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NBA 2K21 next-gen gameplay features: Shooting, Anklebreakers get major upgrades

NBA 2K21 was always set to have a big week with the release of a next-gen gameplay reveal, but the gameplay features dump over on the official 2K Sports website has 2K fans clamouring for more.

NBA 2K21 gameplay director, Mike Wang, has detailed in depth some of the gameplay features set to come to the game as it launches on Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. As was the case with the current-gen version, much of the focus seems firmly on the game’s refined shooting mechanics.

nba 2k21 next gen gameplay

Next Gen Pro Stick Shooting

2K Sports looks set to bring the Pro Stock to NBA 2K21 on next-gen consoles in a whole new way, really upping the ante by taking shooting and dribbling “to even greater heights”.

The Pro Stock in NBA 2K21 on current-gen consoles essentially controlled the aiming of your shot before and after it leaves the player’s hands. On Xbox Series X and PlayStation 4, the Pro Stick will also control the aim and movement of the player’s arc, adding an entirely new dimension to the way the game is played.

“Slow flicks will give you extra high arcs, while fast flicks will make your shot flat,” Wang explained.

nba 2k21 next gen gameplay

If you land an ideal shot arc, as with a “green shot” you’ll get a small bonus, so finding that tempo and arc in the perfect sport will go a long way to improving your shot.

There’s also added control over your bank shot: a fast flick will allow you to control bank shots.

“If you want to emulate Dwyane Wade or Tim Duncan, it’s now much easier for you to do that. This works for layups too. It may seem like a tiny detail but I love being able to control whether I drop a layup directly into the hoop vs. put it off the window.”

nba 2k21 next gen gameplay

Next Gen Shot Meter

This is the big one and certainly something a lot of the NBA 2K community is going to be focused on moving to next-gen.

Wang says the new presentation of the meter is “much more readable”, and that it doesn’t scale relative to your camera angle (meaning that regardless of how close or far away you are from the action, it’ll be the same size).

There’s also an added arrowhead for timing and aiming, which Wang says will make it “much easier to see the sweet spot”.

nba 2k21 next gen gameplay

“The shot meter’s make window is now blue and will grow and shrink dynamically based on how good the shooter is, the degree of difficulty of the shot, and how well it’s defended. For next-gen, if you miss the window completely, it means you’ll miss the shot. The black notch in the middle of the make window is the ideal timing/aiming point. You must hit it precisely for the coveted green release, which we’ve added some new visual effects for.

“In the Controller Settings menu, you get to customize which visual effect plays, set it to randomize between the different options, or turn it off if you like a clean screen. The changes that we made here make it much easier for us to help players understand the difference between a good and poor shot, and also allow us to re-tune shooting to accommodate the wide variation of skill levels of the 2K community.”

And anklebreakers?

Wang explains that the next-gen has allowed the development team the opportunity to “add an interesting feature to ball handling”.

nba 2k21 next gen gameplay

This is explained as the ability to control the speed of your size-up moves based on how slowly or quickly you flick the Pro Stick.

“And wait till you see some of the new anklebreaker animations we’ve added this year. They’re going to make for some very entertaining videos that I’m sure will make the Top Plays on 2KTV,” Wang promised.

Check out the full breakdown of NBA 2K21 next-gen gameplay upgrades.

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