Despite the fact that the NBA Finals are still ongoing, 2K Sports is at E3 2011 showing off NBA 2K12. Unfortunately, the team doesn't want to show too much of the game right now, but we did have the chance to check out a brief demo of NBA 2K12's version of the current NBA Finals matchup between the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat. What's immediately apparent is the enhancement of the presentation elements and the way the game captures the drama of playoff basketball in the same way television does for the real thing. In fact, there was even a pregame roll of "footage" (using in-game models) showing dramatic clips of individual players of the two teams before the game transitioned into some super-slick starting lineups.
As for the game itself, it looks just as good as ever. The character models have apparently received a significant enough boost in detail that you can actually see their facial expressions from the default camera view. Additionally, 2K Sports is promising that animation will be improved to the extent that it affects actual gameplay--there will be less canned animation, making it possible to keep more control over your players while in the midst of a move to the basket. But perhaps most importantly, there are plans to improve the AI by giving it more situational awareness in certain scenarios. This should help AI opponents use weapons available to human-controlled players a little more effectively than the game has done previously.
And finally, the big question: How do you top Michael Jordan from last year? His Airness and the content focused around him was an enormous part of NBA 2K11 and its success, and while 2K Sports is undoubtedly going to try to match that with NBA 2K12, it's not quite ready to talk about it just yet.
We'll have more on NBA 2K 12 as we approach its release later this year.