is the concept of Adrenaline Boosts. There are three available boosts per player, per possession, shown as three small bars under the stamina meter.
Boosts are consumed every time you perform a hard go or explosive sprint launch. Once your three boosts are gone, you’ll notice that your speed and acceleration decrease significantly for the remainder of the possession. As with dribble combos, it’s important to play smart basketball and be efficient with your movement rather than zig-zagging back and forth aimlessly trying to get around the defense.
MORE AUTHENTIC SHOOTING
Shooting also gets some nice upgrades for NBA 2K23. In NBA 2K22, success from the outside was heavily weighted toward coverage. If you could get an open look, you could balance out poor ratings and inaccurate timing. This year, we wanted a more authentic shooting model that captures the essence of a great NBA shooter’s capabilities.
The first major change is the addition of shooting attributes. Since the inception of signature jump shots in 2K basketball, animations have been more or less aesthetic but functionally the same. This year, each signature jump shot has unique shooting stats that help determine its effectiveness.
- Shot Speed – How quickly the shot gets to its ideal release point
- Release Height – How high the shot is released
- Defensive Immunity – How effective the shot is against defensive contests
- Timing Impact – Adjusts shot windows to reward good timing at the cost of an increased penalty for bad timing
We’re also adding a huge number of shot animations to choose from, over double the amount of any previous version of 2K, and they’re much more accurate to each player’s real-life jumper. For MyPLAYERs, shot animations will be gated by shooting ratings, so you’ll have to play around with all the options to figure out what works best for your skill set and playing style. We’re looking forward to seeing a lot more variety in the community’s sig shot selection with this next evolution of shots.
For more info on gameplay enhancements, visit 2K’s official website. NBA 2K23 is out September 8, 2022.