Last year, Visual Concepts’ NBA 2K series saw a season of highs and lows, as it made the move to new-gen hardware and tried to keep last-gen users happy. For NBA 2K22, the mission hasn’t changed: a new-gen and current-gen version are both in development with new features to keep players on both hardware invested. “We have two unique experiences again this year,” says executive producer Erick Boenisch. “We made two brand-new games again. That's something that I feel really solid about. It worked really well for us last year; our fans resonated with the different experiences they could play. "
After revealing the main cover athlete Luka Dončić among other special covers, Visual Concepts is finally pulling back the curtain on what to expect from NBA 2K22, providing information drops through Courtside Reports. In addition, we attended a presentation from the Visual Concepts team, where it dished more on new features and answered a few questions. Here’s what we know so far.
This page was updated on 9/2 to give more details on drafting and My Team additions
On-Court Gameplay Improvements
As seen in the trailer above, Visual Concepts is promising more impactful changes on both sides of the game. Last year, Visual Concepts worked on elevating dribbling, allowing you to change up the speed of your dribble and size-up moves. It looks like more improvements to this key area of the game are coming in NBA 2K22 to provide a unique feel and rhythm when sizing up, tighter navigation, and a significantly faster overall pace.
The action should also feel a bit different thanks to some new moves on the court and a new shooting meter. Offensively, the goal is to give players more control over how they score. Post play has also seen some enhancements, including new movement and a new arsenal of back-to-basket moves. New R2/RT fakes allow you to chain multiple fakes together to keep defenders guessing, while new disengage faceup moves, new hop shots/fades/hooks, and a better pull chair mechanic give you more options for success.
For the shooting game, a new shot meter should change things up; it dynamically expands when players take high-quality shots with skilled shooters, but this will shrink when they're heavily contested, shooting with a less skilled shooter, or fatigued. Shot IQ will matter more in NBA 2K22, forcing you to make good plays and work for open looks. Forcing up bad shots isn't going to work as it has sometimes in the past. If defenders are crowding the shooter and making good shot contests, more bricks and airballs should ensue.
As you can see, basketball IQ and stick skills will play a bigger role in your success. You can expect precision jump shooting, dunking in traffic, and pulling off alley-oops to be more skill-based alongside new signature moves and combos to break down defenders off the dribble. Gameplay director Mike Wang said, "If you don't make the right play, then that's going to be on you."
Defensively, a revamped shot contest, stealing, and blocking system bring more realism to the game. For blocks, expect more variety here, such as several new snatch blocks and volleyball spikes. Elite defenders should also make much more of an impact, being able to play suffocating defense on the perimeter. Defensive A.I. is also said to be improved, and you can expect a significant update to the fundamental defensive rotations. New on-ball defensive positioning logic is also said to give defenders A.I. more consistency in their positioning regardless of their distance from the basket.
Some other tweaks include a new dunk-style creator for more customization. In addition, the badge count has been increased to 80 (see all the new ones below), and new-gen versions will introduce Takeover Perks, which you unlock to strengthen your existing Takeover abilities. You can learn more by reading the recent Courtside Report, which highlighted faster-paced gameplay, tighter and more responsive movement, more skill-based offense, and changes to the player builder.
Fast Twitch - Ability to get off the floor quicker for standing layups and dunks
Grace Under Pressure - Ability to convert standing layups more effectively
Limitless Takeoff - Ability to soar from further away on driving dunk attempts
Mouse in the House - Ability for bigs to finish over shorter players more efficiently
Unstrippable - Ability to secure the ball better when gathering for a layup/dunk in traffic
Chef - Ability to knock down Steph-like off-dribble deep 3’s
Limitless Spot-up - Ability to hit logo-range 3’s off a catch and shoot
Lucky #7 - Boosts your ability to score when shooting early in the clock
Mismatch Expert - Ability to successfully shoot over taller defenders on a switch
Glue Hands - Ability to make difficult catches and quicker branch out to a shot or dribble
Hyperdrive - Boosts the speed and effectiveness of moving dribble moves
Quick Chain - Boosts the ability to quickly chain dribble moves together
Post Playmaker - Boosts the effectiveness of both shots and moves when playing in the post
Triple Threat Juke - Increases the effectiveness of triple threat fakes, jabs, and go moves
Ball Stripper - Ability to strip layup and dunk attempts more effectively
Hustler - Ability to get to those scrappy 50/50 balls quicker than opponents
Menace - Significantly drops the offensive ratings of opponents when you smother them
Seasons Are Going Game-wide
Seasons are back, and they’re expanding. They are going game-wide and will be making their way into other modes beyond MyTeam. Visual Concepts says to expect more content, rewards, and more ways to play. "It's free for all NBA 2K22 gamers; there's no pay, no battle pass, this is all free content," Boenisch confirms. "It's going to be playable in MyTeam on both gens, it's gonna be playable on MyCareer mode on both gens. And also on The W on the next-gen consoles. This brings more constant more rewards, more ways to play for gamers all year long. "
Seasons run every six weeks, providing new content and rewards each time. Every mode will offer different rewards and ways to claim them during the season. For instance, in MyCareer, you have the chance to gain new apparel and banners for your MyPlayer. Each season will hold its own Grand Prize to chase. In MyCareer Season 1, the Grand Prize is go-karts to use in either the Neighborhood or City. This will let you reach unexplored regions, but you need to reach level 40 to obtain this prize. If you don't quite get there, you can redeem inline skates at level 30. If you reach level 40 in four different seasons, you then earn "Legend" status.
As for MyTeam, you earn XP with new and familiar Agendas, while also earning new rewards from Season and Lifetime Agenda Groups. You can reach level 40 in every MyTeam mode, such as Domination, Triple Threat, Limited, Unlimited, Draft, etc. The top prize of Season 1? Pink Diamond Carmelo Anthony! A new fast-paced mode is also set to come this holiday.
The W is also getting some love with Seasons. Going head-to-head with other My Players online will grant you new rewards, such as VC, clothing bundles, badges, nail polish, and more.
And as a bonus, you'll have some new music as you work for your rewards each season. "First Fridays" will add new songs to the game's soundtrack every Friday throughout the season, and Visuals Concepts has inked some big partnerships with musical labels, such as Columbia Records, Def Jam Recordings, Low Profile/Casual Records, Ninja Tune, and Warner Records to get the job done and offer music from both up-and-coming artists and big-names.
To learn more about Seasons, check out the Courtside Report here.
Drafting Returns For MyTeam
MyTeam fans will also be happy to know one much-requested feature is finally making a return: drafting. "The MyTeam draft mode will have you select an entire lineup," says MyTeam producer John Smith. "And it's going to have a constantly updated pool of players, because as everyone knows, with My Team, that roster and the players that we put out all year long, evolve very much from Season One to Season Two to Season Three and beyond. This is an online mode. And the rewards that you get with your drafted team are for your permanent MyTeam collection."
When you begin a new draft, you get presented with seven packs. Your job is to choose 13 players and a coach, selecting two players from each position pack. Every draft has a "featured pack," which will only contain three cards that are added to your drafted lineup. According to the latest Courtside Report, "You can likely count on these players being the best players in your lineup to lead your drafted team to victory!" The featured packs will be updated with the latest player cards every Friday.
Now that you got your team together, it's time to compete for some stellar prizes. Every draft nets you a guaranteed league pack and at least a single pick on a draft-exclusive Ascension. Every win you get with your drafted lineup earns you additional Ascension picks. A grand prize player is available every season, starting with Pink Diamond Glenn Robinson.
More MyTeam Additions: New Challenges, Modes, And More
Drafting isn't the only new addition available for MyTeam fans. The popular Triple Threat Online mode is getting a new way to enjoy 3-on-3. 2k22 introduces the 100, which is all about rewarding your defensive game. You start the mode with 100 points, and after every game, the amount of points scored against you gets subtracted from your 100. Once you hit zero, your run is over and you are reset back to the bottom tier of prizes. According to Visual Concepts, this means at minimum, every player should get into the second tier of prizes for this mode's Ball Drops, even if they lose every game.
Challenges were popular for single-player MyTeam games. In 2K22, they're replacing weekly and moment challenges with pick-up and skill challenges. Pick-up challenges let you compete against a generated lineup based on your current lineup. The reward for winning the game is only earnable once each day, so make it part of your routine to do a pick-up challenge. Skill challenges are now where you'll find those weekly and moment challenges alongside some new 2K22 challenges. According to Visual Concepts, "With skill challenges, you will complete feats like hitting Klay’s 9 threes with a single player, or matching the Champion Bucks’ 29 threes as a team in a game." The biggest news here is that you now can do rematches if you don't think you'll win the challenge, and you can also complete challenges out of order.
Other additions include brand-new card events, holo player cards, the ability to craft shoes in the MT shoe lab, and expanded customization options, which you can read more about here.
The New City (PS5/Xbox Series X/S) and New Neighborhood (PS4, Xbox One)
Last year, new-gen players were introduced to The City and current-gen players had The 2K Beach. The former is getting some much-needed improvements, while the latter get to take to the waters and compete in a community aboard a cruise ship. The cruise ship will dock at exotic destinations throughout each season, with special shoreside events to keep things interesting. Season 1 takes the cruise ship to the Caribbean.
The City has a new layout this year, and Visual Concepts said it made the experience much more lively and interactive, with more NPCs populating the city to make it feel alive. A new quest system is promising more creative content, while also providing new ways to level up and earn rewards. Visual Concepts says it will go into specifics at a later date.
Matchmaking options for The City should give players quicker alternatives for getting into games, with special buildings designated for this feature. Visual Concepts also said these types of sessions will be available for a number of game types and contribute to all MyPlayer progress.
Some other confirmations we received: Affiliations still exist and Visual Concepts said they'll "be bigger than ever." You also won't have to spend games grinding in Rookieville to access The City, as Boenisch confirmed that's a thing of the past. "Rookieville was a good experiment for us," he said. "I enjoyed it for what it was. But at the end of the day, I didn't feel it added to the game what we set out for it. So there is no Rookieville in 2K22; you start as a fresh-faced kid in The City."
Visual Concepts said to expect more information in September on both The City and Cruise Ship Neighborhoods.
The W Is Back For PS5 And Xbox Series X/S
Last year, the new-gen versions of NBA 2K21 introduced The W, which let you create your own WNBA MyPlayer for the first time and build your own path to stardom by playing for one of the league’s 12 teams. NBA 2K22 is bringing it back with a new badge progression system and giving you more ways to grow your skills with professional WNBA players.
You can customize your badges freely, allowing you to create unique builds depending on your player’s specialties. Badges come in four categories: finishing, shooting, playmaking, and defense. When you create your MyPlayer, the badges available will appear next to your attributes. By playing games, you’ll earn badge points, and once you earn enough to fill a meter, you can equip or upgrade a badge.
Visual Concepts said there will be greater rewards and bigger consequences depending on your actions. One decision you'll have is how you spend your off-time. Visual Concepts is adding three playable activities to participate in on these days that will contribute to either bettering your craft, gaining more popularity, or beefing up your bank account. If you partake in scrimmages, which only last one quarter, you have the opportunity to improve your chemistry with teammates. If being a team player is important to you, you’ll want to spend some time here. You also have the option to join practices to work on specific skills, which will only help you earn badges and upgrades for them faster.
However, if you want to leverage the connections you make around the league, contact workouts let you challenge WNBA superstars, such as Candace Parker, A’ja Wilson, and Nneka Ogwumike to 1-on-1, 2-on-2, or even 3-on-3 games of 21. You start your The W journey with three WNBA contacts, and each player specializes in different skills that will help you improve your badge categories. Earning a W against one of these players boosts your badge progress significantly. And if you lose, you can keep trying until you prove yourself. You also have the option to eventually team up with them for workouts instead of always going head-to-head.
The W online is also back, with some improvements. You can now team up with friends before hitting matchmaking, so you can take to court together. Playing online also lets you earn season XP, which can go toward rewards, such as adding historic contacts for workouts. This will refresh every season, but it looks like for season one, you get legends from the Houston Comets and New York Liberty to learn from. Exclusive clothing and signature animations will also be available.
MyCareer Is Getting Reenvisioned For New-Gen
A traditional career mode will hit current-gen versions, but Visual Concepts is merging MyCareer with The City for new-gen versions, so your growing career will be reflected in this venue. As your player makes a name for themselves, they can pursue side ventures here, such as entering the fashion world or getting involved in the hip-hop business. You will also watch your home base grow with your ambition and success right in The City.
"What we're doing this year is [we] really tore down the wall between The City and MyCareer; they're one," Boenisch explains. "Your MyCareer takes place in The City. You'll be using the [new] questing engine we made as part of the MyCareer experience. Your house, [it's] going to start off really simple, and as you kind of play along in your career, your house becomes bigger and bigger until you get the penthouse in the sky. But the whole point is, you're living in The City with tons of other people who are on their careers as well. You're just interacting with all of these people, pushing along your objective. "
When asked if we would get an authored, cinematic story like the past, Boenisch had this to say: "The story of MyCareer is it's the narrative of you - the MyPlayer that you create and your journey, from wherever we start you to ultimately where you want to end up. That's different for many people. That's an NBA champion, or that is making it to the NBA, or that is making it to the Hall of Fame. There's so many ways you can choose. But without giving too much away because I do want to talk about this a lot later, that tearing down the wall of MyCareer and The City is you will have these interactions, these cinematics, if you want to call it that, in real-time in The City. As you are going about your story, you're going to visit your agent's house, you're going to the Nike facility to have your negotiations in the environment there. You're moving about your career in The City alongside many, many other players doing the same."
More will be revealed in September about exactly what the storyline entails and how much freedom you have within it.
MyNBA/WNBA (PS5/Xbox Series X/S)
While Visual Concepts wouldn’t elaborate just yet what it has planned, it said to expect the road to building a winning franchise to involve a bigger focus on the staff behind the players. Staffing is going to be just as integral as signing star players to bolster your roster. This includes scouting, training, and coaching. We can expect more details in early September.
A global launch is set for September 10 on all platforms (PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC). You can check out all the different editions and what's in them here.
We will be updating this story as more info is revealed, so you can keep track of it all in one place.