Hi everyone! My name is Ben Bishop, and I’m a Senior Producer here at Visual Concepts. I spend most of my time working on all things MyCAREER, so I’m here to fill you in on the new and exciting changes we made for the mode in NBA 2K17.
You’ve probably heard about The Prelude by now, but if you haven’t, check out the trailer, or just try it out. It’ll be available on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network on September 9, and it’s completely free! The Prelude covers the college portion of MyCAREER, and has a ton of great content. If you want a head start on your career, or even just to get a taste of what the game is like this year, I promise it’ll be worth your time. But the intent of this blog is to cover everything ELSE you’ll find in MyCAREER, so let’s get started.
Before we get into any of the main feature details, we should start at the beginning – Player Creation. We completely revamped the way you create your player this year, because in NBA 2K17, it’s more important than ever.
First off is the concept of archetypes. You’re not just choosing a position anymore. Now you also choose what type of a player you want to be, and this, in turn, dictates your starting attributes, your ratings cap in each of our 10 attribute categories (up from 6 in 2K16), plus which badges you can upgrade.
From choosing an archetype, you move on to many of the typical creation decisions, like height, weight, and wingspan. The key to remember in 2K17 is that THESE THINGS MATTER. How you shape yourself from the very beginning has a huge impact on what type of a player you will become. Throughout the creation process, we do our best to illustrate exactly what your various physical changes will do to your player’s attributes. For example, you can see here when adjusting height, a taller point guard will lose a little bit in things like speed and shooting ability, but gain in things like dunking and rebounding.
It’s all up to you. Our main intention with this is to create a wider variety of player types than ever before, each offering a different style of gameplay and a completely unique experience in the mode. Playing in the NBA as a Sharpshooting PG is totally different than playing as a Paint Protecting C, and this holds true in NBA 2K17 in a big way. My favorite part about this is the amount of replayability it adds, not just for the way the story unfolds around you, but in how much extra it can offer you in related modes like MyPARK and 2K Pro-Am.
Speaking of the story, we might as well dig in. In NBA 2K16, we took a rather different approach. Spike Lee’s Livin’ Da Dream narrative was very linear, focused almost exclusively on the off-the-court trials and tribulations of a young, up-and-coming NBA star. This year, we wanted to bring the emphasis back on the court to the game of basketball, and with a much more dynamic and interactive story element.
In our early brainstorming meetings, one of the ideas that resonated most with us was the concept of a dynamic duo. Seeing what two young stars can do as they rise up together is very intriguing, whether it’s Steph and Klay, Durant and Westbrook, or even going back a bit to pairs like Kobe and Shaq, Stockton and Malone, or Jordan and Pippen.
And so Justice Young was born. He’s a second round pick on your team that comes in with a bit of a chip on his shoulder, having been passed over and second-guessed for most of his basketball career. But Justice is a hard-worker and a great athlete, and if you show the same devotion to practice and working on your game that he does, he soon becomes an important figure in the fast-moving NBA world that’s opening up in front of your eyes.
Denver Levins is another noteworthy addition to the team in your rookie year. He’s an undrafted player that spent time in Europe and the D-League, and since he doesn’t have the pedigree of someone like MyPLAYER, he’s mostly just happy to be there. More than anything, Denver brings fun to the team. His sense of humor is evident from the very beginning, and he helps give MyPLAYER an outlet and someone to relax with when the pressures are mounting.
I won’t spend too much time getting into the rest of the characters here. It’ll be more exciting for you to discover them on your own. But rest assured, we’ve got some of the expected ones – your agent, the assistant coach, the team’s trainer – and some potentially unexpected ones too – a beat reporter, your girlfriend, your barber. As MyPLAYER deals with yet another transition – new teammates, a new city, new coaches – for the third year in a row (high school, college, and now the NBA), all of these characters play important roles in helping him finding his way.
One other important goal for us this year was to continue to improve the quality of the actors. As you can see in the screenshots, Justice is played by Michael B. Jordan. Having an actor of his caliber was amazing, and he set the tone from the very beginning for the rest of the cast. In NBA 2K17, we made it a point to cast seasoned actors in every role, and I’m sure you’ll recognize some of the other names too, from Hannibal Buress as Ice the Barber, to Matt Walsh as your college coach, Hemsley Adson.
The other piece to that puzzle was finding someone who could act as the driving force behind the story, which led us to bring on Aaron Covington as writer/director. Aaron was a writer for the movie Creed, so teaming him up with Michael B. Jordan was a natural fit. And beyond that, he’s a hardcore NBA fan and a longtime NBA 2K gamer, and that made a huge difference in what we were able to capture this year.
Those details aside, probably the biggest difference from NBA 2K16 is the way this year’s story unfolds. The way you play the game and the decisions you make off-the-court will change the way you experience the narrative. If you’re a gym rat like Justice, the two of you will form a strong bond right away. If you’re more outspoken in press conferences and when talking with the media, it will have ramifications down the line. Even our new text messaging system (more on that below) plays an important role, as how and when you choose to do things, as well as the way you respond in personal conversations, will help to dictate what is going on around you over the course of the season.