Hello to everyone out there in our incredible NBA 2K community! I’m Erick Boenisch, Executive Producer and VP, NBA Development here at Visual Concepts. Can you believe how close we are to the launch of NBA 2K23? I couldn’t be more excited for all of you to finally get your hands on the incredible work the team here at Visual Concepts has put into our MyCAREER and City experiences! We’ve already unleashed a tremendous amount of information on upgrades to NBA 2K23. If you’d like to learn more about what else we have in store for you this year, check out our other Courtside Reports!
The City, born in NBA 2K21 and only available in NBA 2K23 for New Gen consoles, set out to bring together a larger community and to surface competition amongst groups in ways we had yet to truly achieve. NBA 2K22 saw a number of improvements, specifically with the seamless integration of MyCAREER mode. NBA 2K23 takes the City in a very new direction based entirely on the feedback from you, our community!
One of the main pieces of feedback we heard from 2K22’s City was the long traversal times when you had to run or skateboard incredibly long distances to make progress in your career or to venture between each of the affiliation court areas. We chose to tackle this community feedback in two complementary ways that I know you will appreciate:
- NBA 2K23’s City is approximately 30 percent smaller in comparison to what you traversed in NBA 2K22. This allows for a tighter, more meaningful City with less unused buildings that served to increase distances between destinations.
- Fast Travel! Scattered around NBA 2K23’s City are Subway Stations that you can hop into any time you want to quickly jump around the City. Finding the nearest Fast Travel station is easy, no matter where you are. Simply press R1 on your PlayStation®5 controller and we will place a ping on the nearest one and guide you directly to it. Once you are there, you can select to instantly travel to any other Fast Travel location in the City. Traveling is instantaneous; there is literally no loading at all!
Feedback from our community is the single most important way we can work together to grow the game into what we all want it to be. It’s important to me that everyone knows that we both hear and actively seek feedback to improve the NBA 2K experience. And speaking of improving the NBA 2K experience, let’s dive into what makes NBA 2K23’s City the best iteration yet, by far!
I’m sure you’re already looking at the screenshots below, and I don’t blame you. In NBA 2K23, we retired the nooks in the corners of the City that represented an affiliation’s ‘home base’. The non-descript areas served us well in NBA 2K22 with unique urban designs that integrated seamlessly into the landscape of The City. This year, though, we have created thematic destinations that really touch upon the true essence of what those communities represent. Let’s speak no more and dive right in to where you’ll be spending your time playing this year:
South City Vipers
Taking inspiration from a sprawling jungle setting, the new Vipers affiliation area transports your senses to another world. It’s impossible to miss the centerpiece of the area, a giant temple flanked by two towering Viper statues, each with water streaming out of their mouths and crashing into the pools below. As you move around, you’ll hear the sounds of the jungle, the birds in the trees, and encounter numerous other locations, including bonfires, a village with huts (one of which is where you can equip your MyPLAYER with Vipers gear), a crashed plane that is now becoming one with the environment, and ponds that dot the terrain and surround the court areas.
North Side Knights
Prepare to be whisked away back to the Middle Ages as you trudge up the dirt path and cross the draw bridge into the new home for the North Side Knights in NBA 2K23. This year, the Knights will be playing in a castle setting complete with everything you would expect in such an environment. The baskets and stanchions are elaborately designed wooden structures, coats of arms surround the castle, and wall-mounted torches will guide your way at night in concert with the warm glow of the lights placed around the courts. One of my personal favorite times of day in the castle is around 6PM (in-game time) when the setting sun crests over the looming castle turrets and it casts a golden glow across the entirety of the playing area. The technology behind our visual improvements in the City this year are astounding, and this is one way you can really see that progress.
Taking the pathway from the City proper and entering the all-new Wildcats borough is such a contrast as the landscape quickly changes. Set inside a scenic canyon vista, you will instantly get vibes of being in a semi-desert landscape under the blazing hot sun. Defined by its sparse landscape, the Wildcats borough is anchored by a giant pillar right in the middle of the canyon. Surrounding the pillar are plateaus featuring a number of playable courts and any plant life that can survive in this climate, primarily low-lying bushes and succulents. The courts themselves feature rudimentary baskets to fit the environment; cylindrical posts dug into the ground with aging wooden backboards with chain nets mounted to them. Make your way to the highest plateau in the borough and turn around to be treated to one of my favorite views in the City. Creeping up over the steep canyon walls, you will see the tops of the tallest buildings the City has to offer, including the all-new Pink Diamond Plaza (which looks even better at night!). It really helps to understand the scope of the City and the work the team has done this year to make each and every location feel completely, 100 percent unique!
Beasts of the East
Set inside the caldera of a once dormant volcano, the Beasts will be cranking up the heat in NBA 2K23 in their home grounds. The entrance to the park has hints of being idyllic with its luscious grove of palms and beach-like sand. This environment quickly gives way to the now active portion of the landscape, where you will find molten lava dotted walls, cracks, and fissures. The red glow of the lava is unmistakable, particularly at night when it dominates the color palette of the locale. The baskets on each court have hints of molten in their cores, but are quickly cooling as they enter their igneous state. The incredible level of detail in this borough, in my opinion, really helps to immerse you into this rugged landscape as it perfectly defines the tone for those that hail from the East!
Located in the exact center of the City is our newly created mecca of competition, the Block. Here, you will find all of your favorite ways to play competitively encased in one community-driven initiative. The Block features:
- The Theater (all-new for NBA 2K23, details below)
- Pro-Am (an all-new building featuring unique 3v3 and 5v5 experiences)
- The REC (an all-new building exterior and interior)
- Club 2K
- Black Lives Matter court (new design and now a 3v3 experience)
- Kobe court (new design and now a 3v3 experience)
With all of this great content in one central hub, I fully expect this locale will be absolutely hopping 24/7 with people to play with and against. I’m particularly excited with the bringing in of the Kobe and BLM courts to this new area. They have long been under-utilized, and with their flipping to 3v3, I look forward to being able to find a game on either whenever I’m waiting for my 2K friends to jump on!
I really buried the lead on this one above, purposely. The Theater is about to become your new favorite place to play in the City! Replacing the Warehouse buildings that were scattered throughout the City in 2K22, this one central location will serve as a dynamic way to play instant matchmaking games. The Theater building is set up thematically to look like a movie theater from the outside. On the exterior of the building are four giant ‘movie posters’ that detail the four events that are taking place inside the Theater at the current moment. Upon entering the Theater itself, you will find yourself in the lobby where you simply enter whichever theater/auditorium you are ready to play in. It’s quick, it’s easy, and best of all, it’s a seamless way to play 2K basketball!
My favorite aspect of the Theater is its dynamism. Every Friday morning (Pacific Time), the four event playlist will completely swap out to four new events! This means you will be playing a steady stream of new and rotating events all year long, with every week being a different experience for you and your crew! In fact, here is your Week 1 schedule for the Theater that will run from launch day on September 9th until the following Friday, September 16th:
- Theater 1: Loser’s Out - A 2v2 experience where you can come alone or bring a friend with you. Only catch is, as the name implies, the opposing team gets possession after made baskets.
- Theater 2: Hustle - A 3v3 experience where you can come alone or bring your friends. Hustle features a 12-second shot clock to keep a non-stop lightning pace of play.
- Theater 3: Comp: Squads Only - A 3v3 experience where you bring your own crew. Sure to be a favorite for the true 2K vet, Comp modes bring competitive game tuning to the table where only the strongest will survive. Time to sweat!
- Theater 4: Rooks: No Squads - A 3v3 experience where squads aren’t allowed. A great place to level up your MyPLAYER; the only players allowed entrance are those rated 75 and under.
This kind of a format allows us to create some creative new game types that you haven’t experienced in NBA 2K before. As always, we will be requesting and expecting your feedback all year long on what events you like, dislike, and want to see return in future weeks. I don’t really want to detail everything we have up our sleeves for this year, but here are a few events you will see at some point this year:
- Double or Nothing: Earn Double XP when you win. Losing teams earn 0.
- In The Bank: Shut down your opponent and a point is added to the vault. First team to hit a shot from beyond the arc will collect the current balance. Bring your perimeter defenders here!
- Pulling Weight: Every player on the team must contribute towards their offense equally (more on this one when the time comes!)
- Living The Dream: Your MyPLAYER will play to their true potential. Attributes and badges are maxed for that build during this event.
These can be configured in different and unique ways. Example, they can be 2v2, 3v3, 5v5, Squads Only, No Squads, Level 40s only, Vipers only, etc. There are actually a LOT of game types and I’m keeping some of my personal favorites under wraps until their week arrives! The flexibility of The Theater is something we’ve never had before and really opens up an experience we can all work on together to bring the community together.
As you venture out into the City on launch day to explore the sights and sounds of our new urban environment, it will be impossible to miss the Arena. This is a full-scale NBA arena that you will navigate towards to play your NBA games in MyCAREER. As you can see from the above screenshot, there is a sprawling plaza out front that contains people hanging out, meeting up with their friends, conversing, and just waiting to enter the arena to watch YOU put on a show! As you head closer to the front doors, you will see the lines of people heading through security and entering the building. But you, you’re an NBA star in the making! Your Player’s Only entrance is over on the left!
Upon using your Player’s Only entrance, you will find yourself in an all-new area for NBA 2K23 that allows you to prepare for your upcoming NBA game, perform a Russell Westbrook-esque fashion walk in front of the waiting media, complete any quests if applicable, and more. After finished games, you will travel through the underbelly of the arena to meet with the press in the Press Conference Room and more. This dynamic environment seamlessly connects the fabric of The City with your MyCAREER as the arena grounds the entire experience right into the heart of the City. As your star builds in MyCAREER, take a look at the denizens that inhabit the City. Some will be wearing clothing from your arch-rival Shep Owens. Others might be wearing your jersey. One of your many quests in MyCAREER this year will be to win over the city and its inhabitants. With a little sweat, they’ll all be wearing your jersey in no time!
DREAMVILLE, FEATURING J. COLE
Located in the southeast, not far from the Beasts’ borough, you will find a new studio that has rolled into the City for NBA 2K23…Dreamville Studio. Founded by the Grammy-nominated artist and producer J. Cole, Dreamville Studio is a location your MyPLAYER can eventually gain access to. But only if you prove you have what it takes to meet Cole himself. During your journey, you will meet Dreamville artist Bas, who will help you get your footing so you can get recognized by J. Cole. Cole himself is a tremendous basketball player; befriend him and he can perhaps help you in your quest to win over the City.
The Event Center returns in NBA 2K23 with an all-new design and look that adds a whole new level of flair—fitting for such an important building. This year will feature returning favorite events and, of course, all-new events with some prizes you are absolutely going to want to compete for. As for the building exterior itself, this behemoth of a building condenses to a significantly smaller building when it is inactive. Come event time, the entire City is going to know it’s about to go down. The building goes through an elaborate transformation as it grows and expands to its full size, complete with a full fireworks show to ensure everyone in the City makes their way over. We have some fun content planned for the Event Center this year including events planned in partnership with the 2K League that I think the community will enjoy. We’ll see you there!
JORDAN CHALLENGE BUILDING
Towering over the Block, directly across the street on the north side, you will find the Jordan Challenge building. Featuring a cutting-edge design that glows a signature red come nightfall, the Jordan Challenge building provides you with an easy-access portal to participate in NBA 2K23’s Jordan Challenge game mode. This landmark experience is our love letter to the NBA 2K community; the amount of effort that went into this near-perfect recreation of a bygone era is one that I promise will grab your attention and not release it until you have completed all 15 challenges on offer. If you are able to complete enough of the challenges we present to you during the experience, you will unlock three exclusive items for your MyPLAYER to wear in the City. Unavailable anywhere else in the game, these three apparel items will signify your mastering of Jordan’s career defining moments.
The rewards are:
- UNC Michael Jordan jersey for your MyPLAYER
- Gold Jumpman necklace for your MyPLAYER
- No. 23-emblazoned calf sleeve that provides a +1 boost to your MyPLAYER’s Dunk rating
BECOMING A LEGEND
The race for Legend is back! In NBA 2K22, achieving Legend status required you to reach Level 40 in four different seasons—that’s it. For NBA 2K23, we are mixing up the formula, based solely on the feedback from you, our community. This year, there are four different objectives for you to complete. Achieving those objectives will require an incredible amount of time, patience, and pure skill. For those who show the perseverance required to reach this summit, I can say with confidence that you are going to enjoy the Legend prize this year. I’m not going to give any hints on what it is, but I will say it is part cosmetic and part performance enhancing. In addition to that, the Legend prizes on Current Gen on the G.O.A.T. Boat, and The City on New Gen are both unique, and great. Will anyone in the community manage to get both?!
Debuting in NBA 2K22, Seasons was a huge success for our community. The format was quite simple: Earn rewards for simply playing the game types you were already playing. And the best part, it was completely free! Thinking back to NBA 2K21 (and years prior), Seasons offers so much more value to you, the player. The static model it replaced prized somewhere between nothing and very little—quite the upgrade! With Seasons, we have a fresh set of rewards available to earn every 6 weeks. I’m very pleased to announce that Seasons will be returning to the City in NBA 2K23, and we’ve got a whole host of rewards planned for this coming year to improve upon the experience from last year. Seasons in NBA 2K23 will once again allow players to access new content and earn rewards simply or playing with no additional cost! We will have information on Season 1 coming to you soon, stay tuned!
I couldn’t be more excited with what the team here at Visual Concepts has created for you to experience with MyCAREER and the City in NBA 2K23 for New Gen. The vision of the City was born with NBA 2K21, and it has continued to both evolve and simultaneously come to fruition over the past few years. Where we stand today is thanks to the tireless efforts of the development team here and equally to the non-stop feedback our community provides to us. It is your passion and your fire that drives us to push and continue innovating in this space. I’ve always been a big believer in delivering games that fans are asking for, rather than trying to guess at what they want. Thank you for the assist!
This one is dedicated to every member out there in our NBA 2K community, we’ll see you out there in the City!
Now that you’ve read about The City in NBA 2K23, join our Discord server and let us know what you think!