NBA 2K21: Cross-Gen Gameplay Is "Definitely A No"

2K Sports talks about cross-gen and cross-play gameplay for the upcoming basketball game.


NBA 2K21 is one of the many upcoming 2020 titles that will be released for both the current generation of consoles as well as the new systems from Sony and Microsoft. So, basketball fans might naturally be wondering about things like crossplay between different platforms and generations of consoles. The developers of NBA 2K21 have now offered some clarity on how this will work for their game.

In a recent roundtable interview, the studio confirmed that "cross-gen" gameplay--that is, people on PS5 playing against those on PS4 or Xbox Series X and Xbox One-- is "definitely a no."

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"Cross-gen is definitely a no, because the next-gen experience is a new game built from the ground up," the studio said. "You couldn't have Halo 4 play Halo 5 online. That just wouldn't make any sense. We're in that same boat here."

The developer also cleared up the situation for cross-play, and this also will not be supported. "As far as cross-platform play, we are not supporting that in NBA 2K21," the company said.

While there is no cross-play or cross-gen gameplay, everything from the MyTeam mode will carry forward to next-gen if you decide to upgrade within the same console family. This includes gameplay progress as well as virtual currency. Progress from the MyCareer mode, however, will not carry forward to next-gen due in part to how MyCareer is a "different beast" on PS5 and Xbox Series X, the developer teased. "There's a really good reason why that's not going to carry over," the company said.

Cross-gen cross-play is not unprecedented. Activision just recently announced that Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will support both cross-gen and cross-play gameplay. So someone on PS4 can play against someone on Xbox Series X, or any other variation.

NBA 2K21 launches on September 4 for PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC. The next-gen version is coming later, when the consoles arrive, and the game will cost $10 extra on those systems. 2K Sports has yet to provide the full rundown of details for the next-gen versions, but the company has already shown off incredible graphics and dramatically improved loading times.

Also during the interview, the NBA 2K developers spoke about the feedback surrounding the recently released NBA 2K21 demo. Specifically, this demo gave users a first chance to try out the game's new pro stick controls, which represent a huge change for the series. The studio said it expected some friction to the new controls, but company observed that some players who were initially hesitant about the changes have now warmed up to them.

"The feedback has actually been really positive. We're happy about that. I think anytime you choose new controls it's a little bit scary from a developer's standpoint to see how people accept it or don't accept it. And I think there is always an initial learning curve," the company said. "People are really enjoying dribbling, too; I think that's a big win to be able to create some different things on the sticks they weren't able to before [with chaining skill moves together with the new pro stick controls]."

2K also stressed that NBA 2K21's demo represents a dated version of the game due to how game development works. For the final version, players can expect lots of bug fixes, changes, and polish, the studio said.

For more details, check out our GameSpot's NBA 2K21 pre-order guide.

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