How NBA 2K22 redefined The City, and where it could go next

Connor Knudsen
2k22 interview
2K Games

We sat down with Erick Boenisch, Executive Producer of NBA 2K22, to discuss the development of the game’s social areas, the future of the franchise, and much more in this Dexerto exclusive interview.

NBA 2K22 continued to change things up for the 2K Games basketball franchise, offering a whole new type of social setting for next-gen players in The City, along with making tons of other major improvements.

This continued development is something that’s important for developers as they move the game forward year after year, and according to the game’s Executive Producer, there’s more on the way.

The development of the 2K social space

fire and ice 2k22
2K Games
The 2K social spaces have taken off in 2K22 with the addition of seasons and so many other new features.

In early 2K games, there was no space to speak of for players to gather, organize matches, and see one another’s handcrafted players. As it has matured, this was a vital point of emphasis for developers, according to Boenisch.

“The City has been an exciting and ambitious execution of a virtual basketball community that allows players to experience all aspects of the sport, going well beyond the professional hardcourt to celebrate the culture of basketball,” he said. “We also saw the opportunity to make The City a place for players to not only personalize their experience, but also connect with other players. The coming together of sports and light RPG elements has created a perfect harmony that has resonated well with our players.”

2K has achieved such a feat over the course of several years, slowly adding more and more RPG elements to make players feel like they really are living the lifestyle of a professional baller, whether it be through cashing endorsement checks or buying the latest kicks.

2k22 brand names
2K Games
Culture and the implementation of popular brand names has been a massive part of 2K22.

A big part of making this feel as immersive and ever-changing as possible was the implementation of Seasons as these, “provide players with new experiences and challenges throughout the year.”

These seasons have impacted all modes in NBA 2K22, but perhaps none more than MyCareer, where players now have a battle pass to work through, seasonal drops, and a lot more elements of modern-day games that play nicely into the 2K universe.

But, even though 2K22 made immense strides forward, devs still think there is room to grow, even if they weren’t able to get into specifics.

Where the 2K franchise is headed

nba 2k22 steph curry
2K Games
One thing is clear, gameplay will not be taking a backseat as the franchise continues to grow.

One big thing that changed in 2K22 was not only the fact that current-gen and next-gen consoles had vastly different social areas, but each had so much more life than the year before.

This was largely due to new hardware possibilities, but also because the dev team has been persistent in moving the game’s RPG elements forward.

But what does that mean for the future of the franchise? Without giving too much away, Boenisch shared the dev team’s thoughts on what the future holds for 2K.

“While we can’t share specifics about what we’re currently working on, our focus is to provide players with an engaging and entertaining experience that captures basketball culture… With any game that releases annually, there’s always a long list of features that we look at each year and have to narrow down and prioritize,” he said. “For us, gameplay is always top of mind, along with any other ways we can continue to improve upon the experience for our players.”

The City nba 2k22
2K Games
Few games incorporate culture quite like NBA 2K.

Culture and gameplay seem to be two things that stuck out, which shows in NBA 2K22.

As hardware continues to get stronger and more ideas are able to come to the table from the community, it will be interesting to see what 2K does next.

With the 2022 All-Star break approaching and the 2nd half of the season soon to follow, 2K23 will be around the corner before we know it.