NBA 2K21: Latest Preview Trailers, Pre-Order Info, Features and Modes

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistAugust 29, 2020

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) drives around Los Angeles Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (1) during the first half of an NBA basketball first round playoff game, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

NBA 2K21 doesn't appear to blink much in the face of immense expectations. 

The latest in the long-running NBA series, this time featuring Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard on the cover, finds itself not only coming off another strong entry, but also facing an uptick in hype merely because this is the end of a console generation. 

The team at 2K Sports seems ready to respond in kind, especially with some of the footage already released in gameplay trailers: 

This year's game has plenty of pre-order info to digest despite the presence of just two editions: Standard and the "Mamba Forever" edition honoring the late Kobe Bryant. Players who pre-order the standard edition get extra goodies like extra Virtual Currency, MyTeam points, MyCareer Skill boosts and more. 

Critically, the special edition of the game includes a code to unlock the standard edition of the game on the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X if purchased on those respective consoles. Pre-ordering that Mamba Edition unlocks many of the same bonuses as doing the same for the standard edition, albeit in greater quantities.

Of course, players aren't going to re-up with the annual series if it doesn't come correct with the upgrades.

This year, one of the biggest talking points is the evolution of the Pro Stick. No longer just a way to get shots off, the stick now gives players greater control of dribble moves and even changes up how shots happen. 

Shooting is now more than just timing the stick release, as engaging a shot, then being accurate within a new meter decides whether a shot swishes through the net or clanks off the rim. And while players are free to disable the new mechanic and go back to shooting like in past games, NBA 2K gameplay director Mike Wang  thinks the competitive community will embrace it for its skill-oriented details: 

"And because shooting with the stick offers a bit more complexity than just holding and releasing a button, it also carries a greater risk/reward. If you can master shooting with the Pro Stick, you'll have a higher ceiling for getting greens and making tough shots, so I'm pretty sure it's going to be the shot method of choice for many competitive 2K players."

And while nothing will be more impactful then dramatically changing up shooting in a basketball game, NBA 2K21 doesn't shy away from making some big adjustments to some beloved modes and features, too. 

A new MyTeam Limited mode is a weekend tournament sort of event for players that offers competitive tournaments with rings at stake. Win rings to earn prizes at the end of a season—it's not the most revolutionary idea as other games have done it in the past, but done as plotted here, MyTeam is sure to have a hit on its hands that keeps players coming back for a long time. 

And the word "season" was used purposefully above. MyTeam is also going more of a traditional online-games route this year. MyTeam will feature seasons with exclusive content, including challenges and rewards, and it is a development sure to keep players coming back to check out each content drop. 

These features have been briefly hinted at in gameplay videos, too: 

With progress carrying over to the next generation of consoles, it's clear one of the year's biggest pushes happens within MyTeam. And with everything customizable and a streetball-esque background to lean into, it's no wonder it's both the mode the game is pushing the hardest and the one that keeps players engaged for the long-term. 

Changing up some key gameplay elements, properly dialing in on key modes and smartly navigating a console transition means 2K21 projects to keep the strong standing of the series intact as a new console generation gets underway.