Judging by the length of the blog post, I'm fairly certain a lot of fans won't have the time to read through the 5,000+ word article Mike Wang has written up for us on September 1. But that's why I'm here, to summarise the best bits so you don't miss a beat.
Boy, were there a lot of improvements on the offensive side of the ball this year. In 2K17, Wang explains how they wanted to make 'The skill of the gamer matter.' Here's just how they plan to do that:
- All shots (Except dunks) have a timing mechanism, including layups and even half court shots.
- This mechanism will not punish players who don't time layups on a wide-open fast break.
- Wang says the reason for adding this feature is to make the player more involved in making tough and-1 contact layups.
- Jump shots, when being shot using the Pro Stick, now have to be aimed by pulling the stick straight down or straight up for bank shots.
- The more accurate you are, the higher percentage chance the shot will be successful.
- Wang says this will NOT create an unfair disadvantage towards players that prefer to use the shot button.
- The shot meter has been redesigned, now needing to be filled up completely for a shot to be accurate.
- The wider the meter is underneath a player, the better the player's shooting range from that area.
- Red and Blue rings around the shot meter will tell the player when they are inside a player's hot or cold spots on the court.
- Green releases will now be 100% makes, no matter what.
- Layups have been broken up into evasive layups (Moving the stick to the left/right) and strong layups. (Moving the stick straight to the basket)
- All signature size-ups have been broken up into shorter combo animations, allowing players to string together different dribble moves.
- More isolation animations have been added to the game
Wang also explains how the team really focused on making defense rewarding for the player, and how playing good defense will require a lot more skill.
- The steal system has been redesigned, taking into account different situations such as whether the ball handler is in open space or is crowded, and whether the ball is being protected by the ball handler.
- Several new animations have been added, such as knock aways, forced pickups, and strips.
- The Pro Stick can now be used to swipe at the ball.
- Blocks have also been redesigned, with better ball collision detection and targeting system.
- There is now also a bigger gap between great shot blockers and weak shot blockers
Wang is extremely proud of the effort the 2K team has put towards making the game run smoother, and making the game's movements look more realistic than ever.
- Animations will now transition between each other more fluidly.
- A new limb collision system has been introduced, allowing body parts to bump into each other, creating great looking contact animations.
- Off-ball movement and animations have been redesigned, making them look extremely lifelike.
Mike Wang explains how 2K wanted to better incorporate the physicality seen commonly throughout the NBA season.
- Post play has been completely redone, with more lifelike animations such as backdowns, cutoffs and post shots.
- Hundred's of animations have been added regarding play under and around the rim, including collision rebounds, tipped balls, boxouts, putbacks etc.
- Logic for put backs and tip ins have been improved, making rebounding more exciting and rewarding.
- An off-ball collision system has been introduced, making getting open in the post or off an off-ball screen that much harder.
- Over 500 animations have been added to the off-ball post-up aspect of the game.
- 2K has spent a lot of time improving collisions between the ball handler and defender, with situations playing out more realistically and taking momentum into consideration.
- A 'Body-Up Sensitivity' slider has been added so players can customize how sticky or slippery the defender is when collisions occur.
- The fatigue system has been redesigned, with fatigue being split up into short-term and long-term.
- Actions such as blocks, hard fouls and dunking will drain the short-term meter quicker.
- When the short-term meter runs out, the long-term fatigue meter depletes quicker.
- Injuries are more likely to occur the more fatigued a player is.
- The injury system has also been upgraded, with over 115 unique injury types.
- A new 'Wear and Tear' system has been implemented, which realistically replicates a player's physical progression through a game or season. More wear and tear will accumulate on certain body parts the more they are involved during a game (Contact layups, hard fouls, etc.)
A.I and Strategy
No, I'm not talking about Allen Iverson, I'm talking about Artificial Intelligence, or the computer. Wang explains how much smarter the game plays out strategy-wise.
- With over 30 Freelance sets, each team will run their real life offenses and playbooks.
- Transition offense has been improved, with better spacing and running from the computer.
- The 3 ball has been improved, with A.I players such as Curry and Durant having a 'shoot-first' mentality when on the perimeter.
- Defensive coaching has been improved, with A.I playing smarter defense.
- Playcalling mechanics have been changed, with all plays being controlled from L1 or LB. When pressed, the Adaptive Coaching Engine will suggest two plays for the situation at hand, on top of the already existing quick plays such as isolation and quick post-up.
- During timeouts, enhanced coaching analysis and the ability to construct your own gameplans make timeouts more valuable and seamless.
- Matchups can now be changed in-game, and not just through the pause menu.
- There are a number of passing/catching improvements, including jump passes, (PS4 = SQUARE+CROSS, XB1 = X+A) new fumbled catches that account for passing in traffic, receiver’s Hands rating, colliding with defenders in heavy traffic and other factors, alley-oops can be performed to players who are much further away from the rim, who will catch it and put up a shot (great for sideline inbound buzzerbeaters.) Also, alley-oops can be passed out of jump shots, layups and even other alley-oops, during a Give & Go, the player can call for an alley-oop by pressing the Shot Button while holding the Pass Button, new Overhead Skip Pass mechanic lets the player quickly target farther away teammates when multiple are in a line, and customizable pass targeting sliders for Distance/Stick direction/Openness lets the player configure directional passing exactly how they want it to behave.
- Pump fake auto-fouls in the paint are gone.
- MyCAREER player creation now features a new playing style feature. Choose from seven specific playing styles: Slasher (all positions), Shot Creator (PG/SG/SF), Sharpshooter (all positions), Playmaker (PG/SG/SF), Lockdown Defender (all positions), Glass Cleaner (SF/PF/C), Post Scorer (SF/PF/C). Each archetype has its own unique badges (including an exclusive Hall of Fame badge), skill sets and specializations.
- A new user-controlled emote system allows the player to customize their on-court celebrations and trigger them after big plays.
- The new Jump Shot Creator allows the player to create an infinite variation of jump shot styles to ensure that their MyPLAYER’s jumper looks and feels exactly the way they want. The tool allows them to pick multiple release animations and a base and lets them control how those animations blend together.
- Tapping the Pro Stick toward the hoop while in a stand dribble will play new signature rhythm dribbles. Think of them as the slower in-place dribble sequences players use to get in a rhythm before attacking off the bounce. They’re perfect for integrating into the new 1-to-1 Signature Size-Up combo system, as well as lulling defenders to sleep before pulling up for a jumper or attacking with a hard first step.
- 2KU has been revamped to help players of all skill sets learn the new mechanics of the game.
All this information looks very promising from a gameplay standpoint for 2K17. Hopefully this will prove to be the most realistic basketball game yet. The full blog post with all the new gameplay features and information can be found here.