NBA 2K21 will introduce a next-gen exclusive social space called The City that features online multiplayer, skateboarding, and elected mayors.
2K Games has announced The City, a new social space for NBA 2K21 that’s exclusive to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. This is an evolution of The Neighborhood from the last few games in the sports franchise, a place where players can pick up online games, buy cosmetic upgrades for their in-game character, and participate in minigames like dodgeball and trivia. Much of the activity in these types of areas is fueled by a heavy reliance on microtransactions, something that the NBA 2K series has been criticized for consistently for some time now. It’s also full of advertisements from the game’s sponsors, something that seeps into sports games more often than others.
NBA 2K21 released at the beginning of September on current platforms, eliciting many middling reviews thanks to a lack of originality and a few technical hiccups. Those who already purchased the game but didn’t fork out for the $100 Mamba Forever edition of the game will not be able to upgrade their game to the next-generation version without purchasing it again. 2K’s basketball simulator is one of the only games not taking advantage of technology like Smart Delivery or a similar service to move customers seamlessly between generations, and now current-gen owners will be locked out of what seems to be a pretty big part of the new game.
As described on the NBA 2K official website by Visual Concepts executive producer Erick Boenisch, The City is the “most ambitious execution of a virtual basketball community…ever.” The social space will contain the same multiplayer games and cosmetic vendors as the previous versions of the mode, but they take place in a much larger online area. Players can choose to represent one of four affiliations, each with a section of The City to call their own. Furthermore, each affiliation will have a chosen Mayor from the community that will get to choose the playlist of music each area plays, produce videos to play on The City’s huge video screens, and decide what arenas live in their borough.
2K also boasts that players in The City can engage in RPG-style quests by talking to NPCs. These will consist of either single-player pickup games or playing online, and there are unique rewards tied in with this system that are only available through quests. Several special courts, including two that honor the late Kobe Bryant, are spread throughout the online space, each with their own individual attributes and purpose.
It certainly seems that NBA 2K21 developers Visual Concepts put in a lot of time and effort to offer up a player experience that meets and exceeds next-gen expectations, especially in a year like 2020. There are enough features in The City to make up a totally separate basketball game, and it’s instead layered in behind 2K’s lauded basketball simulation and all of its modes. For those who want to dive into the online portion of the game, train up a custom character, or simply skate around four basketball-themed neighborhood, it’s sure to be a memorable experience.
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The next-gen version of NBA 2K21 will launch alongside the Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5.
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