Skip to main content

NBA 2K24 gameplay balances high skill with approachability

Everything for everyone

NBA 2K24 is just over the horizon, and 2K Games recently gave GLHF a sneak peak at the sports game’s gameplay enhancements, including new skill-based actions and approachability options. Game director Mike Wang said the goal with the sports game's latest iteration was implementing extensive feedback from fans who wanted higher skill ceilings and more approachability options for lower difficulty levels – not the easiest request to accommodate.

Wang said the team wanted to create the ultimate challenge, without expecting newcomers to immediately pick up on some of the tougher mechanics. Take team mode, for example. NBA 2K24 includes new shot timing animations and features that let you choose your timing cue and release points so you get an in-depth understanding of how a player shoots and when the ideal release timing is.

Previously, you had to just kind of guess what each player’s style was and what worked best for them.

A digital representation of Kobe Bryant is standing under a basketball hoop, wearing his signature Lakers 24 jersey

Similarly, layups are easier to pull off and have more forgiving windows, and Wang said the meter allows for some advanced shot options if you’re particularly skilled with it. The same is true for dunk shots, which require more skill and precision at higher levels to pull off.

Wang said the team wanted to make dribble moves more interesting and easier to pull off, so dribble breakdowns – a brand-new feature in NBA 2K24 – were born. Breakdowns include over 100 new dribble moves you can pull off just by flicking the stick, ranging from fancy steps and explosive escape moves to steady rhythmic advances up the court.

Takeovers are back in 2K24, but they work a bit differently this time. This time, takeovers let you temporarily boost a player’s stats in a given category. These are borrowed from MyCareer and include stats such as finishing and shooting. A menu pops up when you trigger a takeover, and you can pick an attribute to boost. Plan well, and Wang says you can change the course of a match and bring your team back from the brink.

One of Visual Concepts’ goals for NBA 2K24 was increasing the level of realism, including how player presence and ball positioning affect your plays. Steal attempts depend on the ball handler, the move you use, and the ball’s position when you use it, for example. Wang said the team revamped contest logic and took player size into account for escapes, improved foot planting, reduced sliding, and made dozens of other tweaks to keep the game feeling natural.

A digital representation of Lakers' star Kobe Bryant is throwing a basketball toward a hoop, wearing a purple Lakers' jersey

Visual Concepts’ new ProPlay technology also aims to increase NBA 2K24’s realism, at least on current-gen platforms. Wang said relying on motion capture for animations often led to inaccurate results, not to mention challenges in recreating styles for retired or deceased players, including NBA 2K24’s cover star, Kobe Bryant. Pro Play takes footage from actual NBA games and recreates it as authentically as possible in NBA 2K24.

Visual Concepts and 2K are launching NBA 2K24 on Sep. 8, 2023, for PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox One

Meanwhile, check out the top 10 early NBA 2K24 ratings to see how your favorite stacks up.