Seeing a sports title on the list of next-gen release games is going to get overlooked by many people; people who aren’t into sports, people who want to play the more popular titles, and of course, the people who have already purchased the titles on current-gen consoles.

NBA 2K21 definitely hasn’t been on my radar this year. Sports, in general, have been off my radar this year for one reason or another, however, the news today from 2K themselves has for sure brought this game back into my mind, especially for the next-generation of consoles.

This ‘hood ain’t big enough…

The hub-world within NBA 2K21 – ‘The Neighborhood’ – is getting a sizable upgrade, transforming into ‘The City’ in the Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5 version of the game. Hub-worlds have been a part of the franchise since the release of NBA 2k14 which had ‘The Park’, a place to show off and compete against other players online with their customisable MyPLAYERS outside of the regular NBA experience.

The Neighborhood was introduced in NBA 2k18 where players could run around a – well – small neighbourhood, interacting with other players online with unlockable emotes and even funny walks, all while trying to get your customisable player to rank 99 in the MyCAREER mode. Your player could go the gym to rank up, play basketball with others in the streets, or head to the shops to buy some new shoes or clothes, get haircuts, and get some new ink.

The City is an even bigger step up for interacting with other players online. As you start, you’ll be stuck in ‘Rookieville’ until you can shed your ‘rookie’ status against other online players. After unlocking The City, you can explore Boroughs, which are broken up into the North, South, East, and West sections of the world. Each area is decked out with their own unique basketball courts, colours, decorations, and Affiliations.

You can play games like HORSE, 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, and heaps more against other players online. If you’re shooting hoops alone, fellow players can join you and start a competition is they’d like. The training facility has also gotten an upgrade, now being two floors of gym and basketball-training equipment to get your player up to scratch. Skateboards (SKATEBOARDS?!) and BMX bikes make a comeback with shops to customise your ride, and as usual, you’ll be able to customise your player’s look with many brand name apparel stores, hairstyles, tattoos, and accessories.

Which side are you on?

Now, the Affiliations are going to be important. As mentioned above, you can choose from four: North Side Knights, South City Vipers, Beasts of the East, and the Western Wildcats. These Affiliations will become your family. Think of them like the Hogwarts Houses (just without all the controversy). Being a part of these Affiliations will gain you access to all your special area such as the courts, and overall, only one Affiliation will rule The City.

There’ll be Rival Day Conquest and Championships where you raid each other’s Affiliations and battle each other on the courts. Each Affiliation will be run by an elected Mayor who will have various responsibilities to uphold. They’ll be in charge of creating Affiliation videos that’ll be played on nearby Jumbotrons to rally their people together, custom playlists will be able to be created and played throughout their designated area, and they’ll be able to design the courts, murals, and select the uniform you and your fellow Affiliates will be wearing throughout competitions.

Initially, the Mayors have been hand-picked by 2K and are well-known within the NBA 2K community, however, a new Mayor for each Affiliation will be elected every six weeks!

Listen… HOW COOL DOES ALL THIS SOUND?! I may not be the best player when it comes to these sports titles, but they’ve really upped their games for these next-gen versions. The City sounds like a killer idea, as long as the right Mayors are elected, and the entire hub-world experience really gets you feeling connected to your created player.

Immortalising Mamba

In The City, you’ll also be able to find a special court celebrating and commemorating the late 5-time NBA Champion, Kobe Bryant. Decorated with his signature snakeskin design, the court is overlooked by a giant mural of the player, along with a statue nearby immortalising him doing his iconic pose. And if you didn’t know already, there’s the NBA 2K21 Mamba Forever Edition of the game, which includes a bunch of goodies, including the Kobe Digital Collection with customisable options like pairs of his signature shoes, jerseys, and more.

NBA 2K21 is already out on current-gen consoles, PC, and Nintendo Switch, but you can find ‘The City’ only on the Xbox Series X/S on November 10th, and PlayStation 5 on November 12th.

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