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 10th and PlayStation 5 on the 12th.

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 is a breakdown of some of the key features we can expect to see on PS5 and Xbox 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 they will able to control all releases made 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 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 offensively gifted player 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 in close.

Off-dribble jumpers

Next-gen has added off-dribble jumper abilities along with signature packages resembling some of the best players (LeBron, Luka) 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 on next-gen. This feature allows players the ability to control the speed of their size-up moves, based on the speed of how fast they flick the Pro Stick.

In many ways, this feature enriches the new 2K experience, making gameplay a lot more realistic as players have to 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 full details of all the new features discussed in Wang’s first gameplay report, click here.

New features with much-improved movement

In Wang’s second gameplay report he discusses the benefits his team saw operating with the new technology of the next-gen consoles, helping them 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 and fixed sliding from the previous generation.
  • Updated player-size detection logic and greater emphasis on player differentiation. 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 game, which allows 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.

To see full details of all the new features discussed in Wang’s second gameplay report, click the link right here.

New MyPlayer system and badges

Perhaps one of the most exciting new features in next-gen comes in the new MyPlayer builder in the MyCareer system. Wang went in-depth in courtside report number three 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 will have no pie charts
  • Players are given full control of how they want to cap each individual rating. This means they will have full control of building the exact player they want to build.

New 2K21 badges

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

  1. Sniper – Boosts the ability to hit shots when using Pro Stick aiming
  2. Stop & Pop Three – For the JJ Redick’s 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 in the current-gen 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 up a tie
  • 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.

To see full details of all the new MyPlayer features and badges discussed in Wang’s third report, click the link right here

How to get NBA 2K21 on next-gen and upgrade details

Finally, here are some relevant details as to how existing 2K players can upgrade to next-gen.

  • PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X|S required to play the next-generation version of NBA 2K21.
  • The PlayStation 5 console will be available on November 12 in the US, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea, and November 19 in all other regions.
  • Players who picked up the Mamba Forever Edition on current-gen will be provided a copy of the standard edition of NBA 2K21 on the next generation, within the same console family (check purchase details with your seller).

Other Notes from NBA 2K21 FAQ page regarding next gen:

  • When you purchase NBA 2K21 Mamba Forever Edition for PlayStation 4 or Xbox One digitally, a digital copy of the next-gen version of NBA 2K21 will be added to the same PlayStation or Xbox account. It will be playable once NBA 2K21 has launched on the respective next-gen console later this year.
  • When you purchase NBA 2K21 Mamba Forever Edition for PlayStation 4 or Xbox One physically, your next-gen copy of NBA 2K21 will be bundled in a code included in the box that contains all of the additional content from the Mamba Forever Edition. Once you redeem the content, a digital copy of the game will be added to the same PlayStation or Xbox account. It will be playable once NBA 2K21 has launched on the respective next-gen console later this year.
  • When purchasing the current-gen NBA 2K21 Mamba Forever Edition, you’ll receive 100,000 VC once you launch the game. When you receive and launch your next-gen copy of NBA 2K21, you’ll get an additional 100,000 VC. If you do not launch NBA 2K21 on next-gen, you won’t receive the additional 100,000 VC.
  • NBA 2K21 will feature MyTEAM Cross-Progression and a Shared VC Wallet within the same console family (PS4 to PS5, Xbox One to Xbox Series X). MyTEAM Cross-Progression enables all MyTEAM Points, Tokens, cards and progress to be shared on both current and next-generation versions of NBA 2K21 in the same console family; similarly, the Shared VC Wallet means any earned or purchased VC is accessible across both current and next-generation versions of NBA 2K21 in the same console family.

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C.P Ching

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