You’d think that with my height, I’d be a basketball legend filled with advice and experience. Sadly, this is not true, and my hoop shooting skills run pretty much parallel to my FPS capability – terrible. My experience with basketball games are even worse.
I got to have a closer look at NBA 2K15, this years annual basketball game from 2K. The Senior Producer, Rob Jones, spoke to us about what we can expect. He has been working on NBA since way back in 2002. If he can stick around and work on the same sort of game for that amount of time, you can be darn certain that he was passionate as ever while talking to us.
Did you know that NBA 2K14 got 70 Game of the Year nominations last year? I didn’t, and it honestly muddles my mind. I have nothing against sports games, I just can’t picture them being game of the year material. It’s pretty darn impressive actually, and Rob Jones pointed out how they must be doing something right to receive that kind of praise. It will be incredibly hard to top what they have done, but they are taking everything that 14 had to offer and ramping it up.
I’d never seen NBA 2K in action before. I can say that I was rather impressed when the gameplay demonstration began. It just looks so darn real! If you don’t scrutinise the screen and the tiny details (or lack thereof), it genuinely does look like you are watching a live game of basketball. NBA 2K15 has a whopping 5000 more recorded animations over the previous iteration. I can believe it, as players movements just seem so lifelike, bar the odd “stiffness” that sport sims tend to have. These extra animations equate to more realism, more control, and more realistic gameplay.
One thing I really like is the new shooting system that has been implemented. Traditionally, any sort of sport game (or RPG for example) has some sort of base stat system working behind the scenes. Players used to have their own attributes which went on to determine the success rate of their shots on target. It’s quite an accurate system, but there is room for unexpected results which may annoy players. NBA 2K15 took that idea and polished it in a neat way that made me wonder how it was never used before.
The stat system is still there, but it works in a way that gives the player a chance to include their own timing and accuracy in the success rate of their shots. The way it works is simple. The game calculates your odds of making the shot. Based on those numbers, a white bar is created, with it’s size being determined by your calculated odds. A small icon moves along the bar, and the closer a player gets it to the middle, the greater their chance of success will be. The bigger the bar, the greater the chance of success. It just makes sense to me as it allows players to impart their skill of timing into the game, instead of them feeling like they were cheated because RNG said no.
One important part of this sort of game is the soundtrack. 2K got Pharell Williams to curate it. Now, like me you may be ridiculously tired of the song “Happy”, but you can’t deny that Pharell has some rather good talent when it comes to the music industry. Rob Jones said that their games have been traditionally filled with hip-hop, but the latest soundtrack is incredibly diverse.
Lastly, the cover star this year will be Kevin Durant. Jones said that Durant is the first star they’ve ever had that’s an avid gamer. This has proven to be useful because being a gamer as well as a professional player, Durant can help iron out any inconsistencies and help ensure a completely authentic basketball game.
I don’t think we have the biggest basketball community in South Africa (at least not that I know of). This game does look really good though, quite literally thanks to the visuals . The new shooting system mixes up the gameplay too, and like I’ve said, I think it’s really cool and something that should have been in the game in the first place. If you’re a fan of the series or the sport, you might want to keep an eye on this game.