NBA 2K23 gameplay director Mike "Beluba" Wang and the developer team released a major Courtside Report blog Wednesday detailing plenty of enhancements coming next month with the release of the virtual basketball franchise's latest title.
The main pillar for us this year can be summed up with one word: Authenticity. The team worked hard to create as much parity as possible in the on-court gameplay between Current and New Gen.- 2K
NBA 2K23 Gameplay Enhancements: Offense
Double Throws and Switchbacks
- The "most obvious" upgrade is said to be the addition of two new gesture combos to the Pro Stick. Double Throws (flicking the Pro Stick in a direction, letting it go back to center and then quickly moving the Pro Stick back in the same direction) and Switchbacks (flicking the Pro Stick in a direction, letting it center and then quickly moving the Pro Stick in the opposite direction) are said to introduce a lot of new weapons for both shooting and ball handling.
- Switchback gestures will now perform dedicated Signature Double Cross and Hesitation Cross combo moves that players can assign as part of their Moving Crossover signature package —which has grown from 15 options to 28.
- Players can chain normal Signature Size-ups by rocking the Pro Stick back and forth rhythmically. Rapid Double Throws will give players the aforementioned new combos. Flicking the Pro Stick back and forth repeatedly triggers a whole different set of animations called Signature Combos.
- Dropsteps and Post Hop Shots are controlled by Double Throws. Shimmy Fades and Hooks are controlled by Switchbacks. A "bunch" of new Signature Post Shots and Hooks have been added.
- Attacking Size-Ups have been added, providing a lot more side-to-side movement and are much better at forcing the defense to drop and shift, allowing the ability to bait one way and then attack the other.
- Energy will deplete much quicker when spamming too many moves together.
- Another new feature to prevent over-dribbling is the concept of Adrenaline Boosts. There are three available boosts per player, per possession, shown as three small bars under the stamina meter. Boosts are consumed every time players perform a hard-go or explosive sprint launch. Once one's three boosts are gone, they'll notice that their speed and acceleration decrease significantly for the remainder of the possession.
- For slashers, Double Throw gestures are used for Hop-step Layups while Switchback gestures are used for Euro-step and Cradle Layups. For small guards, a simple hold left or right with the Pro Stick will perform an all-new set of quick scoop layups. For bigger/stronger players, new contact layup content is said to "properly show what should happen when players like Giannis Antetokounmpo plow through everyone in their path."
- Several new Layup Packages added for both current and next-gen, including Devin Booker, Joel Embiid, Allen Iverson, Magic Johnson, Nikola Jokic, Zach LaVine, Ja Morant, Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi and more.
- Dunking controls have been expanded on both current and next-gen (e.g. Pro Stick Up = Two-Hand / Pro Stick Right = Strong Hand).
- Per Beluba, Skill Dunks (Pro Stick Up-Down / Pro Stick Down-Down) will use the normal Shot Meter. The round 2K22 Dunk Meter is only used for alley-oops but is "bigger and easier" to read.
- Per Beluba, the Driving Dunk rating dictates how easy it is to block dunk attempts. Flashy dunks boost your takeover meter faster than basic ones. Back scratchers, windmills, tomahawks and other flashy dunks are much harder to block in general.
- Some changes were made to encourage good dunkers to use a greater repertoire of dunk packages. "Feel the reward of highlight-reel dunks with significant Takeover boosts in the right situations without fear of always getting the ball knocked out on the way up."
- On next-gen, players can trigger physics-based simulated rim hangs by keeping the Sprint trigger held when the player gets their hands on the rim. Players can hang as long as they keep the trigger held, and even use the Left Stick to adjust the momentum of their swinging body and the Right Stick to pull themselves up on the rim. Techs can be called for hanging too long in NBA games.
- The first major change to shooting in 2K23 is the addition of four Shooting Attributes to each Signature Jump Shot Animation that help determine its effectiveness: Shot Speed, Release Height, Defensive Immunity and Timing Impact.
- A "huge number" of new Signature Jump Shot Animations are said to have been added, "over double the amount of any previous version of 2K."
- There are five new Shot Meters to choose from, with 15 more that can be unlocked through Seasons over the coming year.
- Per Beluba, turning off the Shot Meter still provides a shot window boost.
- With Shot Feedback enabled, the Timing/Coverage Overlay and Green Release Animations will be delayed from coming up until the ball hits the basket to "bring back some of the drama."
- Per Beluba, there is still Shot Fatigue. Players' shot ratings will get hit the lower their energy/stamina meter gets.
- Per Beluba, Real Player % will not be a valid option for online games.
- The Lead-to-Basket Pass makes its return to new-gen so that it works the same way as current-gen, allowing players to simply press and hold Y/Triangle to get their receiver to cut to the basket and release the button to throw the pass.
- Another alternative is the new Spot-Up Pass mechanic. By pressing and holding B/Circle, the receiver players are pointing at with the Left Stick will perform a quick V or Flare Cut to get open on the perimeter.
- Per Beluba, pass speeds are tied to players' Pass Accuracy rating.
NBA 2K23 Gameplay Enhancements: Defense
- Shot defense is said to have received an overhaul for NBA 2K23. Up until last year, 2K used a simple shot defense calculation that looked at two specific points: the location of the defender when the shot started and the proximity to the ball at release. This year, the new system also evaluates the defensive player’s contesting hand throughout a window of the shooting motion.
- For the floor game, on-ball defensive movement and body ups received a major refresh with new content that "more accurately depicts today’s 1-on-1 player interactions."
- A new Defensive Shading indicator will appear on the ball handler when in guarding position, both on the perimeter and in the post. The three bars on the indicator represent three zones: Straight up, Shade left and Shade right. The zone the defender’s in is shown in red. If the ball handler attempts to attack a red lane, they’ll get cut off, lose their dribble or fumble the ball.
- Blocks are said to have been tuned to a "more realistic" level, leading to much more predictable outcomes, with the right players making appropriate stops when timing their block attempts well. There is also said to be a distinct improvement in ball security for good dunkers.
- The Shot-Blocking System also now contains "Fly-By" Blocks. When closing out late on perimeter shooters, the Fly-Bys will do a better job trying to get a hand up while preventing defenders from slamming into the shooter and sending them to the line.
- Ball strips are new and improved this year with tons of new content and better coverage.
- Failed Strip Contact Layups have been added to make sure defenders' steal inputs are respected instead of getting ignored.
- When the ball does get knocked loose by a block or steal, players will seemingly see greatly improved sideline awareness during scramble plays.
- Pickups and diving ball saves near the out-of-bounds lines are said to be much more reliable.
NBA 2K23 Gameplay Enhancements: MyPlayer
- Badges are moving to a tiered system. There are 16 badges per attribute category: eight in Tier 1, four in Tier 2 and four in Tier 3. Tier 1 badges are the least powerful, but also cost the least amount of Badge Points. Costs go up as players climb the tiers and acquire the more impactful Badges.
- "Core" Badges are being introduced, which are four unique Badge slots (one in each attribute category) that can be filled with Badges that don’t count toward players' Badge Points. Each Badge will have a challenge requirement that, once met, will allow the Badge to be placed into a Core Badge slot.
- The 5-v-5 environment used last year to test work-in-progress player builds is also now accompanied by a 3-v-3 environment.
- For current-gen, the Pie Chart build system has been replaced with the Player Builder that next-gen uses.
- Animation purchases will now be account-bound rather than specific to one save file.
- For MyPlayers, Jump Shot Animations will be gated by Shooting Rating requirements. Per Beluba, only one Shooting Rating requirement is needed to be able to equip an animation.
- Per Beluba, the custom Jump Shot Animations players create will generate Shooting Attributes and a Shooting Rating requirement based on the components used to build the shot.
- Per Beluba, MyPLAYER builds with a 70 3-Point Rating or under can be "serviceable," but "won't be raining like last year."
- MyPlayers can equip a Signature Passing Style to mimic some of the best floor generals of all time, including Steph Curry, Magic Johnson, Jason Williams, LeBron James and more.
- Team Takeover works as a cooperative team system with the entire team sharing a single meter. Each player on the team has an equal portion that they’re responsible for filling up by performing well on the court and being good teammates. Once each player has filled up their portion of the meter, Team Takeover automatically fires off for the entire team.
- Per Beluba, current-gen will also have Double Takeovers, as seen previously on next-gen.
For more on AI gameplay improvements for NBA 2K23, feel free to check out the full dev blog.
NBA 2K23 is set to release worldwide for PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and Windows PC (via Steam) on Sept. 9, 2022.
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