The year 2014 (or 2K14, as 2K Sports would have it) has already started in the field of sports videogames. The new Madden and NFL games are out, and Pro Evolution Soccer and Fifa are soon to follow. During Gamescom we attended a presentation for the next installment of 2K’s NBA franchise, and we were curious to see what they had done with the last version before making the leap to next-gen.
At first sight, not a lot seems to have changed, as LeBron James is still the game’s central figure and cover athlete of the game. The developers were keen to notice that LeBron’s involvement this year went a lot further than it did in the past. The team mentioned that as an avid player of the game himself (with weekly games against Chris Bosh), LeBron dedicated a lot of time to helping out with the game. This even went as far as him hand-picking the soundtrack and calling up some of the artists himself to make sure their song could appear in the game.
LeBron’s involvement also translates into the new game mode called “LeBron’s path to greatness”, where you step into his shoes and play through a series of challenges over a 7 year period with the final goal of getting LeBron into the NBA Hall of Fame. Something tells me he won’t need our help to get there, but it’s a game mode that shines the spotlight on how a star player’s career develops and adds an extra dimension to game-deciding moments. LeBron also supplied voiceovers to this gamemode to further enhance the experience, confirming that this edition does indeed come with “150% more LeBron than before”.
Another major addition this year is the inclusion of European teams, rules and regulations. This doesn’t just mean different teams and players to choose from, but also having to shoot 3 pointers from different distances and changing the flow of the game somewhat. It’s an interesting new direction that offers fresh new challenges to experienced players and it will be interesting to see what happens if the game pairs European teams against NBA teams. Traditionally, as we’ve seen in the Olympics, NBA players can have trouble adjusting to FIBA rules and we wonder what we’ll see from that in the game.
We’re looking forward to taking NBA 2K14 for a spin in the near future. We should see a next-gen version later in the year as well, but 2K is keeping the lid on the new features in that version for now…