For a sports game that releases a new version every year, the challenge is eternal: how to convince that the new album is even better than the previous one? The question arises this week with basketball, and the release of NBA 2K20, Friday, September 6th on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
"We take the feedback from the fans very seriously, the press, the players, the community, etc., we discuss it, our choices start from there, that's the reason for our success. This is not our game, but the game of the fans »assured Erick Boenisch, during a presentation of the game to the press, in Paris, Wednesday, September 4. He unveiled his arguments to respond to the challenge mentioned above.
Women and seniors, but no nations
Arguments, NBA 2K20 is not lacking, with several new features posted. Most of the time, there are new formations to play, including the women's league, the WNBA – five years after the women's arrival in the hockey game NHL 14, pioneering sports simulation in this area.
"We are very proud of it. We have integrated twelve teams and scanned one hundred and forty players, with the level of detail expected for NBA 2K ", gargles the producer. The developers have integrated, in all, between three thousand and five thousand animations to make the gesture of the most famous basketball players, like Breanna Stewart.
Another novelty of NBA 2K20, the teams "all-star by decade". For example, it's possible to meet Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Walt Frazier and Julius Erving, stars of the 1960s and 1970s, against today's stars LeBron James, James Harden and Stephen Curry. "We had a lot of fun in the office playing against each other to see which decade would win"Jubile, Mr. Boenisch. The years 1980 and 1990, those of Michael Jordan, leave with an advantage, admits it.
However, we will search in vain for national teams and the basketball World Cup, which is currently taking place in China. For the producer, there are too many rights issues. They would not only have to buy the tournament rights, but also those of the teams, as well as those of non-NBA players. However, Erick Boenisch does not rule out, one day, the opportunity to play, for example, the Jeep Elite, the championship of France basketball. "We think about it"he said evasively.
Another major issue for NBA 2K20, to make one's reputation for a microtransaction game lie. While the Drop boxes, the virtual jigsaw puzzles, make the lawmakers cringe for two years, the series is regularly presented as one of the most annoying examples of mechanics pushing players to spend their money in the game.
Promised juror, for NBA 2K20, the shot has been corrected. There will be no chance, only the recourse to a virtual currency, which makes it possible to progress more quickly the basketball player that one creates. "We've changed the settings of our game. You can use virtual currency, but it's an option, it's not required, ensures the producer. We made progress in the career mode faster. " It will test the game on length to verify his claims.
The game modes allow them to immerse themselves in the life of the NBA, including a narrative mode embodied by stars, such as Rosario Dawson, Idris Elba and LeBron James, and in a scenario that is both less invasive than before and more thoughtful. "We are tackling contemporary societal problems. This is not to say that the game is getting serious, but it's interesting to address these aspects. "warns Mr Boenisch.
Tele-realism and fire
Visually, it is difficult to quibble in front of this new version. Reflections on the floor, glistening perspiration on the shoulders of athletes, stars playing with their dentures, celebration dances, beard shapes, tattoos and moles … it seems that nothing has escaped at this recreation of the NBA show.
"Physics management is very complex, body limb collisions are extremely difficult and expensive to manage., decrypts the producer. But it's been a long time since this game, more than nineteen. At the beginning, the athletes had the heads of characters from Minecraft ! "
In motion, the animations are shouting with realism, the credibility of the bluffing game phases, and the half-game we played – before the demo console "freeze" – seemed accessible, immersive, alive and contested. On the other hand, to be able to pass counters appeared not very obvious to the neophyte who writes these lines.
The game oscillates from year to year between prime to attack, as in NBA 2K18, and in defense, as in NBA 2K19. "It's very hard to find the balance. This year, we are trying to be in between. It's very difficult because attacking and defending is almost two different sports! ", recognizes Erick Boenisch.
The spokesperson for Virtual Concepts emphasized the desire to make the different subtleties of basketball more accessible. A game mechanic inspired by NBA Jam, The ultra-flawless classic of the 1990s, also allows you to unlock dribbles and special moves when a player is confident. "We want to make the game more fluid, more dynamic, smarter", summarizes the producer. Without revolution, but does the most advanced sports simulation need it?