NBA 2K15 is slated to hit the shelves on October 7, and fans of the popular basketball series have been rewarded with some big-time improvements from last year's edition.
Kevin Durant graces the cover all by himself, while Pharrell Williams did the honors of selecting the game's soundtrack—shockingly picking three of his own songs. But those changes from last year's game pale in comparison to some additions and improvements that those at 2K Sports are ready to unveil.
The chance to play with the new-look Cleveland Cavaliers or ball out with some prized rookies will be exciting and all, but gamers will have much more than the new rosters to look forward to.
Here's a look at the most exciting new gameplay improvements in NBA 2K15.
Vast Improvements to MyGM and MyLEAGUE
If you're one of those NBA 2K gamers that spends a majority of their time building a powerhouse for years and years on franchise mode, the guys at 2K Sports are catering to you.
One of the biggest projects set to unveil is a new mode called MyLEAGUE, in which gamers have more flexibility than has ever been made available on a franchise mode for a sports game.
Steve Noah of Operation Sports broke the news after sitting with with 2K Sports executives, outlining options to change everything from the season length, to salary caps, to training effects. At the start of a MyLEAGUE campaign, users can select to do a single season or a franchise for as long as 80 seasons.
The biggest reason for the unveiling of MyLEAGUE, Noah reported, was giving users ultimate flexibility:
Well, we heard the community loud and clear about wanting a mode that could be fully customizable. A mode that is more of a sandbox of options without limitations. That is what MyLEAGUE is all about. MyLEAGUE gives users the flexibility to do what they want at the pace they wish to do it.
Users can control from one to 30 teams in the new gameplay feature, and it even allows folks to import classic NBA teams and the Euroleague clubs that the game includes. Users can also choose to turn trades off.
As far as how the games are played, a big improvement has been made to player injuries. While in the past injuries were randomly assigned to players, now there is a much more accurate system in place, per Noah:
With ‘Injuries 2.0’, every player has a unique durability rating for 16 different body parts (think left foot, right foot, left ankle, right ankle, etc.). This level of control allows us to pick a player like Russell Westbrook and say that he has a right knee with a significantly higher chance of getting injured than his left knee, or any other body part for that issue. In short, player injuries are going to be a lot more relevant, and a lot less random.
MyLEAGUE will be strictly in offline mode, but 2K Sports has kept that feature elsewhere by allowing gamers to create online leagues.
It also gives gamers another opportunity to earn virtual currency credits that are used elsewhere in the game, but that currency cannot be used in MyLEAGUE.
Most NBA 2K15 gamers probably don't have 80 seasons of franchise mode in them, but now, they will have the opportunity to at least try.
Fewer Elite Players
2K Sports gave out player ratings of 90 or above like candy in NBA 2K14, but many of those highly ranked players will see their rating go down for this year's edition.
The game's official Twitter released the rating of Durant—95 overall—recently, and his rank isn't surprising. But what came with it was:
A total of 10 players received ratings of 90 or above in last year's game, including four point guards. This year, however, it appears as if Durant will only have three others accompanying him with a rating of 90 or above.
But as Ronnie 2K noted, it only applies to current players:
This is a solid move for 2K Sports to make. While there are many players in the league worthy of such a rating, it's quite obvious that players like Durant, James and a few others have distanced themselves from the next tier.
You might see a lot of players rated in the high 80s, and it may not be that big of a change for the game's brass to make. But it's an accurate one, and it is one that will make the game's best players more valuable than they would otherwise be.
Shaq and Ernie
The NBA just wouldn't be the same without the Inside the NBA crew, and two of the biggest personalities from the league's most popular pregame and postgame show will make necessary appearances in the new release.
2K Sports released a new trailer for the game on August 25, including an opening segment from TNT's Ernie Johnson and Shaquille O'Neal:
Unfortunately, there have been no sightings of Charles Barkley or Kenny Smith just yet to complete the entertaining quartet.
NBA 2K loyalists will be much more glued to the dazzling improvements in graphics and gameplay shown from the trailer, but adding two of the league's most familiar on-camera faces is a strong improvement.
The series has taken off so far in its first year on the new generation of consoles, and this is just another wrinkle to add a more realistic feel to the game.
No word yet on how off-topic and knee-slapping the banter between Johnson and O'Neal will be.