NBA 2K23 Guide: Gameplay Report

Hello, fellow 2K players! It's that time of year again, and we'll reveal all the exciting game enhancements and new features coming to NBA 2K23! In the first year of development on a new host, there are many new challenges, such as major code rewriting, new technical barriers, rebuilding the system, etc. The gameplay team's goal is to create something that is not a thing of the past: a great gaming experience in NBA 2K23!

The Gameplay Team has a lot of ambitious goals this year: fast-paced gameplay, more intense and responsive movement, and more technical offense. As well as a complete overhaul of player modeling. These will be covered in this article. We've worked hard to ensure that gameplay upgrades are of the same quality for this and next-gen releases. So no matter which version you choose, you will get a completely new gaming experience. But we want to start by talking about one of the main focuses of the development team, which is the defense system. So let's get started.


The main goal of defense is to provide players with tools that can change the game on the ground and at the rim. If you're a perimeter defender with a good sense of anticipation, we want you to be able to guard the dribble and force the ball out. And if you're a rim protector, we also want you to be able to defend your opponent's rush as you please. Our development engineers worked together to achieve these goals and are very pleased with the results!

The shot jamming and block-blocking system have been completely rebuilt, enabling several new shot-blocking styles and super-hot pots. The recreated jamming shot solves the "ghost scramble" problem that everyone criticizes. In this game, if you are out of position or your hands are far away from the opponent, the attacker will be able to score easily. On the other hand, pitchers who are good at shooting in scrambles can make more shots, as they should be. This also sets the stage for the lucrative rewards for basketball IQ in the shooting system.

For ground defenders, the importance of physical confrontation has been greatly increased, and the action team has greatly improved the realism of defensive movements with the ball. Unconscionable "collision steals," and weird physical confrontations have been resolved, giving the ball handler and ball defender more freedom of movement and accurate input. Displacement, start, emergency stop, and cut-in are all more compact. After adding more next-generation footstep improvements, the footsteps on both ends of the offense and defense will be greatly alleviated.

Steals have also been upgraded, with an emphasis on stealing attributes. Low-rated stealers are slower and can't get the upper hand on the shot, while high-rated steals (with good timing) have a much higher chance of finishing steals. When rim rushers try to force their way to the rim in the crowd, high-rated stealers will be able to complete more layup/dunk interceptions.

Great defenses may not be on camera very often in real-world highlights, but NBA 2K23's improvement in this area is where I'm most concerned. Defense makes the battle on the court more balanced and more fun!

Defensive AI

Defense is also a major focus when it comes to next-gen AI. Our resident expert Da Czar and the AI ​​team hope to build a solid foundation for many years. Almost all the major defense systems in the game have been completely rewritten, and many legacy issues have been resolved. The new defensive positioning logic with the ball will ignore the distance between the defender and the rim, making it more stable. Therefore, in various defensive card positions, the body shaking of the defender will be greatly reduced. Combined with athletic improvements, the overall defensive position can be made more compact, which means that players will feel more pressure on the ball than in last year's old games.

The new delay defender logic and behavior allow the catch delay defender to focus on how to respond to the ball handler. In the old game, the main focus of delaying defenders was man-marking, which caused the AI ​​to ignore the ball carrier actively. And that turns into multiple issues. The ball handler will have an open walk, forcing an assist from the strong side, allowing for an easy open jumper after the pick-and-roll. In this game, the delaying defender can focus on the ball and tactfully deal with the two attacking players to defuse more serious threats. The cut-in assist defense in this work is also rebuilt so that the AI ​​assist defender can calculate more intelligently and determine when to assist the cut-in defense. We also added help defense logic to control movement speed in the case of help defense. When the player requests to cut to the help defense in the defensive settings, the AI ​​will no longer let a defender double-team a standing attacking player nine meters away from the basket.

In this year's installment, we've also made an unprecedented major update to the base defensive rotation! After triggering the help defense, we can block first or second-pass lanes with a single or double rotation. Having more opportunities for the ball to reach the catcher is good. We also allowed the AI to predict some tactics, such as cross-running or under-screening. When the AI ​​detects these conditions, the defender with the ball engages in what we call a chase. This helps the AI ​​defender reasonably bypass the screen and put himself in a better position to bypass or avoid the screen for physical contact. This improves the overall fluidity and sense of space on both offense and defense ends. Finally, we've added a brand new Intruder Helper system. This system helps fill the defensive vacuum and assists when a hole through the rim exists. This system locks down the cutter and, if necessary, arranges for rotating defenders to screen for helpers.

Adding these systems to NBA 2K23 marks the biggest enhancement to our defense system in history. Based on this, we will continue to improve our future work.


The offense is never left untouched in any 2K title, and I'm excited to announce NBA 2K23's advancement in this regard! I've spent a lot of time researching the dribble aspect and can say out loud that in this year's production, the playmaker will be able to shine, no doubt! The 1-on-1 Basic Dribble has been removed and replaced by the 1-on-1 Signature Dribble. But what exactly does that mean? In last year's old game, nudge the Expert Joystick in all directions for a normal fancy dribble while holding the joystick for a gorgeous dynamic capture dribble. This year's goal is to graft the two together, giving each player a unique feel and rhythm when doing tricks and giving players full control over how the combined moves connect. KD's hesitant strides, Harden's leg wraps/crotch moves, Steph's insanely quick machine-gun strides, and Luka's unhurried back-and-forth dribbles are now under the player's direct control rather than pre-planning.

Animation set. The speed rocker, added to the next-gen version last year, is also back. So nudge the stick quickly for a quicker dribble, and push the stick slowly for more rhythmic action. There are about 50 unique signature fancy action packs for you to choose from, each with unique qualities. Remember to try them all and find the tricks that best suit your playing rhythm. Plus, you can choose from 32 unique dribbling sequences (what I call signature combos). These quick 3-4 secondary dribble combos can easily be made by holding down the sprint button and nudging up on the expert joystick. Combining signature tricks and combos brings a wealth of versatility, allowing you to dribble and break the way you want.

In this year's work, you can make tons of new combos, cancels, and move combos... The dribble hesitancy and the turn-back step are my personal favorites. But I won't go into that here so as not to turn into a tirade about dribbling. In a nutshell, quickly entering multiple expert stick commands and trying to push the left stick in multiple directions after a dribble can open up a new world of combo moves, even if it breaks the toughest defenders Down!

When it comes to dribbling, you'll notice that the overall tempo is much faster and the control of running around the court is much tighter. All 28 special dribbling styles have been nicely updated, with new additions highlighting the signature styles of specific players. We've also added four new WNBA dribbling styles: SeimoneAugustus, Chelsea Gray, Arike Ogunbowale, and Gabby Williams. Another nice upgrade to dribbling is height compensation. In last year's work, taller players may move faster than shorter players with the same speed and dribbling ratings. This situation has been addressed in NBA 2K23 to ensure that big men do not throw off small players. I mentioned above that the dribble, from the move to the new and combo moves, is exactly the same in the next-gen and current-gen versions! So if you want to play both versions, you don't have to adapt to two different systems like last year.

Back Play

Next up is bonus time for the big guys. The gameplay team is adding new content to the game. This includes moves and post-basket moves. Like frontal ball control, many new actions are canceled and aborted actions. For example, turn the expert stick to start a back basket turn, then immediately push the left stick in the opposite direction to turn again. A new RT/R2 key fake action has also been added, which can keep the body in the back state and make multiple consecutive fake actions without leaving the back state. Players can also take advantage of new off-the-basket moves and maneuvers to avoid steals, new jump shots/fallbacks/hooks, and better bench-escape mechanics. Once you are used to Copymatic's operations, you'll be able to create a lot of good combinations and fakes.



Important shooting mechanics for NBA 2K23. The shooting bar is newly made, and the hit window will dynamically resize. This window will get larger when a good pitcher throws a high-quality pitch, but it will shrink when a low-rated pitcher (or fatigued) throws a high-quality pitch. In this year's work, whether a shot is made or not is mainly determined by shooting IQ. Teams that actively look for space and shoot rationally will have a higher percentage of shots than teams that shoot in a hurry. It sounds like a no-brainer, but it's something we've been particularly focused on this year, as ratings and stick-operating skills more or less overshadow the high-quality shot selection. Shot timing still plays an important role (yes, closing the shot bar for an extra boost), but it doesn't help much if you're in a hurry. We've tested this new shooting mechanic for a long time in groups of players of different skill levels and are pretty sure it's the best shooting mechanic ever made in NBA 2K.


We've also made major changes, making finishing at the rim more technical. Although the dunk action captured by our motion capture is amazing, seeing this action trigger, we know that the ball will go in, and I have to say that it is a little regretful. After the new upgrade of the shot-blocking system, the defenders can use more means to complete the interception at the basket. On top of that, we've added timing bars for alley-oops and Domineering dunks on the next-gen version. When the alley pass is flying, the player must press the shooting button at the right time to complete the catch. If you press the button too early or too late, you may not be able to complete the goal or even catch the ball (by the way: in this game, you can force a ground pass in the air!) And for dunks, a long press Sprint button and pushing the expert joystick vertically downwards will trigger the domineering skill dunk. When there is a defender under the basket, if the dunker has a strong ability and has a certain run-up space, using the authoritative skill dunk function can force the dunk as needed. This high-risk, high-reward style of play is difficult to master the perfect timing, but the joy of scoring a goal is equally wonderful.

In this work, we also added a dunk celebration, similar to the green jumper landing celebration. With this new skill, you can not only stand up in the crowd to complete the dunk but also equip the signature dance moves to show off after a successful dunk.

The gameplay team of NBA 2K23 is a laser beam focused on making players better dunkers: you can now customize your dunking skills with the new dunking style creator! It's a super cool feature to have detailed control over your dunk bag's exact style and equip your players for more dunk moves!

Templates, badges, and juggernauts

Player templates are also a hot topic in 2K. In NBA 2K22, for the first time on the next-gen version, we're introducing a brand new player builder that lets you cap stats however you see fit. Every time there is a big new development move, it will make people feel very pain. We've overhauled the system, creating a more balanced template that encourages players to create a variety of players of different types. Small players have unique advantages over big players and vice versa. In the upcoming game, players can see all kinds of characters on the virtual streets in their basketball city.

The number of NBA 2K23 badge points at players' disposal has increased greatly, and you will have more options to arm your players. As you adjust your attribute caps, you can also see these numbers change in real time. I also added awesome badge outfit creation! Players can use these features to quickly and easily switch gear badges based on the style of play on a given day or even the matchup for the next match. Here are the new badges added to NBA 2K23:

  • Quick starter at the basket - you can jump quickly to complete the layup and dunk.
  • A pro at the rim - can more efficiently score through the layup
  • Unlimited takeoff - can start dunking from a longer distance
  • Big hits - big players can score on smaller players more efficiently
  • Rush ball protector - better protects the ball when collecting the ball for a layup/dunk in a crowd
  • Long-range shooter - can hit a Curry-style 3-pointer off the dribble
  • Long-range spot-up shooter - can hit long-range 3-pointers after the catch
  • Quick Shooter - Improves the ability to score quickly
  • Dislocation Specialist - can successfully score in front of higher defenders when switching positions
  • Sticky Hands - Capable of catching tough balls and pulling off shots or dribbles faster
  • Light Speed ​​Engine - Improves the speed and efficiency of moving dribbling actions
  • Good Dribble - Improves the ability to make continuous dribbling movements quickly
  • Block Attack Organizer - Improves the efficiency of shots and moves when organizing attacks in the penalty area
  • Triple Threat Veteran - Improves the efficiency of Triple Threat Fakes, Spy Steps, and Step Moves
  • Great chipper - can more effectively block layups and dunks
  • Scramble maniac - can get 1/2 ball faster than opponents
  • Master of Marking - Greatly reduces the attack rating of the opponent when he is dead-marking

As a result, the number of existing badges has reached 80, and a considerable number of existing badges have also been upgraded well. There are so many badges players can choose from and many ways to influence the game, so the equipment function is just right. It's also worth mentioning that we have fully ported all 80 badges to the current generation version, which can be said to be a huge upgrade for players!

Finally, I want to mention a next-generation version of the exclusive self-created player upgrade called Dominance. Players can unlock and equip these modifiers to enhance existing Juggernaut abilities! This is a great upgrade to the Domination system, adding a layer of depth and strategy to online competition.

Final statement

Those are the main features I will address in this year's Playgrounds report. I have said a lot, but the game connotation of 2K cannot be explained in a simple report, and the above content is only the skin. Thank you to every gameplay developer who works tirelessly every year to create the best sports game in the gaming industry! One of our goals is to make the experience both fun and competitive. Once you get your hands on the controller, you'll see that we have made it easy to switch game modes and navigate. I'm sure you'll agree that the development team has achieved this. The love of the player community for 2K is our driving force, and many game features come directly from player suggestions. A few weeks ago, we invited several well-known community members and professional players to the studio for an internal beta. Their feedback is invaluable and helps us make final adjustments to the game for a great gaming experience! Thank you so much for your help.

We are looking forward to more events like this in the future!

I hope you all have fun in NBA 2K23. I can't wait to see your feedback and enjoy the video/live. We will work with you to create the strongest basketball game on the planet!​​​​


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