NBA 2K21: Next-Gen Gameplay, Features, New Badges, Upgrade Details, and More

Everything you need to know about NBA 2K21 on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S, including gameplay, features, new player builder, badges and more.

NBA 2K21 is set to release on next-generation consoles next month, becoming available on Xbox Series X|S on November 10 and PlayStation 5 two days later.

As many expect, there will be plenty of new exciting features and mechanics on the next-gen version of 2K21, encouraging many avid ballers to grab themselves a new console. Over the course of the past several weeks, NBA 2K gameplay director Mike Wang released a series of detailed reports discussing various aspects of 2K21 on next-gen.

With so many exciting new features and details announced, it’s safe to say that Wang and his team utilized the incredible power of the new consoles to provide the best 2K experience yet. 

Here’s a breakdown of some of the key features that we can expect to see on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S in November. 

Upgraded mechanics for shooting, dribbling, and passing

As mentioned in Wang’s first courtside report, there will be several gameplay and mechanic upgrades added to the offensive features of the game, particularly with shooting, dribbling, and passing.

Perhaps one of the biggest gameplay differences from the current-gen involves upgraded Pro Stick controls, giving players more diverse ways to score on offense.

Shot arc control widens skill gap


One new change in store for you will be the ability to control the arc of a player’s jump shot.

The improved stick speed mechanics give players the ability to precisely control how they shoot. This means that they will able to control all releases down to the precision of their shot arc and release point.

This feature not only widens the skill gap between casual and pro players, but it also gives others better feedback on their shooting skills in-game. Spending more time in the gym may reward and separate elite shooters from average ones.

New next-gen shooting, dribbling, passing features

Bank shot control

Bank shot control is another advanced feature that offensively gifted players will get to utilize. This new feature gives players the ability to control bank shots from afar or take advantage of the backboard to score easy layups from in close.

Off-dribble jumpers

Next-gen has added off-dribble jumper abilities along with signature packages resembling some of the best players (LeBron James, Luka Dončić) in the game today. These new shot packages add a whole new dimension to the game and can be used as a diversifier for players that want to shoot off the dribble like their favorite NBA stars.


Size-up speed control

Size-up speed control is another exciting new addition for the next-gen version. This feature grants players the ability to control the speed of their size-up moves based on the speed of how quickly they can flick the Pro Stick.

In many ways, this feature enriches the new 2K experience, making gameplay a lot more realistic as players have the ability to change pace and keep opposing defenders guessing on offence.


Many new passing improvements will be seen in the game, including exciting new plays like bounce alley-oop passes, alley-passes off the glass, and bounce touch passes to open teammates. These are features that have never been seen in 2K basketball before.

To see the full details of all the new features, see Wang’s first gameplay report at NBA 2K.

New features with much-improved movement

In Wang’s second gameplay report, found at NBA 2K, he discusses the benefits that his team saw operating with the new technology of the next-gen consoles, helping them to give the overall game much more impressive on-court locomotion.

Noticeable upgrades that will be seen include:

  • Improved pathing, cuts, and stops – making defenders feel more grounded, fixing sliding from the previous generation.
  • Updated player-size detection logic and greater emphasis on player differentiation. For example, Bigs move like bigs and guards move like guards.
  • Unique contextual motion assets for various basketball situations (Transition Stops, Leak Out, Guard Break, Anchor, Space Perimeter) bring awareness to the look of the players on the floor and give them more life.

New in-air contact makes more exciting plays

A new in-air contact shot system is included in the next-gen game, which allows for more reliable contact action and results when players are in flight. For example, in-paint defenders can better dictate their player’s position and control what happens based on the type of animation triggers at the point of contact.

Additionally, this new in-air contact system will let players execute contact alley-oop and putback dunk plays for the first time in 2K.

Adaptive triggers to enhance gameplay

The PS5 console features new adaptive triggers and haptic feedback, allowing 2K to implement triggers that convey energy and fatigue during gameplay. As players lose energy, they will feel the effect with more resistance on the sprint trigger.

Other cool features include adaptive resistance in the post-game, where stronger players will feel less resistance when backing down weaker opponents.

The haptic feedbacks also allow players to feel various degrees of intensity on impact from basketball plays such as box-outs, off-ball collisions, and bumps.

New MyPlayer system and badges

Perhaps one of the most exciting new features in next-gen comes with the new MyPlayer builder in the MyCareer system. Wang went in-depth in courtside report number three at NBA 2K to discuss new features.

New MyPlayer builder

Significant changes are coming in the form of a new MyCareer player builder. Key points include:

  • Next-gen player builder customization won’t have pie charts;
  • Players are given full control of how they want to cap each individual rating. This means that they will have full control of building the exact player they want to build.

New 2K21 badges

The next-gen version of 2K21 will also include these new badges:

  1. Sniper: Boosts the ability to hit shots when using Pro Stick aiming;
  2. Stop & Pop Three: For the JJ Redicks who want to pull up for threes in transition;
  3. Blinders: Less affected by peripheral defenders when shooting jumpers.

New Takeover system

  • The eight general archetype-based takeovers of the initial game is expanded to 24.
  • Takeover tiers will be broken down into a multi-tier system where players have to ability to choose a primary, a secondary, or double up on one. Essentially, this increases the diversity of builds and takeover possibilities for all players in the park.

New Takeover abilities

  • Team Badge Boost: Boosts your teammates’ badges.
  • Extreme Clamps: More stone wall and lost dribble body-up resolutions for locks.
  • See the Future: Shows where missed shots are going to end up.
  • Post Shot Daggers: Increased scoring ability with hooks, fades, shimmy shots, etc.

There’s a lot to look forward to in the upcoming NBA 2K21 next-gen editions, so at least the team isn’t merely porting the core game and charging players again for the game.

C.P Ching

An avid sports gamer with an open appetite to give any game on the market a shot.
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