All new video games start to generate huge amounts of excitement long before they are published. There’s a great deal of speculation online and in fan forums about what a game’s going to be like and what new features it will include.
This is especially true of sports games, even though the new versions of the leading ones are generally developments of existing ones issued to tie in with each new season.
The NBA 2K series is certainly no exception. And, although we won’t be able to get our hands on the game until September, already there is lively debate about what new features it will include, as well as what may be dropped.
The Finals Countdown
The anticipation really starts to ramp up at the end of the regular season. That’s when the teams going into the playoffs have made themselves known, and an equal level of speculation begins about who will be the eventual champions.
Looking at this year’s odds to win the NBA Championship, there are two teams who are way out in front. Following on from a season that saw them win the Eastern Conference with a 58-24 record, the Milwaukee Bucks lead the pack.
They are closely followed by runners-up the Boston Celtics, with the highest-ranked team from the West Conference being the Phoenix Suns.
This certainly all has a bearing on NBA 2K24, as the better a team does in the real world in the previous season, the higher they are set to be ranked in the game.
Who’s on the cover
The next burning question is which player is going to feature on the cover of each of the particular versions of the game. Just as a quick reminder about last year, these were as follows:
- Devin Booker on the Standard and Digital Deluxe editions
- Michael Jordan on the MJ and Championship editions
- Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi on the WNBA edition
- Rapper J Cole on the Dreamer edition
As far as we know, there will be exactly the same number of editions this season which will all need their distinctive players.
We can be pretty confident that, following the successful introduction of the Jordan Challenge last year this will be repeated. With interest in the mighty MJ still rising – just see how much fans are willing to pay for his old boots for confirmation – it could be even more successful this season.
But it’s less likely that he will also appear in the Championship edition two years running. So publisher 2K could well be looking for the standout player from the playoffs for their cover star.
If the Bucks perform as expected this could be Gianni Antetokounmpo. On the other hand, if the Celtics clinch victory Jayson Tatum could well be given the starring role.
When it comes to the WNBC edition there are also quite a few standout candidates including Breanna Stewart, A’ja Wilson, and Naphesa Collier.
As for the Dreamer, it’s anyone’s guess so we’ll just have to wait and see on that one.
This is an equally tricky area to speculate about. Not surprisingly, these are kept well under wraps before being drip-fed to the eager fans in the run-up to the September launch.
For the 2023 edition, they included a number of changes to the MyNBA section of the game including team relocations as well as visual styling to recreate the eras being depicted.
There were also some more obscure changes such as the removal of contracts in My Team and the introduction of a Triple Threat Online mode allowing a player to co-op against up to three players on a time at the same time.
But until we’re told a little more about what the plans are for the 2024 game we’ll just have to hope that any new features will have been worth waiting for.
Lessons learned from NBA 2K23?
With a little luck, some of the changes will address a few of the perceived shortcomings, especially among gamers, of 2K23.
The main one of these concerns is the many microtransactions the game demanded when creating a custom-built player with a total figure of $100 often being cited. Given that this was considerably more than the $59.99 the game was generally sold for it seems like a legitimate complaint.
Another common criticism was that the brand-new eras could only be played on PS5 and X Box Series X consoles, leaving PS4 and PC players out in the cold.
While it seems unlikely that anything will be done about this, there may well be a more equitable approach to microtransactions in the game.
But to discover whether this is the case, as well as to learn exactly what NBA 2K24 has in store, we’re just going to have to wait and see.
So roll on September to answer all these questions and more.