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NBA 2K21 Next-Gen MyPLAYER and AI Details

Throughout the month of October, the NBA 2K team has released weekly blog posts. These Courtside Reports have focused entirely on changes coming to NBA 2K21 on next-gen consoles. The first focused on changes to shooting and the pro-stick. Last week’s blog went deep on movement and impact, both on and off the ball. Today, NBA 2K Gameplay Director Mike Wang talks about changes coming to AI, badges, player builds and more.

Next-Gen AI

Today’s Courtside Report is a laundry list of laundry lists, with plenty to say. Wang says the team used the bump to next-gen as an opportunity for a full reset on how the AI in NBA 2K21 functions. Some changes coming to NBA 2K21 next-gen include noticeable stuff, like a new game plan option in the pause menu. Players will have access to eight pre-selected game plans that allow the AI to target a team’s strongest players. Other changes feel like enhanced bug fixes. For example, a fix that prevents AI players from lining up out-of-bounds. Other improvements to the AI will be harder to notice at a surface level, but stand out to veteran players, like improvements to transition defense.

NBA 2K21 Next-Gen MyPLAYER Builder

The biggest chunk of today’s blog post is about the evolution of the MyPLAYER builder. Specifically, Wang notes that the team has been taking feedback on customization options, especially the want for more. The first step to better customization: No More Pies. Skill breakdowns will no longer be preset pie charts. Now, players will be able to set each individual rating… to a cap, of course.

Takeovers have received a pretty big change as well. Rather than eight archetype-based takeovers, there are now 24 abilities, which are more specialized than before. Rather than the Spot Up Shooter takeover, which overall improves mid-range and three point shooting, you might take Limitless Range, which extends your shooting range out to the logos. Or Spot-Up Precision to boost well timed stationary jump shots. Takeovers in next-gen NBA 2K21 will feature a two-tier system, where players can set both primary and secondary takeovers. If you build up enough meter, you can activate both effects simultaneously.


Badges are being re-designed from current to next-gen. Some badges return, others will undergo significant changes. Here are a few examples of badges coming to next-gen NBA 2K21.

  • Fearless Finisher – Boosts contact layups and decreases fatigue
  • Sniper – Boosts the ability to hit shots when using Pro Stick aiming
  • Highlight Film – Boosts teammate takeover progress on flashy dunks
  • Stop and Pop Three – for the JJ Redicks who want to pull-up for threes in transition
  • Anti-Freeze – Harder to get cold and lose takeoever meters

A number of badges will be retired due to redundancy, or just lack of popularity. These include badges like consistent and contact finisher, range extender, and steady shooter.

The next generation of NBA 2K drops on the Xbox Series S/X on November 10, and on the PlayStation 5 in the U.S. on November 12. If you need some more juicy next-gen details, check out our next-gen trailer analysis here.

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