Last year at E3, I found out about the new arena-arrival cuts before the game. This year, the new pre-tipoff eye candy comes in the form of dynamic introductions. These are stylized videos with custom music showing off the marquee players of the matchup. It's basically what you see in real NBA broadcasts that tease the upcoming game.
According to producer Erick Boenisch, no two dynamic introduction videos will be the same as each clip shows off your favorite players performing different signature gestures they are known for doing before or during games. Think LeBron James' pregame toss or a Dirk Nowitzki fist pump after he sinks that high-arcing jumper. There's a new presentation package for playoff games with new starting lineup overlays and home crowds donning uniform colors throughout the arena. In addition, there was a "pop-up" promo involving players at the bottom left of the screen used to promote upcoming games. In terms of graphics, much is still unfinished says Erick, but there's an emphasis on re-lighting faces this year. Player faces and facial emotions are much more recognizable even while the ball is in play because of this lighting tweak.
Speaking of gameplay, a minimal amount was shown and even less was spoken about. However, it is clear more contextual moves will be added in NBA 2K12. Most of the shots taken in our Mavericks vs. Heat demo all seemed to be influenced by player momentum and the location of the ball before the shot animation began. I also noticed a push-ahead dribble by LeBron on a vicious drive to the bucket. That is a welcome sight for both 2K gamers and Heat fans. He couldn't go into detail, but gameplay producer Rob Jones acknowledged more dribbling upgrades are definitely coming in NBA 2K12. He added there would also be an improvement in how the AI uses specific players, making sure all the control and moves given to users are a part of the AI's arsenal as well.
Lastly, I spent a good amount of time trying to find clues about the NBA 2K12 cover athlete, but none was in sight. Community manager Ronnie 2K said they've come up with some crazy ideas so far, but nothing is decided yet. When asked if new play-by-play analyst Steve Kerr was maybe being considered, he vehemently shut that down saying, "Not a chance, and you can quote me on that." Bummer.
That's all for now from NBA 2K12 at E3. Do you guys like what you hear so far?