E3 2002: NBA 2K3 preshow report

Visual Concept's hoops franchise returns for another season.


Sega Sports' Visual Concepts-developed NBA series has been evolving since it first debuted on the Dreamcast a few years back. While initially slightly behind VC's NFL franchise in terms of overall polish, the NBA series has been making significant strides to catch up. This year's version will see improvements in its gameplay, thanks to a refined post-up system that will offer new techniques for offense and defense, an improved defense that will let players use new pass-stealing techniques, improved shot blocking and rebounding, diving and sliding ball saves, and defensive icon switching. An improved AI system will take advantage of the current rosters and up-to-date team attributes to mimic the different coaching styles and playing behaviors. Graphically, the game will feature redesigned player models that will feature the uniforms for the 2002-2003 NBA season. The players will feature more animation to improve the game's fluid movement, and arenas will be remodeled to feature more sideline elements and player bench animations, as well as improved arena lighting and backboard reflections. The street courts will also benefit from the same treatment--they will undergo some redesigning and will give you the ability to play in different weather conditions, as well as the ability to play at night.

The biggest addition to the series likely to make it in nearly every version of it should be online play. Given VC's experience with online gaming with the Dreamcast NBA games and the online push among hardware makers, it looks likely that gamers will be enjoying the thrill of schooling their opponents online again on most of the platforms. NBA 2K3 is slated to ship this fall on the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube. Look for more on the game from the E3 show floor this week.

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