I have vivid memories of my first franchise mode experience. All the kids around the neighborhood, we were all playing Double Dribble in a competitive league. I was the league commissioner, and we kept track of all stats and standings via pen and paper. That was the pinnacle of franchise sports gaming in the 80s, and the birth of my passion for how I would do my small part in growing the genre for a new generation of franchise players.
As I look around at the competitive titles in sport video gaming, I’m always a little disheartened to see the franchise modes take a backseat (or third row seating in some titles). Many titles often go years without change or innovation. When I read a preview for an upcoming release and the main thing they have to say about franchise is “we tuned the simulator for better results”, I know what that means. And I’m guessing you do too. I feel very blessed to work for Greg & Jeff Thomas here at Visual Concepts. They believe in the franchise experience, and they empower myself, Dave Z, Tim, Leftos, Barry, Yu, and Nathan to deliver you an experience that intrigues and delights.
To view all of the screenshots in the blog at a higher resolution, click here.
Thinking back to my childhood days of that Double Dribble league is what really inspired the push for NBA 2K12’s The Association: Online. It was a wildly ambitious feature that the community really seemed to sink their teeth into. Once we finished 2K12, the core team moved outwards to other experiences (The Association, MyCAREER, MyGM R&D). Having witnessed Online Leagues in 2K14 and 2K15, I really felt like we were leaving a lot on the table, with respect to user experience. Very early in the 2K16 development cycle, I made it clear that I intended to bring online franchise back under the wing of my team, most of whom were here for our first run through this in 2K12 (this experience proved to be invaluable during this process). We set forth with a very simple, and a very clear direction. That direction is, deliver a fully featured experience that above all else…WORKS.
We had the perfect foundation for this new experience, 2K15’s MyLEAGUE mode. Let me give the quick rundown on what you can expect in 2K16’s MyLEAGUE Online:
- Full 30-team leagues that support 1-30 human teams.
- Fully featured Fantasy Draft to kick off the experience with your friends.
- Fully adjustable setup options (season length, MyLEAGUE difficulty sliders, etc.).
- Every Admin Control option you can think of (if you want more, let me know in the forums!).
- Flex Scheduling, play any game at any time.
- Custom Roster support (Classic League with our new classic teams?).
All leagues are private, invite-only leagues, so we can ensure you get exactly the experience you want with your friends.
The core experience is a single season mode, but there is an offering to extend your league into a second season if everyone wants to run it back. Once the season is done, the Admin has the option to restart the league with the end-of-season rosters (meaning, all trades you made in season 1 will carry over into season 2). Think of it as a new season without the happenings of a standard NBA offseason. I made the decision very early on that would be our path as I wanted the core focus to be on stability and reliability of the mode, while offering as many features as possible. I’m sure you can all understand and respect that decision.
At the end of the day, I’m very proud to say to our online community that the true online experience you have been coveting is back. And I know you’re going to enjoy it. Leave us comments on the forums for what you want to see next. We hear you.
I’ve had a vision for this feature for MANY years now. This year I got the greenlight, and it instantly became a passion project. In fact, it was so successful that you will see its tentacles (the team create elements) extend into every mode in the game. Looking back on this feature, even as I’m writing this right now, it amazes me how many people on the team got involved in it, and gave it 110% to make it all it could be. My respect for the team here at Visual Concepts has no bounds.
The first step in any Team Relocation is deciding where you want to move the franchise to. This is a big decision. We have created complete metro profiles for most of the big North American cities. These profiles include the population of the metropolitan area, the income of the people residing in this area, and how many TV homes there are in the market. We take these numbers and boil them down into three very simple meters for you: 1) How the Median Income of the market affects the future financial success of your franchise, 2) The overall population of the metropolitan area in comparison to other relocation city options, and 3) The overall fan interest of you moving your team to their city. And you thought you were just going to pick your favorite city with no other factors. That’s cute! This is big business.
Choose from a number of cities to relocate your team to. Each city has a unique demographic that ensures each city comes with unique challenges and rewards.
Once you have selected your city, you then need to decide whether you want to build the arena in a Downtown setting or in a Suburban setting. Land prices cost more downtown, so that will be a costlier relocation and will incur higher operating costs, but with the uptick that your team will be centrally located to where the action is (higher attendance), and to where your more affluent fans reside. Wait, it costs money to relocate a team? Of course it does!
You’re just the GM of the team in MyGM. You will need the blessing of your owner to relocate his franchise. Fortunately, the owners in NBA 2K16 are more than willing to support your relocation endeavors, but with caveats. The level of contribution you can expect from your owner will vary depending on the city you want to relocate to. For example, when you are GMing the Thunder, you can expect your owner to kick in a few extra bucks when you choose to relocate the team to Seattle, over say, Anchorage, Alaska. You can earn your own funds to add towards a relocation by completing the goals your Owner sets forth to you each season. While you apply for a relocation application in year 1 of MyGM, it might behoove you to bide your time for a few seasons and bank some money to plan for the ultimate relocation.
Ok, you’ve selected your city. We’ve only just begun. The next order of business is Team Branding. This is where you can choose your primary/secondary/tertiary team colors, select a new name for your team, and select a new team logo. You don’t have to do any of this. If you want to move the team and keep all of this the same, more power to you. But if you DO want to change these, we’ve given you some robust options. We have a large selection of on-disc team logos that you can choose from, otherwise you can head over to our website and upload any image of your choosing to be your team logo. If you want to upload a picture of a hummingbird and name your team the Hummingbirds, have at it. Feeling lazy? You can also browse uploads from other users and choose to use one of those as your own. The options are endless.
There are a number of steps you must complete prior to submitting your relocation application.
The next order of business is designing your own custom arena. You start off by selecting one of 13 different arena sizes (each with varying capacity levels). Once that is done, you’ll need to give it a name.
Now is where the customization gets crazy. Rather than me telling you the rest of the things you can do here, I’m just going to list out the options and let your imaginations run wild:
- Full colorization of the seating in the arena.
- Selection of what type of basket stanchions you want to use, plus the ability to colorize these to any color you want.
- Selection from a number of differently sized Scorer’s Tables, each with a different amount of advertising boards.
- Full control over what advertisements play on the Scorer’s Table (note: YES, of course you can head over to our website and upload anything you want to display on the advertising boards of your chosen Scorer’s Table).
Choose your own Scorer’s Table and decide which advertisements will play on it. You can even upload your own pictures to display here!
- Choose from 24 different Jumbotron styles for your custom arena. Once you have chosen your Jumbotron, you can choose from a number of different animation packages that will play on your Jumbotron (yes, your uploaded customs logos will play here!) as well as the LED marquees that span the circumference of the arena.
- Select custom sound effects that play in your arena during key events in the game (e.g. after a made 3PT shot by the home team, when the away team commits a turnover or misses a free throw, when the home team makes a FT, and so on). This was a late touch we added that really puts the icing on the cake. No custom sound uses here (only what we provided on-disc). I’ll see what we can do for 2K17 on this front!
And, the best for last. You have COMPLETE control over how you build your court floor:
- Choose from a selection of different wood patterns for your court floor.
- Choose how you want to color the wood. You can break this down by zones on the court (in the key (the key is even broken down into sub-zones), inside the 3PT line, between the 3PT lines, etc.). Whatever you want.
- Full control over every single line on the court. I’m talking the out of bounds lines, the half-court line, jump ball circle, hash marks in the key, media box where the camera guys go, EVERYTHING.
- Choose a center court logo for your custom floor. Once again, you can choose from our on-disc selection or upload your own over on our website.
- Choose secondary court logos (these appear next to the key near the baseline) by selecting one of ours or uploading your own.
- Choose arena name logos (think STAPLES CENTER, ORACLE ARENA, etc.) by selecting one of ours or uploading your own.
- Choose from a large selection of fonts and write whatever you want on the two baselines (e.g., put ‘SAN ANTONIO’ on one baseline and ‘SPURS’ on the other) as well as the sideline text in front of the team benches. This text is fully colorizable to match the theme of our floor.
But wait there’s more! When you are done with the in-game experience, you next need to deck out the concourse of your arena with various facilities. These all cost money and come out of your owner’s contribution bonus in addition to the funds you have accrued by completing goals from your owner. So what can you buy/upgrade for your new arena?
- Luxury suites for your upscale clientele (5 upgrade levels to choose from)
- Parking garages (5 capacities to choose from; more parking = more parking revenue)
- Concourse Merchandise shops (5 sizes to choose from; bigger = more revenue)
- Concession Stand types (5 types to choose from)
- Restaurants offered (5 types to choose from)
- In-Arena Seats (4 types to choose from)
- Green Initatives (4 upgrade opportunities to go ‘green’)
- Public Transportation Hub (do you want to build an on-site Bus or Train terminal to increase attendance?)
- Amenities (Children’s Play Area? Medical Facilities? Baby Changing Stations?)
- Digital Services to increase attendance (in-arena Wifi, in-seat power, etc.)
The overall quality of your arena will have a big impact on whether your relocation gets approved or not. If you want the owners in the relocation committee to take your application seriously, you are going to need to ensure that your custom arena includes a number of luxurious upgrades.
At the very top of this Team Relocation section, I mentioned how amazed I was at what we had accomplished, looking back. I think you’re starting to understand the elation I’m feeling, and the deep respect I have for this development team. Let’s keep going…
Time to create your threads. The uniform creator is rooted with one simple philosophy: Complete Customization. You’ll be creating both a Home and Away uniform for your team. For those wanting a quick experience, we’ve created a number of a presets for you to choose from. For those wanting a robust experience, you will have the ability to choose from:
- Full colorization of the base uniform itself.
- A selection of collar types on the jersey (U-neck, V-neck, etc.)
- A selection of different design patterns for both the jersey and the shorts.
- A selection of stripe patterns for the Neck, Shoulder, Jersey Side, Shorts Side+Bottom, and Shorts Waist regions of the uniform. Full colorization within these patterns are fully supported.
- Full control over player names and numbers anywhere on the uniform. This includes sizing, placement, selection of font, and colorization of all aspects. You can even apply a curvature to the text if you really want to get fancy.
- Full support for uploading your own team logos and images for use on the uniforms. You can skew, resize, and rotate images to your heart’s content.
- Full layering support. This allows you to intricately stylize your uniforms by prioritizing which layers take precedence over others. An example of this is in action is the Warriors uniform where they cleverly place the jersey number within the logo on the front of the uniform. With our robust uniform creator, you will have the same tools at your disposal to create whatever you can imagine.
We invested a lot of time and energy into this particular area of the Team Relocation process. How your team looks and feels on the court is a big piece of the relocation process, and we wanted to make sure you feel rewarded for your hard work and efforts in relocating your team.
Application Submission + Relocation Committee Voting
The deadline to submit a relocation application is on March 31st. Any applications not complete before that date will have to wait until the following season. Once your application is accepted by the league office, it will go to the relocation committee, who will mull over your proposal and decide if this relocation is in the best interest of the league.
During this time, you will have the ability to speak to the other owners and get their thoughts and opinions on your relocation. Through conversation, you will be able to uncover why they are voting the way they are, and what you can do to potentially sway their votes. These owners aren’t pushovers, they are highly intelligent businessmen. If you try and relocate a team to say, Anaheim, don’t expect to ever get a yes vote from the owners of the Lakers or the Clippers. They don’t want to share the market any more than they currently are. Teams are very savvy, and they have their own motivations as well.
I’m particularly proud of this feature addition to the team relocation process. I’ll never forget how many conversations, meetings, and frankly, how many engineers came up with different algorithms on how to best model divisional alignment based on new geographical location. It was a stern reminder to me just how serious we take even the most seemingly small features in our game.
Following the Bulls’ relocation to Los Angeles, a shift in divisions/conferences was needed to maintain geographical balance.
When you relocate a team, there is a strong chance that the divisional breakdowns will no longer make sense, with respect to the chosen city for your relocation. For example, does it make sense to keep the Knicks in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference when you have chosen to move them to be the third team in Los Angeles? Of course not! Following an approved team relocation, the league offices will realign divisions and conferences to geographically account for the new location(s) of all the teams in the league. This means the Knicks will be the newest member of the Pacific Division in such a move! It can be viewed as a small addition, but to me, it really accentuates the level of detail the team has gone into in creating this experience. And let’s be honest, it’s pretty fun to see how the league reshapes itself based on your decisions.
Team Relocation in MyLEAGUE
As you all know, MyLEAGUE is our ‘sandbox’ franchise mode, where anything goes. In this experience, you will be able to rebrand and relocate teams without the requirement of going through the application, voting, and approval process. If you want to move the Thunder to Seattle, you can do that right away. Go ahead, no one is going to stop you!
The All-New Offseason
The offseason, and the elements within it, is one of the oldest modules in our backend code. Not anymore! We’ve spent a considerable amount of time revamping (and adding!) many time periods that occur in the NBA offseason. I’d like to take a few minutes and go over some of my favorites:
This is an all-new take on the Draft Lottery with a fresh presentation that adds suspense to each pick that Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum reveals. We have a reporter on-hand to give you analysis of each team as every pick is revealed. It’s a simple, yet elegant execution that will keep you on the edge of your seat as you cross your fingers in hopes that the ping pong balls bounce your way.
Internally, we refer to this time period as the Staff Carousel. Why is that? We’ve completely overhauled how Staff Hiring works. The end result is a feature that is endlessly more compelling than what we offered previously. It is no longer a ‘fill open slots and press start to advance’ type of experience.
This time period now lasts 7 days, and features a full promotion system. You now have the ability to hire staff away from other teams, or promote from within your own. If you think Nate McMillian is doing a solid job as the assistant coach for the Indiana Pacers, you can approach the Pacers and ask for permission to speak to him, to see if he wants to take a promotion and become your head coach. Not all coaches have the same ambition. Some are content with their careers as an assistant. Others dream of one day becoming a head coach and will jump ship at the first offer for such a position. Be careful, this totally works against you too! Other teams will come to you asking for permission to speak to members of your staff. If you decline the option for teams to speak to a member of your staff, that staff member may become frustrated with you and your organization and pine for a move on his own. This isn’t always true, and really, it comes down to the motivation and drive of each individual person. On the other hand, declining the approach is a surefire way to make sure your top talent doesn’t get poached. It’s a delicate game, and one that should be played with caution.
Getting back to the progression, over the course of a franchise, you will likely see a Head Scout eventually become an Assistant Coach. If he performs well enough and develops his skills properly, he might one day become a Head Coach. If he has the business acumen, you may even one day see him as an Assistant GM or GM of another team. You will see fired Head Coaches try and get back into the game by latching on as an Assistant Coach elsewhere in the league. This ebb and flow is how this feature, at least internally, came to be known as the Staff Carousel.
In my most recent MyGM, Ray Allen was picked up by a team as an Assistant Coach. After a couple years, the Hornets took a shot and hired him as their head coach. Fast forward a good many number of years, and I was negotiating a trade with the Celtics, and low and behold, good ole Ray Ray was the GM I was haggling with on the other side. It’s rooted in a reality, and it’s a really cool thing to see in action. Quite an upgrade year-over-year to say the least.
I’ve always liked our draft presentation. Even today, I think it is head and shoulders better than offerings in any other sports game out there. But, for me, it was getting a little long in the tooth. With the offseason being such a huge focus for us this year, I wanted to make sure the showpiece was fresh. We’re no longer in Madison Square Garden itself, but nonetheless, we are still offering a full presentation helmed by none other than the Commissioner, Adam Silver.
Join Adam Silver as he makes all the calls during the all new offseason NBA Draft.
One of the things I didn’t like about our previous draft was how difficult it was to skip through picks and/or get to your next pick quicker. We’ve addressed this complaint of mine with our new design. On the presentation side of things, the first three picks in the draft receive a robust unveiling complete with full vitals, college stats, tweet reactions from the fans of the drafting team, and so on. It’s a draft. It’s fun. I think you will all like it.
Here’s another feature that has been on the table for a solid five years that we have wanted to do. In 2K16, it’s a reality. There are actually two Summer Leagues in the game this year: 1) The Samsung NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, and 2) The 2K Summer League. Your team will get an invite to one of the summer leagues each offseason.
The setup of the Summer League in Las Vegas completely mirrors the real-life setup of the actual event. This is a tremendous chance for you to play with your newly drafted rookies, with and against the best of the undrafted rookies from the previous draft, and with the younger non-rookie players on your roster.
For the first time in NBA 2K, you can now participate in Summer League basketball with your favorite team(s).
A quick anecdote from an experience I had a couple weeks back while playing through the summer league with my beloved Clippers. We had a game against the 76ers that we were doing quite well in, up 10 midway through the second quarter. The 76ers decide to make some substitutions and bring in a new big. I about jumped out of my seat when I saw Greg Oden stroll onto the court. He was trying to make a comeback, and the 76ers were willing to give him that shot. It was a completely unexpected moment, and I loved it. Spoiler, he ended up not making the roster. He wouldn’t have played anyhow in that frontcourt. That’s life.
2K Hoops Summit
This is a small thing we chose to add, but we’ve found it to be a very fun way to conclude the offseason. This a single game you are able to play with the best players in next year’s draft class. The USA team is comprised of the best domestically born prospects, while the World team is comprised of the best international prospects. It’s your first look (on the sticks) at what the next draft class has to offer, which may be key in you deciding if moving up in the draft will be worth your time. Can you spot the next LeBron? If so, you may want to start working the wire for some high potential lotto picks…
A franchise mode is only as good as its core. The core of NBA 2K’s franchise mode are the logic systems. I’m talking trading logic, signing logic, the simulator, progression/regression, and Team Building. We continue to make strides in all of these areas each and every year. This year I wanted to take a different approach to our annual logic improvements. Dave Z, Tim, Leftos, and I huddled pretty much all year long to discuss how we were going to make Team Building our focus, and how it would affect the other logic sub-systems.
With Tim doing the heavy lifting, we put together a plan that would truly set our logic apart from any other simulation on the market. As succinctly as I can, I’ll try and break down our approach:
- Give teams the ability to be forward thinking. Historically, teams have lived in the ‘now’. They now live in both the ‘now’ as well as the ‘future’. More so than ever, teams are incredibly aware of the state of their roster. They can properly assess when it is time to leverage their assets (draft picks, young prospects) into bonafide stars if that is what they need to elevate their current roster to contender status. They can better assess when it is time to start a full rebuild. They have a true awareness to the quality of the upcoming draft, meaning, if the class is weak, they won’t value lotto picks nearly as much as if the class is strong and/or if it has a generational player sitting at the top of it.
To present ‘Team State’ for every team to the user. We want you to better understand the moves that teams are making. Without context, it can be difficult to follow along with why teams make the decisions they do. To solve that, we now have a new screen in the game called ‘Team Intel’:
- This screen allows you to trigger through each team and learn about what they are up to. You can quickly view if a team thinks it is Rebuilding, Selling, Contending, or Buying.
- You will get a one-line statement from your Assistant GM that summarizes, in a nutshell, what kind of moves (if any) he thinks the team is willing to make.
- You will be able to quickly view which players a team currently has on their Trading Block.
- It will offer you insight into any players the team may currently be targeting (CPU teams maintain constantly evolving Target Lists), whether that be through a trade right now, or through free agency in upcoming offseasons. The key take-away from the second half of the last sentence is this. Teams now think. They plan. They strategize. And we’ve programmed them to be pretty efficient at what they do. They have a plan and they don’t want your junk. They keep their eyes on the prize. If LeBron is going to hit the market in the offseason, a number of teams who think they can reasonably land him will work very hard to ensure they have the cap space to make him the max offer needed to reign him in. This type of logic never happened in previous NBA 2Ks.
- You can look at a list of players the team currently views as ‘Untouchable’ on their roster. When you see this, don’t even bother offering for those players. They either aren’t moving them, or they will make you pay dearly to acquire them. Their Team Building logic values them intensely.
- You can also quickly view the expiring contracts on a given team. This can be extremely handy when you yourself are looking to create cap space in the upcoming season. We’ve made it easier for you to target these players.
To use this new system to outwardly drive signing and trading logic. Historically in our franchise modes, when you are making a trade with the CPU, they would look at the value of the players coming in, versus the value of the players going out, and make a decision based on that. They loosely had context on what types of trades they should make based on whether they were trying to win or trying to rebuild or what have you. It was solid for its time, but it looks and feels primitive in comparison to what we are trying to do now.
In NBA 2K16, teams do a much better job of looking at their roster post-trade when deciding if they should bite on a trade offer. Previously, a trade offering good value would be jumped on. This year, even if the trade offers them REALLY good value, they may pass solely because, for example, the trade may leave them without a true starting point guard when they think they are good enough to make a deep run in the playoffs. This inherently makes it more difficult to perform trades in MyGM and MyLEAGUE this year. Fortunately for you, opposing GMs will now tell you exactly why they are not interested in your trade offers. It may be that they feel like they would be too thin at a position post-trade, or maybe they just don’t feel like the age of the player you are trading them meshes with their current roster. It could be any number of reasons. The take-home point here is that we tell you why they are making the decisions they are making. Listen to what they are saying. Try not to get frustrated; it’s not as easy as it used to be. More than ever, you will have to give to get. Personally, I’m LOVING the challenge.
Opposing GMs in NBA 2K16 do a really good job in providing you with feedback on why they don’t like your offers.
- Teams value players VERY differently. Let’s take Joe Johnson’s 2015-16 contract as an example. To the right team, Joe Johnson can be an INCREDIBLY value trade piece. He has a massive $25M expiring contract. On a scale of 5-stars, the right team may value him as a 4-star player, solely based on the fact that he can clear a ton of cap in the offseason, thus giving them a chance to make max offers to the big name players of the upcoming free agent class. On the other hand, some teams won’t value him nearly as high. These teams are trying to win, and while Joe Johnson still shows a respectable amount of skill, the teams realize that what they have to give up, player-wise, to match his $25M salary does not make sense for their winning ambitions. We do a good job this year of showing how opposing teams value each player on your roster. It’s pretty cool to trigger through the teams and see the star-values change.
- In NBA 2K16, teams do a much better job of looking at their roster post-trade when deciding if they should bite on a trade offer. Previously, a trade offering good value would be jumped on. This year, even if the trade offers them REALLY good value, they may pass solely because, for example, the trade may leave them without a true starting point guard when they think they are good enough to make a deep run in the playoffs. This inherently makes it more difficult to perform trades in MyGM and MyLEAGUE this year. Fortunately for you, opposing GMs will now tell you exactly why they are not interested in your trade offers. It may be that they feel like they would be too thin at a position post-trade, or maybe they just don’t feel like the age of the player you are trading them meshes with their current roster. It could be any number of reasons. The take-home point here is that we tell you why they are making the decisions they are making. Listen to what they are saying. Try not to get frustrated; it’s not as easy as it used to be. More than ever, you will have to give to get. Personally, I’m LOVING the challenge.
Team Building logic in a franchise mode is a fickle thing. It’s liquid. It’s always on the move, and it’s certainly never done. There isn’t a right answer, but there is certainly a wrong answer. One thing we have faltered on historically is providing you with an understanding of the decisions that CPU teams make. In NBA 2K16, I feel like we do a thorough job of explaining the new Team Building logic, via feedback to you, the user. I’m not going to lie, the game plays pretty differently than it ever has. This was a big year for the brains of the mode. I can’t wait to hear everyone’s feedback so we can continue improving it. We’re never going to stop improving it.
The most compelling aspect of a franchise mode, to me, is the storytelling. Sports are full of drama. You have star players getting hurt that change the landscape of a league. You have players demanding trades and/or getting traded. You have general league news. You have game results. You have upcoming key games. I don’t think we have ever done a tremendous job of presenting this type of information in a medium that is easy for you to consume. Enter the Ticker.
The Ticker is exactly what it sounds like. Let me start off by saying that you aren’t going to appreciate this feature until you have the game in your hands and have spent some time with it. We have carved out a space on every single screen in the modes, where we will present you with a continuously scrolling ticker containing the latest news from around the league. You’ll certainly see last night’s scores and who the leading scorers were for each team. You’ll see tonight’s matchups. You’ll see the latest news headlines. Later in the season, you’ll start to see all-star weekend content, and eventually draft previews and big boards. If you are IN THE DRAFT, you will see real-time updates of the pick order and who each team has picked.
This thing is everywhere, and it is contextually updated to show you want you want to read when you want to read it. We even have an options screen where you can completely customize your ticker experience so it will always show exactly what you want. I encourage you to look back on this feature after you have been playing the game for a while and tell me how you ever lived without it.
In NBA 2K15, we introduced a new way to simulate games, SimCast. The reception for this feature was, frankly, overwhelming. We’ve listened to all of your feedback on the subject and have crafted yet another way for you to consume games in NBA 2K16.
SimCast Live, in a nutshell, is the hybrid version of simulating a game and playing it. It’s a coach mode for the armchair quarterback. In a true game cast fashion, you will watch representational ‘chips’ of the players move around the court in real-time. You won’t be controlling player movement, but instead, you’ll be pulling ALL of the strings. You’ll be calling plays on both ends of the court. You’ll be making substitutions as needed. You’ll be making POE and strategy changes as needed. In order to get through games quicker, you will be able to adjust the speed of the simulation on-the-fly from real-time speed all the way to up to 6x the normal speed.
It’s a very fun, and very unique way to simulate a game without actually playing it. Now, that being said, if you DO get the itch to jump on the sticks, you can freely switch between playing the game and coaching via SImCast Live with literally zero load time. I’m talking instantaneous switches. It’s pretty nifty.
And for those of you who loved the SimCast experience. Don’t worry, it didn’t go anywhere! In fact, it is also better than ever. You can now jump in AND out of games in SimCast this year. Heck, you can even start a game in SimCast, decide to jump in and play, switch it over to SimCast Live, then decide to finish the game on the sticks, only to later change your mind when you want to jump out and finish the game in SimCast. Total, unequivocal, full control in NBA 2K16 my friends. You can literally play/sim/coach/watch a game any way you can imagine. No other sports game offers experiences as robust as this.
The Little Things
This is a section I like to do each year where I highlight some of the other features we have done that don’t necessarily fit in the above big-bullet items. Let’s get to it:
- 3-Team Trades. They are back! Tweet pictures to Ronnie, I want to see the best 3-Team Trades you can pull off!
- Autosave OFF – In MyLEAGUE, you will now have the ability to disable the Autosave feature. Additionally, you will be able to ‘Save As’ copies of your MyLEAGUE, thus creating multiple instances of it. I hear you…and here you are!
- Multiple Injuries – Since the beginning of recorded video game time, a player could only have one injury at a time. In NBA 2K16, you can now have up to two simultaneous injuries per player.
- More MyLEAGUE Customization Sliders – In our continued efforts to make this the most customizable franchise mode in sports, we have added some new sliders to help you out. These include an adjustable Salary Cap Value, Salary Cap Inflation Rate, Injury Severity, Injury Duration, Player Regression Rate, and more.
- MyLEAGUE Automation – For those users who like to control multiple (or all 30!) teams, but don’t want to perform all of the actions of running that team, we now have a new screen where you can completely customize your level of control with a given team.
- Player Lock – Under the Options menu in both MyGM and MyLEAGUE, there is a hidden gem of an option called ‘Position Settings’. In this menu, you can choose to play your franchise either player locked to your favorite player or locked to a given position. Definitely a unique way to play the modes that people will uncover as they explore everything we have to offer.
- MyLEAGUE Setup Slider Sharing – Let’s be honest, MyLEAGUE has a LOT of customization sliders at this point. We now allow you to save your custom slider set so you don’t have to tweak them all every time you want to start a new MyLEAGUE. Additionally, these slider sets can be uploaded and shared for others to use.
- Gameplay Slider Sharing – Additionally, you can now also save, load, and share your User/CPU sliders for others to download and use. Obtaining the perfect 2K experience customized to your liking has never been easier or quicker.
- Training Slider Sharing – We like to create work for ourselves, for your benefit. You can ALSO save, load, and share your Team Training sliders in both MyGM and MyLEAGUE. Finding the PERFECT set of sliders is something that can take a lot of time. Now, you can quickly switch between different sets of sliders depending on how you want your team to focus. Do you have the perfect set of Training sliders? Upload and share them with the rest of the community.
- Long-Term Owner Goals (MyGM) – Your owner will now give you goals that extend beyond just the current season. Some of these can feel a little tough (depending on the personality of the owner and how demanding he is), but remember, you have a few seasons to pull them off. Be calm, keep your eye on the prize, and don’t lose track of the target.
- Customizable Progression/Regression – Every player in the league now has a unique editable entry called ‘Peak Start’ and ‘Peak End’. ‘Peak Start’ is the age at which players have developed as much as they can, and will not see additional ratings increases outside of training. ‘Peak End’ is the age at which players will start their inevitable ratings decline. This is all in your control now!
- NEW STATS – LOTS of new Player and Team stats that will give you more insight on your players than ever before. My personal favorite addition here is the ability to see Opponent FGA/M and FG% PER PLAYER. Finding the best defensive stoppers in the league has never been easier.
- All-New Landing Menu/Calendar – We’ve completely re-designed the landing menu for the modes to incorporate your team calendar, the latest social media news, your personal target list of players you want to acquire, your team’s trade block (CPU teams will inquire about the players you put up here), and your untouchable list (CPU will NOT inquire about the players you put up here). It’s a design that had a lot of thought put into it with respect to usability.
- The 2016 NBA Offseason – We’ve all read stories about how the salary cap is going to jump next offseason, and create a whole new free agent market. How will it play out? Find out right here in NBA 2K16!
To everyone who made it this far, thanks for following along and allowing me the opportunity to tell you about all the great things the team here have been working on in both MyGM and MyLEAGUE.
More than any other experience within NBA 2K16, these two modes are driven by you, the fans. Dave Z and I take these ideas and craft them all together to form a cohesive feature set that delivers on our vision of a compelling narrative and outright authenticity. For us, this isn’t work, it’s a labor of love. And more than anything, I genuinely hope that shines through…
To my franchisers out there, I salute you.