The NBA 2K franchise has been the de facto head of the basketball sim genre for as long as anyone can remember at this point, and with this year’s game now out as well, players have been diving into NBA 2K24’s offerings and getting acclimated with its headlining improvements and additions, from the new ProPlay technology to Mamba Moments’ tribute to Kobe Bryant to the long-awaited addition of cross-platform multiplayer. Ahead of the game’s launch earlier this month, we sent across several questions to its developers on all of that and more, learning quite a bit in the process. Below, you can read our interview with Erick Boenisch, VP of NBA 2K Development.
NOTE: This interview was conducted prior to the game’s launch.
"ProPLAY leverages cutting-edge technology to directly translate movements from real NBA games into NBA 2K24 gameplay. You’ll see and feel the difference ProPLAY makes throughout NBA 2K24."
ProPLAY has been positioned as one of NBA 2K24’s biggest features, especially where animations are concerned. How exactly does it work behind-the-scenes, and how big of an impact will it have on the moment-to-moment action on the court?
ProPLAY leverages cutting-edge technology to directly translate movements from real NBA games into NBA 2K24 gameplay. You’ll see and feel the difference ProPLAY makes throughout NBA 2K24. Shots, free throws, off-ball offense and defense, etc. – the impact of the technology permeates throughout the game delivering the most authentic NBA 2K gameplay ever.
In addition to ProPLAY, it’s been confirmed that NBA 2K24 will also be making improvements with interior defense and dribble combo controls to make the process more skill-based. Can you elaborate on what kind of an impact that will have on the gameplay?
Across the board, gameplay has been updated to be more accessible and skill-based for all players. We’ve made improvements to dribble controls that, when well-executed, will help players create separation and put defenders on their backfoot. The new dribble combo controls combined with ProPLAY, ensure that your favorite NBA handlers feel more explosive than ever before.
When it comes to defense, the key is understanding when to act on your defensive instincts and make good reads. Directional steals, contest logic, and blocking have all been revamped to be more skill based – if timed and positioned correctly, good defense can pay dividends.
Kobe fans in particular will be very excited about the Mamba Moments mode. Can you tell us a little bit more about how it works and how you’ve gone about designing it specifically around a single player’s career? How similar will the experience be, structurally speaking, to last year’s Jordan Challenge mode?
As we began developing this mode we knew we had to build a whole new experience that honored the lifetime Laker. MAMBA MOMENTS celebrates iconic moments across Kobe’s 20-year-Hall-of-Fame career. When recreating these key games from Kobe’s career, we focused on the details. From his unique mannerisms to scene setting commentary, and more, MAMBA MOMENTS is our love letter to one of basketball’s greatest competitors.
"MAMBA MOMENTS is our love letter to one of basketball’s greatest competitors."
What are the biggest improvements and changes players can expect from the MyCAREER mode in this year’s game? Specifically where the City is concerned, what can you tell us about the new play space and how significantly it will differ from what the series has done in the past?
We’re so excited that the community can finally experience the brand-new City. Set in a sun-soaked beachfront location, the brand-new City is a vibrant experience that will make players think they’re on vacation. Explore sunny water-front courts during the day and an electrifying atmosphere as night falls. New additions this year include a Streetball experience, Starting 5 mode for online 1v1 competition, new rival Affiliations with RISE and ELITE, the return of REP, and so much more.
What can you tell us about the revamped character creator? Should players expect significantly greater options when it comes to personalizing and customizing their custom character?
NBA 2K24 features new updates and changes to ensure this is our best builder yet. New to NBA 2K24, players now have the option to start with an NBA player template. These player templates are customizable and enable you to create a MyPLAYER based on your favorite NBA player or you can edit to build a MyPLAYER that represents your own unique style of play. Aesthetically, there are many new improvements user can take advantage to make their MyPLAYER look unique. Seasons will offer many additional options as well this year!
MyTEAM tends to be the mode where a great many players spend most of their time in NBA 2K games every year. With that in mind, what are the biggest changes we can expect from NBA 2K24’s offerings?
In NBA 2K24, MyTEAM will include game changing enhancements to the mode with all-new MTP upgrades and an overhaul of the XP system. MyTEAM will also feature crossplay for PS5 and XBX, and upgrades to Triple Threat Online, Clutch Time, and much more. One of our favorite new additions is the introduction of the brand new multiplayer mode, Salary Cap.
"We’re excited to eliminate barriers for friends to play together and provide the community with this long-requested crossplay feature."
Cross-play is a big addition being touted for this year’s game on current-gen consoles. What was the process like of implementing this long-requested feature, and how have you ensured that online play remains properly balanced with cross-play in mind?
Overall, we’re excited to eliminate barriers for friends to play together and provide the community with this long-requested crossplay feature. This also means shorter queues and matchmaking times across all multiplayer modes for players on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S. Implementing this in NBA 2K24 was a very complicated endeavor. We approached this with a mantra of delivering an experience ‘without disclaimers.’ Crossplay is supported game-wide in ALL multiplayer experiences without exception. To support ALL game modes was a multi-year effort, and I am incredibly proud of how we approached and accomplished that. We did this right, and by extension, we did right by our fans. That is most important to me.