The MyCareer mode of NBA 2K23 will not waste any time in getting to the meat of the matter. You then sign with the NBA team of your choice after being selected in the draft, and from that point on, your professional career gets underway. There is no college preamble to NBA 2K23, nor is there an up-from-nothing story that reaches back to high school. This is as if both sports series this year are answering longtime complaints about having to play games at a tutorial level in order to get drafted by the same terrible team.
The similarities, however, stop right there at that point. Last week, during a preview discussion with members of the gaming media, executive producer Erick Boenisch could hardly contain his laughter as he described the backstory for this year’s game, which is as follows: “Everyone hates you.”
“Everyone in The City,” the shared hub world between MyCareer and the other game modes, as well as all of the pundits, wanted your team to draft this player named Shep. Shep Owens,” Boenisch said, adding yet another name to the pantheon of antagonistic non-player characters in MyCareer.”So immediately after you get on stage, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has to shake your hand, and the whole crowd begins to boo you. They have a negative first impression of you right away.
Boenisch continued, “They wanted Shep; Shep is the college star, he’s the flashy guy, he’s the athletic guy, and he’s the charismatic guy.” Shep is described as “the flashy guy,” “the athletic guy,” and “the charismatic guy.” And you’ll find that as soon as you go out into The City, the people of The City wanted Shep, too,” the narrator says in the second paragraph. There will be murals of Shep painted on the walls of the buildings in The City, and people will also be wearing clothing labels designed by Shep. According to Boenisch, the most important aspect of the storyline for this year is conquering the challenge of how The City’s residents respond to you and gaining their support. “So,” he said. “the narrative this year is focused on that.”
I have to say that I kind of like this angle, and the writers and producers at Visual Concepts have earned my trust that they can pull it off. I have to admit that I kind of like it. The career mode in NBA 2K has, by a wide margin, the most impressive script and voice acting of any of the sports video games available for consoles. It has taken risks, such as in NBA 2K19 when it sent a career-ending player from China to the G-League in an attempt to resurrect his career (in the process, it alienated the real-life city of Fort Wayne, Indiana). The developers of NBA 2K20 decided against obtaining collegiate licensing because they wanted to tell the story of a college player who quits his program out of principle after a friend suffers an injury that costs him his scholarship.
Even though the story arc of NBA 2K22 was more traditional, the game still gave me the opportunity to pick a social media fight with the team that drafted me, record a diss track calling out The Game, and get yelled at on television almost every week by Kendrick Perkins’s enraged grandfather. Consequently, in light of this setup, I anticipate that NBA 2K23’s MyCareer mode will consist of equal parts tongue-in-cheek humor in the vein of Better Off Dead and the motivation to prove them all wrong.
According to Boenisch, players will have a number of main and side-quest channels to choose from in order to convince skeptics. It should come as no surprise that performing well during your time in the NBA is of the utmost importance. However, the side hustles that players experimented with in NBA 2K22 will also be available in NBA 2K23. These include ventures into fashion design, music promotion, and mt 2k23. (Boenisch guaranteed that the fashion mogul angle would be “much improved from last year,” for those who were rolling their eyes in anticipation.)
Boenisch told them, “There’s a new business section you can focus on; you can do all of them, or you can do none of them,” and they were given the option. But ultimately, they lead up to a conclusion in the park that is owned by The City, where all of the people that your player meets along the way gather together, either to take part in a street ball tournament or to cheer from the sidelines. This is similar to the City Slam missions and storyline from the previous year, in which the player competes in an audition for one of The City’s four factional teams by completing a set of five challenges designed specifically for that team.
“This is without a doubt our biggest MyCareer story that we’ve ever done in the past; it’s insanely large,” Boenisch promised. “It’s insanely large.”For what seemed like six months, we changed the actor that was performing the mo-cap work every single day. It defies all logic. J. Cole, a hip-hop singer, songwriter, and producer, as well as his Dreamville Records label, made cameo appearances this year as part of the celebrity cameos. In addition, Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett and seven-time All-Star Tracy McGrady appear in the video to act as a mentor for the player and provide insight into the various career options that are available to the player. The player-hating ball created by Kendrick Perkins is back, this time with ESPN analyst J. J. Redick and cover athlete Devin Booker serving as commentators.
Boenisch’s call with reporters and influencers was primarily intended to reassure fans that Visual Concepts did not put the mode that receives the most player engagement on the back burner despite the tremendous amount of nostalgia and hype surrounding the return of The Jordan Challenge and the first ever historical franchise mode, MyNBA Eras.
According to Boenisch, “This is where our crowd goes; MyCareer is played there.”MyCareer is the game that everyone plays in the end, even though some people branch out to MyNBA, which is the franchise mode, and others branch out to NBA 2k mt, which is the ultimate team mode. And we’ve put the right amount of resources into it.”