I've played the NBA 2k series for nine years and every year the team pulls of some great things to improve their games. NBA 2k10 brought something never seen before with the "My Player Mode." 2k5 did have a 24/7 mode; but it was nothing like this.
My Player Mode has become the most exciting part of the game to some, including myself. In 2k11 we saw some improvements vs. the 2k10 version, but the game mode stayed relatively the same. This year though, we're all expecting something big.
In this article I'm going to give 11 suggestions to bring into the game that will make it the greatest basketball game ever made.
Note: Only Focusing on the "My Player Mode", but some of these suggestions can be used in other parts of the game as well.
So far the dominating factor in playing the My Player Mode has been skill points. The problem is that after playing maybe one season you're player can accumulate enough skill points to be an All-Star and put up super star numbers.
This can and does get repetitive, so I'm suggesting that they add more dynamics to the game. Fame (or Respect) would be something which you can control via Media (explained later on). Fame can be useful in endorsements (they can add other things aside from the Jordan company) and even how other players respond to you in games.
The second factor would be Money. In NBA 2k6 they had "My Crib" which could somewhat be reintegrated into 2k12 My Player Mode. This time you will be able to buy things to fill up your house, and also have the option of buying new houses and cars. Also having a wardrobe would be pretty cool, which you could buy different outfits.
The Money/Fame factors will not be very important to the main game though, and If players really don't care about the extra's, they can ignore it and sign for little. For those who do care though, this will add some more flavor to the game and will make it much better.
Press conferences after every game seem pretty repetitive after the first five games. The reporters all look alike, ask similar questions, the player wears the same thing everyday, etc.
My suggestion is improve everything, give more choices for answering the questions, do locker-room interviews instead of a press conference sometimes, allow the player to wear different clothes and for the love of God, remove his headband while showing him walking into the game in a suit.
Another part to this is the player voice. Other games such as Def Jam give you the option to pick from multiple voices, they should do that here.
One area which they could upgrade is sound effects. The generic cheers and sounds from the crowd gets annoying because after playing the game for hundreds of hours (yeah I have no life), you actually notice it's the same old sounds over and over again.
The suggestion here is to add more generic sounds, cheers and boo's, and try your best to make it realistic (in 2k11 when the crowd boo's and chants "trade him" it sounds terrible! No real crowd in basketball games are comprised of 100 percent men).
One update which would make the "Fame" factor deeper would be the ability to go to certain events. These events would help your players Fame, but the downside could be missing a drill/practice opportunity. This would probably be very generic and not specific to any real world events just to make it sound reasonable.
The improved Media in 2k12 will work well with Fame, and other dynamics of the game.
I was really disappointed with 2k11 because of one thing. After the season ended, you'd be given a random option to switch your team to two-to-three other teams, or stay on the one you are currently on. That's it...
This killed me. I really thought they had upgraded it, and it's a must have for 2k12! After an NBA season, a Player should be able to negotiate contracts with teams interested in him, and that will include everything which can currently be done in regards to signing Players in the Association game mode.
It'll be up to Players how long they're willing to sign, and for what price, if a no trade clause is worth the smaller salary, etc. Teams might not be interested in Players only looking for one year deals, or maybe give them a smaller role withing the team if they're not willing to commit, etc.
This will work well with the Money factor in the game, and (in my opinion) no other update could improve the My Player Mode as much as this.
The My Player Mode in 2k11 gave options such as quarter length and difficulty, which was good because it gave us more control. The problem is during the start of the game (when it can be pretty hard to score and do well) players are tempted to pick the easiest difficulty and choose the longest quarter length in order do fill up that stat sheet.
This to me kind of kills it because cheating or taking a shortcut provides some short satisfaction but ultimately hurts the overall experience of games.
My suggestion is to make Players choose a permanent difficulty from the start. This way, it'll preserve the full game experience some people desire by making it hard, and still protect them from giving into the temptation of cheating.
As far as quarter length is concerned, I don't really have a problem with it, but they can still make it better. They can make all games 48 minutes long, and give you the option to determine how many minutes you will play during a game (under my minutes).
This will give other Players on your team realistic stats (Kobe did 15 PPG because I played six-to-seven minutes a quarter), and is a small fix which might work too.
Another small suggestion which can go a long way. While playing in Association Mode, you can choose to use custom team rosters instead of the default when starting off.
This is huge because throughout the season (or even early on), a big trade could go down, and being forced to play against a team which shouldn't have a certain player really takes away from the experience.
Also, sometimes a player might be projected to be very good or very bad but have exact opposite performances. This will allow a Warriors fan to play along side a Dorell Wright who scores over 15 PPG instead of one who does five PPG.
This is a small update but would really help those who like to keep their Rosters up to date and realistic.
Getting Better is something which might be too easy. Now I do not suggest making it harder to upgrade skills, because early on it can be painful. Rather, I believe a smart way to implement a realistic dynamic into the game and keep Player stats reasonable is to add fatigue and practice.
Fatigue can occur in conjunction with a players durability attribute, and can be something which will lower some stats after certain stretches of players using a lot of energy. (Some games the energy bar becomes zero, and you can no longer run until you gain some energy sitting on the bench. Fatigue could be triggered if a player has multiple games like these.)
The second part to keeping skills reasonable without acutely making the game harder is to add practice to the schedule. Players could choose to skip practice, but it'll cost them some attributes going down by one or two.
Players can also choose to skip practice to attend "events", which can include the Media/Fame factors mentioned earlier. The positives to practice would be given a temporary boost in skills depending on how well the Player does during the practice. I imagine it'd be made similar to "drills", but could be done further.
Giving the option for players to request trades during the season was a very good improvement we saw in 2k11. To take that one step forward, a small update would be to allow teams to trade your Player during the season.
Just like in Association Mode, in the My Player Mode, teams trade each other, but it doesn't ever involve a persons own Player. It'd be interesting to allow this to happen, and it can work along with the Fame Factor/Player performance in terms of the team's value for the Player.
Usually a player is injured for one-to-two weeks at most, but there is no risk of serious injury in My Player Mode. I can understand why: it'd stink to miss out on your rookie season getting injured in the first few games. Still, I feel allowing the possibility of this would be cool, and it will give some purpose to the Durability skill.
Flagrant and Technical fouls are something which would be so cool to see in a video game, but I doubt they'll ever make it. I think modifying the "emotion" attribute to being the ability to control their emotions during games will make it possible to put this into the game.
A player running at another player during a fast-break can possibly (based on a ratio) commit a flagrant foul or even a tech instead of a normal foul.
Maybe the chances of committing a flagrant foul could be increased if the Player is having a poor performance. Considering scenario's like this, the idea of flagrant fouls could actually be put into the game as a logical update.
Both of these things aren't really important, but will just make the game seem that much cooler and less linear.
Here I will suggest to improve the Player creation options. NBA 2k3 was pretty good in that they gave you the option to touch every single detail. Basically giving us the option to modify as much details as possible would be best.
I noticed my guy looks kind of "off" in the last two games, and even before that, ever since 2k6, the Player looked a certain way by default. For obvious reasons this will improve the My Player Mode.
The second part to this might sound far fetched, but I don't see why it couldn't be implemented. I'm sure everyone has used Microsoft Narrator or similar programs which plays sound according to what you type.
In NBA 2k12 it'd be awesome if we could write our name (first and last), and then have an option to write the transliteration of how to pronounce it (i.e: I'd write Haaseeeeeb, so they pronounce my name right). This option being given to the nickname selection will make the game feel beyond real.
Now I understand these are two options which realistically will be hard to implement for such a small boost to the game, but they would be great updates regardless.
In NBA 2k8 we were able to have Dunk Contests using Tournament Mode. Bringing it back to a lesser extent just for All-Star weekend would be pretty cool in My Player Mode, and could even be added to the Association Mode.
The player would only enter into the contest if he's a good dunker, and will be paired with randomly selected high fliers. It doesn't need to be breathtaking content, but just adding a basic dunk contest to All-Star weekend would be pretty cool. (Note: if player is not selected for the contest, the winner will still be shown on "headlines".)
The second part to this will be the three-point contest. I imagine you will be able to shoot three's from certain hot spots on the court pressing a button on the controller to pick up a new ball.
Like shooting in Drills, a Players precision on the timing of his shot will be important towards scoring. The Player will be selected if he is a top three-point shooter (has good rating/three-point percentage).
Again, this doesn't have to be fancy-shmancy but just having it there will really help. (Note: if player is not selected for the contest, the winner will still be shown on "headlines".)
Note: For both contests, the winners will appear once again the next year.
Time and time again in the world of video games we see disappointing sequels. The reason I believe this happens is because content is removed from original games, and replaced by newer content. The newer content might be good too, but players will miss what they liked the first time around.
This is also very true with basketball games, and with the 2K series. The truth is that they cannot fit everything into one disc (8.5 gigabytes for Xbox 360 disc, 25 gigabytes for Ps3, four gigabytes for Wii) to keep previous content and new content sometimes.
Despite this, it's possible they could remove the Jordan Mode and add some of these suggestions. This can be disappointing to some, but I believe 2k11 was specially dedicated to Jordan, and keeping the Jordan Mode in future games isn't necessary.
Either that or make it two discs for Xbox and Wii; and one for Ps3. I think I'm getting a bit carried away, but I still stand firm on wanting good content to stay and not be replaced by more content.
In conclusion, I recognize I've suggested something which is probably impossible to create within the next few months, but the idea's shouldn't be snubbed all together because they can really improve the game.
I also realize I've probably missed out on many things which you guys would love to see in the next NBA video game. Please, comment and give your thoughts and wishes.
Hopefully somebody see's this article and posts similar suggestions in places where the 2k team will actually look for user feedback; I'll try to find their official forum and write some things too.
Thanks for reading! :)