The NBA 2K franchise made a massive stride when they added WNBA players and teams into the game for NBA 2K20. For NBA 2K21, developers took it a step further to put some more spotlight on “The W.”
A few weeks before NBA 2K21‘s release on next-gen consoles, the NBA 2K team announced that gamers playing on PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X would get three new WNBA-centered game modes.
For those looking to focus on single-player modes, NBA 2K21 is introducing “The W: WNBA MyPlayer experience,” allowing them the chance to build their own life in the WNBA.
“One of our main design goals for The W was to allow you to experience the career of a WNBA player, both on and off the court,” Felicia Steenhouse, Senior Producer for NBA 2K21, wrote when announcing the game’s expansion. “The women of the WNBA are more than athletes and are defining professional sports as we know it in real-time. Do you have what it takes to lead this league into a new era?”
Next up is a “MyWNBA” franchise mode, allowing fans the ability to take control of the league, make their own rules, and lead their favorite WNBA franchise towards championship glory.
“As soon as we were done with NBA 2K20, we knew right away what our first goal for NBA 2K21 would be and got to work on building that foundation for league control and progression for the WNBA,” Steenhouse wrote. “You now have the sandbox to go and create the league of your dreams.”
Finally, for those who want to get competitive with the multiplayer aspect of this year’s 2K installment, there will be “The W Online: 3v3 MyPlayer.”
That new multiplayer mode will also come with a WNBA-exclusive gym, known as “The W Online court.”
“Once in the game, you will find yourself in arguably the most beautiful location to play in the game,” Steenhouse said. “If you want to see next gen visuals; this is the place to be.”
Through it all, NBA 2K fans will be able to fully immerse themselves in the WNBA world. They will have the ability to create their own league in MyWNBA, fully customize their WNBA MyPlayer character with imported face scans and 18 different player types, and even take their MyPlayer to the court with friends and foes online.
“YOU ultimately make our game what it is, and this year we have greatly expanded the ‘you’s who are represented in our game,” Steehouse wrote.
The next-gen version of NBA 2K21 was already highly-anticipated for basketball fans around the world, especially after developers released the first next-gen trailer and showed off what players can expect from a gameplay perspective.
But, adding in all of these new WNBA game modes is going to help bring the NBA 2K franchise to another whole new level.
The basketball world has seen the WNBA scene rise to new heights in 2020, with loads of focus on the WNBA Finals and the league’s bubble format for the postseason, lovingly known as the “Wubble.”
Average viewership of WNBA games grew 68 percent in 2020, with 87 games being shown nationally on ESPN platforms throughout the league’s tenure in the “wubble,”, according to WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert.
Players in the league are garnering loads of attention across the United States, with boxes of their basketball cards selling for $300+ on Panini’s website.
It all signals a new wave in the basketball world, with fans finally seeing more of a light shining on some of their favorite players.
New York Liberty rookie Sabrina Ionescu is a star in the making, Seattle Storm superstar Sue Bird continues to establish her legacy, and Storm teammate Breanna Stewart simply can’t be stopped.
Young stars like Kia Nurse and Asia Durr find themselves as some of the WNBA athletes with sneaker deals through Jordan, and Maya Moore, the first of the brand’s female basketball endorsers, made an impact away from the court throughout her journey to free a man from prison.
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Now, fans of all of the league’s biggest names get to showcase their fandom in a virtual fashion, with the ability to take to the court in NBA 2K21 and compete either with, or against, their favorite WNBA players.
Just like the title of the online multiplayer mode, all of these additions can simply be thought about as one thing. Well, one letter, to be exact.