NBA 2K23 Gameplay Enhancements Blog

Devin Booker in NBA 2K23

In the wake of the First Look Trailer, the first developer blog for NBA 2K23 is a deep dive into gameplay enhancements. According to the blog, the primary aim with gameplay this year was authenticity. Another key goal was achieving as much parity as possible between the Current Gen and Next Gen versions.

As you might expect, it’s a rather lengthy read! To that end, I’ve summarised the key information from the blog in point form below. As always however, I encourage you to read the blog in its entirety to get the full scoop on gameplay enhancements in NBA 2K23, including some of the specific changes to Badges. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, as well as join in the discussion here in the Forum!

NBA 2K23 Gameplay Enhancements Summary

  • The Pro Stick now has “gesture combos”, referred to internally as “double throws”. These involve double taps of the right stick, e.g. up-up, down-down, down-up, and up-down.
  • Metered dunks from NBA 2K22 are in the game once again this year.
  • When driving with Sprint, right stick movement is used to perform a two-hand dunk (up), strong hand dunk (right), weak hand dunk (left), rim hang (down), flashy two hand dunk (up-up), flashy one hand dunk (down-up), normal skill dunk with meter (up-down), and rim hang skill dunk with meter (down-down).
  • Next Gen features full control over rim hangs. Keep holding sprint to hang on the rim indefinitely, and use the left and right sticks to control the player’s momentum and pull up on the rim. Technical fouls will be assessed if you hang on too long. Again, this isn’t available in Current Gen.
  • Gesture combos are also used to perform hop-step, Euro-step, and cradle layups. Holding left or right will perform a variety of scoop layups.
  • New contact layups have been added. There are also new layup packages for Devin Booker, Joel Embiid, Allen Iverson, Magic Johnson, Nikola Jokic, Zach LaVine, Ja Morant, Sue Bird, and Diana Taurasi, among others.
  • Dribbling controls also utilise the gesture combos, which include signature moves.
  • The Moving Crossover package has expanded from 15 to 28 options.
  • Signature size-ups can be chained together by rhythmically rocking the Pro Stick back and forth. Flicking it back and forth will perform Signature Combos.
  • New attacking size-ups provide more effective ways of getting defenders off balance and beating them off the dribble.
  • Energy will deplete much quicker when spamming moves, encouraging good timing and clever combos over mindless stick movement.
  • Adrenaline boosts will also balance stamina usage. There are three of them which will be used every time you attempt a hard go or explosive sprint launch. Once the three boosts are depleted, a player’s speed and acceleration are decreased significantly for the remainder of the possession.
  • Signature jumpshots now have their own shooting attributes, including Shot Speed, Release Height, Defensive Immunity, and Timing Impact. This means that shots will not only look different, but feel and perform differently as well.
  • Shot animations will be gated behind ratings for MyPLAYERs.
  • There are five new Shot Meters to choose from, with an additional 15 that will be unlocked as Seasonal content.
  • Shot arcs provide immediate feedback as to whether a shot is off. If Shot Feedback is enabled, it’s delayed until the ball reaches the basket, to add more drama that was spoiled by the immediate Green Release feedback in recent years.
  • Lead to Basket passes have been added to Next Gen, and function the same way as in Current Gen (hold Y/Triangle).
  • The new Spot Up pass mechanic (hold B/Circle) can be used to direct the receiver to perform a quick V or flare cut to get open on the perimeter.
  • Signature passing styles can be equipped by MyPLAYERs.
  • Shot contests are calculated throughout a window of the shooting motion. This is intended to combat the issue of a defender’s hand moving into a bad position due to the animation, unfairly resulting in a poor contest.
  • On-ball defensive movement and body ups have been enhanced for better 1-on-1 player interactions.
  • A new defensive shading mechanic aids in anticipating an opponent’s movement. When in a guarding position, an indicator represents three zones: straight up, shade left, shade right. The defender’s zone is shown in red, indicating that if the ballhandler tries to attack in that direction, they’ll get cut off, lose their dribble, or fumble the ball.
  • Blocks have been tuned to a more realistic level. Traditionally risky dunks like backscratchers and tomahawks are also now more difficult to swat.
  • New ball strip animations make savvy defenders with quick hands more effective. There are also failed strip layup animations that reflect an attempt on the ball, rather than simply ignoring the defensive input.
  • Sideline awareness on scramble plays has been improved, making it easier to scoop up loose balls and make saves on 50/50 plays.
  • Fun and balance were goals with this year’s MyPLAYER Builder, in addition to a wide variety of choice.
  • A 3v3 test environment has been added to the MyPLAYER Builder along with the usual 5v5 testing game.
  • Animation purchases are now tied to your account rather than a save file. This allows them to be used for multiple builds, though each build will still need to meet any requirements for specific animations.
  • The pie chart approach has been removed in Current Gen, which now uses Next Gen’s MyPLAYER Builder.
  • A tiered Badge system has been introduced to strive for balance on Next Gen. There are 16 Badges per category: eight in Tier 1, four in Tier 2, and four in Tier 3. These tiers operate similar to the old Bronze, Silver, Gold, Hall of Fame level system.
  • Tier 2 and 3 Badges will cost more Badge points, with the idea being that MyPLAYERs will equip a certain number of lower tier Badges before upgrading to higher ones, and have to make some tough choices with their loadouts rather than create OP builds.
  • New “Core” Badges add four unique Badge slots (one in each category) that don’t count towards Badge points. They’re earned by completing specific tasks/challenges.
  • Several Badges have also been changed or refined for better/more balanced performance. Redundant/problematic Badges have also been removed.
  • Team Takeover has been redesigned and is now a cooperative system with a single shared meter. Each player contributes equally to the Team Takeover meter, and it’s automatically activated once a player fills up their portion of it.
  • Ballhandler AI has been enhanced so that CPU players have greater awareness of defenders, and attack with their full arsenal of dribbling moves. Their intelligence and aggressiveness has been improved.
  • Spacing has been improved on pick and roll plays.
  • AI coaches will have dynamic gameplans, and will make adjustments based on mismatches.
  • Defensive AI has also been refined. Adjustments will also be made according to opponent performance, and will be less generic. For users, these adjustments are automated with the adaptive coaching setting enabled, but can also be handled manually.

Additional Details from Beluba

On top of the NBA 2K23 Gameplay Enhancements blog, Gameplay Director Mike Wang (aka Beluba) posted additional information via a series of Tweets.

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