How big was It this year for NBA 2k13 to have Jay-Z on the team? Working with Jay-Z this year was a great attribute , when we first started working with him I thought we were going to go in the direction of him just being a celebrity endorser by putting his name on the box with a soundtrack, and I wasn't too sure about that. I was thinking if that's the direction the marketing team wants to go then fine, but once we actually had a chance to sit down and work with Jay, it became very clear that he was not interested in just endorsing at all. Jay said "if we are going to work together I want to be heavily involved and have plenty of design influence in the game". That's how he ended up being the executive producer of the title.
What did you think of the inclusion of Jay-Z and were you happy with bringing him on board? Oh absolutely , originally I thought he was only going to do the soundtrack, but then he really wanted to get involved. He's a huge 2k fan, it still shocks me to the day the amount he impacted the game this year in such a positive way, it will surprise a lot of people, but it was a great collaboration and I'm glad it happened.
A few of us here at US Sports Down Under had mixed opinions on the role of Jay-Z but after rumours of him getting the Dream Team together it was a welcomed suprise. Yeah, when Jay found out that we didn't have Charles Barkley in the fold at that point in time, he was very intent saying "you can't put the Dream Team out without Charles!". In the studio we were all like, Jay we have been trying to get Charles in the game over the last 18 months and it just wasn't happening. One day in the office as we were talking about it Jay-Z pulls his cell out of his pocket and goes "hold on I got this" Jay then calls Charles and he picked up straight away and the deal was done, he even had Charles on speed dial. I'm still shocked and always thinking, if only we all had connections like this, I want Jay on my team every year!
This year sees the inclusion of the new 'control stick'. Why the change and can you pick the settings back to default of last years controls? For years we have had the shot stick and we have been improving it year by year, the amount of options within the last 2 years have been amazing, but I always felt that the controls at times were too complicated, sometimes it felt like playing street fighter with all the combo's needed to pull off some moves. Playing Mike Wang (Assistant Producer) in the office, he would kick my ass on the control stick and I felt as if, to do any moves you would have to press so many buttons and combos just to pull it off. So I sat down with Mike and Rob Jones (Gameplay Director) and was like, how can we make it more accessible for casual users and at the same time a challenge for our hardcore users, without sacrificing all the work we have done over the last half decade or so. That's when the control stick idea was born. We spent 3-4 months on the prototype stage trying to find the optimal setting, we wanted to keep everything without sacrificing the shot stick, were it ended up I'm extremely happy. I mean for the first time you have true one to one movement with the right stick. We have never had that ability while dribbling and defending before. It's easy to pick up and its a lot of fun. For your other topic no, we can't support the old control scheme. Looking backwards we are much looking forward, once people play it, I promise you will not want to go back, its just so much more controllable than it ever has been.
My Player mode is now called My Career. A lot of people want My Crew and online team play again from 2k11, is there a chance we will see it this year? My Crew is something that our fans are very loud and clear about as far as what they want and bringing that mode back. 2k11 was not the best year for us online, although it was one of our best selling products our servers were not at all reliable with us at the time. Last year we had a very stripped down version of online game modes and we had built the foundation up from scratch again. 2k13 is a continuation of that effort to make our online gameplay more stable. Our first and foremost goal is to make online as smooth as possible, and I think we have really done that this year, but we are still building up. We didn't have time to add a crew mode this year, but its definitely something we will be looking at moving forward because the demand is certainly there.
Another big addition for you guys this year is Signature Skills. i heard there there are up to 32 skills divided into 3 tiers. How does it work? Anytime that you are outside of My Career mode signature skills are on or off there is no tier levels, each player can have up to 5 signature abilities such as Kobe Bryant, he will have the shot creator, dead-eye, microwave, scrapper and closer. When you're in the progression of My Career mode we do have the signature skills that are based on tiers. You can be a level one and have a number of the basic signature skills, and once you have continued to build credits you can have the ability to purchase higher tier levels of skills to make your player stronger.
Do we have the ability to change online sliders this year? Any more authority as the GM of the league? Last year was obviously the first year for it and I thought it was a huge upgrade from what we had before. It was basically our widely acclaimed offline association then taken online, what it did lack was the control for private leagues. This year we have added a number of administration options such as changing game sliders, the ability to pause and stop the leagues, change how fast the leagues will advance, reset games, determine winners and more. This will give the mode a much more all-round experience and make it fair playing field.
Will NBA 2k13 be Multi-Platform this year? if so what devices can we play the game on? This year we are supporting a companion application which is going to be available on ios, Android and Kindle devices. This is something that people can play that earns them in-game credits and enhances the console gaming experience. The companion applications will have some mini games you can play, and playing these mini games can earn you attributes and credits to go towards your account on the console or to your My Career. Completing these mini games will provide added chemistry, local fan support and more to your my player and account. It's a stand alone title and fans will love it. You can also have the Facebook application that can also be an extension as you can hold parties and events to build your network base for people to come and visit your player.
I heard a lot of rumours about an in depth shoe creator in game and also the ability for Nikeid to create you shoe in-game for real life, as they will design your shoe and send it out to you. Shoe creator this year is all about the culture of basketball and the fusion of Jay-Z's style. A very big portion of the culture in Basketball is the shoe culture as we all know. This feature is really cool because you have the opportunity to make any brand of shoe that we have in the game. You can choose from Nike, Jordan, Adidas, Reebok, Converse, Spalding and Under-Armour. You can have a base shoe of any type. So you can have low, medium of high top and then you have a huge range of 45 different layers that you can choose on the shoe whether that be base, the heel, the logo, laces or the fibre. You can make a really good shoe with 6 or 7 layers but for all those sneaker heads you can make it amazingly good with so many customisable options. Designing your own shoe from scratch can take a while but i know a lot of fans will really appreciate what we have done here as you can also take those shoes online and show the world your creations. From my understanding the Nikeid feature is only available in the U.S as you guys have a third party who deal with Nikeid direct. That's a bummer, I wish i could do something about that, I feel for you guys.
Can you export your My Player to a team in exhibition mode? You can't export your my player to exhibition mode but you can export to NBA blacktop mode and dress him however you want with shoes and accessories.
Which NBA players have had an input this year apart from the cover athletes, and has Andrew Bogut or Patty Mills ever asked to come by? We had a lot of interest this year and actually a lot more rookies came by this year. Unfortunately Bogut or Mills haven't asked. I'l be extremely happy when they do, its hard when most of our player development stage is done around January and they're pretty busy at that time in the season. Lately we had Dion Waiters and Austin Rivers come by together and wanted to check out the game as well as Erick Barnes, while they where here we were like, "Hey want to put on some motion caps and suits for us?", so now we have their signature jump shots, dribbles and motions in the game, those players will look good this year guaranteed.
Whats the plans for the future and how do you see the game developing? Just like everyone else I'm a huge basketball fan, and more than anything I wanna see the sport grow through video games, we are very much perfectionists here so whatever we do we are never 100% satisfied. i would love to see visuals continue getting bumped up and animations systems continue to get defined, smartened and more developed A.I. I'm sure all these things we will be able to see when the next gen consoles hit. We've already started on 2k14 so it never stops for us.
What is your highlight this year from NBA 2K13? There is a huge addition that we put into the game this year which no one has really been shown yet and with zero press so far, It's called My Team mode. My Team is easily my new favourite mode in the game this year. This mode is amazing. For the first time you enter it we are going to give you a started deck of players, and this is going to be full of rookies and like third tier bench players. Included in the pack are attribute boosts and signature skills, coaches, play books, uniforms and stadiums, and you can choose who to allocate these skills to. This is entirely an online mode, we needed to make something online that people can feel like they are really making progress with, something with a sense of accomplishment. Every time you're playing a game you are going to earn points and credits towards your pack of players. Next step up from that is Road to the Playoffs. You basically take your My team and play online against other My teams and you play little 12 game seasons. If you win 3 of those games you move into the 8th seed in the playoffs then once you have advance there is another 12 games season and you have to win 5-6 games to advance, and that number continues to rise and you advance as you climb the seed. Once you get to the number one seed we actually give you Michael Jordan for your very own team, that's a challenging aspect and not many people are going to get there, it will be an elite few. Obviously you can update you players through booster packs, we offer a bronze silver and gold pack, each one increases the chance of you getting better players, and also a star within the pack. You can also purchase players from what we call the 'player market' and all during the season the players fluctuate to their real life counterparts, so the better the player is playing in real life the more he will cost. Just like a stock market, if a player blows up and you get him when he is cheap you will earn heaps of money. It has like a fantasy league feel to it, people will love that. I can't wait for the game to be released for people to experience it first hand.
Any information on a demo release date for PS3 and Xbox 360? There has been a demo submitted by us, we are just waiting for approval from Sony and Microsoft. It should be in the next 2 weeks but we are just waiting on a green light from them. One thing I can tell you about the demo this year is we have something special and that have never done, so stay tuned for the demo release.
Anything you would like to say to the Aussie NBA and 2K fans? Thank you guys for all the support over the last few years making the game such a success world wide. It's great to see how much basketball is growing globally still, I really hope you enjoy and have fun playing 2k13 this year and thank you for your input and your time guys, it's great to hear your questions and feedback.