NBA 2K22 First Details On Gameplay, New Social Spaces, Seasons, And More

2K Sports reveals the first details on its next pro basketball game coming this September.


2K Sports has divulged the first official details on this year's NBA 2K22, revealing what's new this year for MyCareer, gameplay updates, and a new social hub called the City. 2K also began to discuss new features like Seasons that the studio is hoping will keep people coming back.

The information revealed today is very high level in nature, and 2K said it will have "deep dives" coming in August and September to discuss new features in more detail.

Candace Parker in NBA 2K22
Candace Parker in NBA 2K22

Starting with gameplay, 2K Sports says it has revamped the block, steal, and shot contest systems to make them more skill-based and thus rewarding in an ideal scenario. The new gameplay setup will reward player IQ and stick skills. In short, making the right plays, at the right time, is a focus for 2K Sports this year as it attempts to more authentically represent the sport.

The gameplay should feel like less of a dice roll, and that players have more control of any given outcome, according to developers on a call GameSpot attended. If something goes wrong, or you fail to execute a play, that's on you and not a result of something with the game or its controls.

"It really has changed the way the game plays. For me, it's a lot more fun, it's a lot more engaging. It really rewards the veterans who put in the time and the work to get good at the game, and at the same time we're still accessible [to newcomers]," gameplay director Mike Wang said.

Another big area of focus for NBA 2K22 are in-game Seasons. Like many other games, it appears NBA 2K is leaning even further into ongoing, seasonable content to keep players coming back. For NBA 2K22, seasons aren't entirely new, as they were in MyTeam in last year's game. But for NBA 2K22, Seasons are game-wide, spanning multiple modes. The game you play on day one won't be the same as the one you play in Season 2, 3, and so on, the developers said, adding that the content in Seasons is free for everyone. There will not be any battle passes, either.

"Across fan-favorite experiences, Seasons will allow players to extend and enhance their hoop ambitions long after the game's launch with more content, more rewards, and more ways to play," the developers said.

Dirk Nowitzki in NBA 2K22
Dirk Nowitzki in NBA 2K22

For MyTeam, 2K is promising an "evolved" experience that gives players more control over how you want to build their team. There is a new Draft mode where players can select their entire lineup and choose from a pool of players that is constantly being updated. Additionally, MyTeam supports cross-gen progress, so everything you do on one platform moves with you, whether that's progression or any store items you might purchase. A future Season for NBA 2K22 will introduce a brand-new mode for MyTeam outside of the Draft, but 2K is holding back revealing it for now.

In terms of NBA 2K22's social spaces, there is a new City for the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S editions of the game. This social space now has NPCs to help it feel more alive. It should feel like it's "teeming with life," according to the developers. The City also has matchmaking options now, and you can select from 1v1 and 3v3 against other humans, or against computer players. The overall aim for the matchmaking system is to help players get into matches faster, the developers said.

On PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC, there is a new version of The Neighborhood that's set on the decks of a cruise ship. You can even get off the boat and visit different locations. Additionally, if there is an in-game event happening on a Friday, for example, on the Tuesday before you might see an island off in the distance that gets closer each day until you arrive. Some of the locations you'll visit include Egypt and Iceland, the developers said.

Eric Boenisch, a VP at developer Visual Concepts, stressed that no matter what platform you're playing on, you'll get the full NBA 2K22 experience.

"We didn't want to focus all of our energy on one generation of consoles and make that section of our fans feel like they got the lesser," he said. "We put all of our efforts into both. Both games. And made them both incredible, standalone pieces on their own."

Here's Luka Doncic in NBA 2K22
Here's Luka Doncic in NBA 2K22

The PC edition is considered to be in line with the PS4/Xbox One/Switch versions of NBA 2K22, according to Boenisch.

The MyCareer mode is getting attention in NBA 2K22 as well with a narrative experience that unfolds in the City. It's no longer a separate experience, but instead it's baked directly into the social space, the City, though this is only for PS5 and Xbox Series X|S. Very few details are known at this stage, but the developers said players will be able to extend their careers beyond the court through things like getting involved in the fashion and music business. The overall aim is to give players the freedom to live out a pro basketball player's fantasy even more than last year's game.

COVID had an impact on NBA 2K21, and specifically how the studio was unable to record all of the motion-capture it might have wanted due to the pandemic. But NBA 2K22 is shaping up to be a return to form when it comes to motion-capture, and overall this should benefit the experience across the board, according to Wang.

"With COVID last year, we had a lot of challenges. With this year we were able to get into more of a normal groove where we had all of our normal motion-capture was back in place and so we have a ton of content this year that was a struggle to get in last year," he said. "I think you're going to see just a much more full experience and the movement, everything, just feels a lot more tight and it looks a lot better, too."

NBA 2K22 launches in September for PS4, Xbox One, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PC, and Nintendo Switch. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dirk Nowitzski, Kevin Durant, Luka Doncic, and Candace Parker are featured on the various different covers for the pro basketball game.

Preorders for NBA 2K22 are now available.

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