I had an opportunity to get 8 hours of hands-on time with NBA 2K20 last week, and while I came away pleased with it on multiple levels, perhaps the most impressive aspect of my experience was the WNBA gameplay, presentation and options.
To put it plainly, this was not a lazy implementation. I’m not saying the WNBA gameplay is more enjoyable than the NBA experience in the game but I can confidently say this new feature wasn’t just thrown together for the sake of adding diversity. The men and women who worked to bring this to fruition did a great job.
The quality is in the details.
The Ladies Have Badges
During my @MeBroShow podcast on Thursday night, a viewer asked if the WNBA players have badges in the game. I didn’t pay attention during the gameplay session (things can be hectic at these events), but in reviewing my footage, I can confirm WNBA players do have badges in NBA 2K20.
In fact, in one of my games, the Seattle Storm’s Breanna Stewart earned Takeover.
As you can see from the video above, 2K didn’t half step with the WNBA presentation. The league has separate announcers from the NBA in the game. There are a ton of commentary lines related to all of the teams and many of the players. It goes far beyond calling the name of the player who scored or got the rebound. The commentators will riff on player backgrounds and more.
There is a full WNBA presentation package and it comes through excellently.
Renders Are Stellar
Visually, the quality starts with the accurate renders. Most of the league was scanned into the game, and the accuracy extends to the player models. There are multiple body styles, and it’s easy to see 2K didn’t simply use female head scans on male bodies.
That might have been the easier way to approach the new addition, but it certainly wouldn’t have come off as well. Thankfully, the WNBA received a full fleshed-out look from the beginning.
The Courts Look Fantastic
Many of the WNBA teams play in the same arena as their NBA counterparts, but the floor is different during games. All of those details were captured well, and it helps to add to the immersion and WNBA atmosphere.
Animations Are Authentic
Just as the players weren’t rendered with male models, the animations are authentic and were motion captured by women. This also helps to make the action on the screen more realistic.
When you see a crossover, layup and even a dunk from the likes of Brittney Griner and others, the mo-cap was performed by a woman.
The Flow of the Game Is Great
Most WNBA players don’t play above the rim, and this is properly represented in the game. Instead, what you see is a more pure representation of the fundamentals of basketball. That is also present in NBA 2K20. Getting open shots and finishing close to the rim looks and feels appropriately different than the men’s game.
Even if you’re not a fan of the WNBA, I highly suggest playing a few games with the ladies to see what I mean.
And…You Can Play A Full Season
Last but not least, you can choose a team and play a WNBA Season. 2K could have simply added the WNBA players and teams and that would have drawn them even with their competitors as it pertains to female inclusion.
Instead, NBA 2K20 gives you an opportunity to play through an entire WNBA season. The demo is out for PS4 and Xbox One, but it doesn’t include the WNBA. The full game hits retailers on September 6.