Now in its 20th season, the NBA 2K series has steadily built up feature after feature over the years, bringing us to NBA 2K19: a basketball smorgasbord overstuffed with so many modes – MyGM, MyTEAM, Neighborhood, MyPLAYER – that it’s hard to know where to get started.
Whether you’re building up a player from scratch, competing on the Playground via Xbox Live, or just replaying last year’s NBA Finals with a friend on the couch, it all comes down to this: how does the game feel? For those that play the NBA 2K series every year, you know that the gameplay mechanics can change a bit year to year. So what’s new?
We went straight to Mike Wang, Gameplay Director for NBA 2K19, to find out which skills you’ll need to master to leave the competition behind in 2K19
- Defense Wins Championships
“I think the first thing people are going to feel is that defense is back. There’s more of a skill gap this year. In previous years, it’s been a bit more RNG, more chance-based, and this year we really wanted to get rid of that. This year it’s all about who’s the best on the sticks, who can play the best defense, who can time their shots the best, all these little factors across the board, in all the different features, that make it so that the best guy is who’s going to truly dominate the game. For us, that’s what it’s all about – the competition.”
- Shooters: Git Gud
“Shot timing is harder this year – so you have to get into the lab and nail your shot timing. If you’re off by even just a microsecond, it’s going to hit you really hard. For all the players who have been playing for years and kind’ve gotten used to easy shot timing, that’s out the window. So this year’s a brand new game, especially if you’re playing competitive modes like Pro-Am and Park, you’re really going to have to work on your shot timing.”
- He’s on Fire!
“There’s a brand-new feature called Takeover we’re all really happy about, and the idea behind it is any player in the league can really take over the game in their own way. A rebounder can dominate on the glass. A lock-down defender can really lock down opponents and just shut down the offense. What we wanted to do is bring that to the forefront. In the past, being ‘hot’ was really about scoring, this year it’s about playing your role, and being a superstar in the aspect of the game that you are. When you unlock Takeover and get him hot, you’re unlocking new animations, you’re unlocking new skills and abilities, and it’s really making the different players shine as they are in real life”
“Dennis Rodman back in the day would control the game by controlling the glass. You had guys like Ben Wallace on the championship Pistons who would stifle everybody and that’s how they were dominating the game. That’s something we wanted to have this year is that it’s not just about who can outscore the other guy and hit more threes, it’s about who can use the team in the best way, and the metagame of creating a team that can complement each other’s skills, and bring the true competition of basketball out.”
I think the first thing people are going to feel is that defense is back
- School’s in Session
“If you’re new to the game, my first recommendation is always to go to 2KU (2K University). There’s a tips glossary in there that tells you how to do all the moves in the game, you can jump into freestyle practice and try them out and it’s a great way to just get into the game. One thing I love about our game is that it’s a game anyone can pick up and play. Just run around with the left stick, shoot and pass with two buttons and be successful, at least on the lower difficulties, just doing simple basketball things.”