• Sat. Feb 24th, 2024

Daily Game

Video Game News and Reviews, Sports, 3D Blu-ray and Electronics

Inside the 2K Sports Booth at E3 2006

BySara

May 11, 2006

Unlike the enormous Electronic Arts E3 booth where the majority of next-gen sports titles are cordoned off in a press-only demonstration room, the curved outer arm at the 2K Sports booth houses a trio of three playable Xbox 360 titles due later this year. NBA 2K7, College Hoops 2K7 and NHL 2K7 are all now confirmed to be in development for Playstation 3 with targets to be released at or near the November 17 launch date.
NBA 2K7
One inconspicuous glance at the 60-percent-complete second generation Xbox 360 version of NBA 2K7 reveals a substantially tuned graphics engine devoid of nagging inconsistencies plaguing last year’s version. 2K explained the player models have been rebuilt and lit in a more realistic manner to closer match their real-life counterparts. Now Nash’s hair appropriately bounces up and down as he runs the floor and other players physiques and faces aren’t blatantly hit and miss. Going along with this emphasis on a more realistic presentation, all the star players have been motion-captured for signature moves. This initiative is part of an ambitious goal at Visual Concepts to eventually mo-cap the entire league. Good luck trying to get every NBA ego to cooperate with that!
The arenas have also been brought one step closer to photorealism thanks to a broader and more accurate color palette, real-time dynamic reflections of the arena’s lights and advertisements on the hardwood floor, a new dynamic camera that switches views randomly, and more polygons and pixels dedicated to the court’s immediate surrounding objects. For example, last year’s cheerleaders resembled mindless drones yanked out of an archaic Playstation 2 game. Now the cheerleaders, and other people seated near the court, are all dynamically lit and act independently of each other. Sometimes one cheerleader will get up and dance and other times two or all will join in the fun. The Phoenix Suns Gorilla coming out of the stands to cheer then returning to his seat is a real hoot.
Any gameplay enhancements at this stage of development are being kept under wraps other than a subtle tighter response from the right analog Shot Stick (which, after playing a few games with it, I still don’t want to use) and a new progressive fatigue system. This system was not a part of the playable demo but as it was explained, a fresh player will fatigue slower than an already fatigued player playing late in the game. Playing an overly tired player late in the game or consistently wearing players down to their last drops of energy will increase the chances of injury.
2K Sports promises more announcements are forthcoming, including one having something to do with the Shot Stick and dunking. Fee free to draw your own conclusions there.
NHL 2K7
Visual Concepts is executing a similar needed facelift for the second NHL effort on Xbox 360. The renovation begins with this year’s player designs that have leapt forward a little in believability but still don’t reach NBA levels of realism. On the rinks ice surface are the same dynamic reflective properties as seen in NBA 2K7, and more defined skate ruts. Center scoreboard lights reflect appropriately across the rink and ruts with every movement of the in-game camera.
From our brief hands-on time, we noticed the action is smoother than last year’s thanks to new skating animations that speed up player’s movements and the overall game pace. Heightened speed also puts more pressure on defenseman to actually defend against slightly faster incoming forwards. This type of tweak could have easily thrown simulation gameplay out the window but it works well and never crosses the line into arcade territory.
Details are still sparse at this time but we were able to coax a couple new features out of our 2K Sports representative. A new camera tentatively called Parametric is described as being similar to the Sky Cam seen in NFL games, only this camera will follow one particular player from start to finish. Another camera dubbed Cinemotion will exploit the sport’s drama by slowing down the game and cueing dramatic music during key moments. I can hear the purists screaming now about a conspiracy to ruin the natural flow of the game, but 2K Sports swears Cinemotion is being designed to be non-intrusive. Ultimately opinions won’t really matter as Cinemotion can easily be toggled off.
New features found in 2K6 will again return in 2K7 such as icon passing and manual goalie control. These plus cleaner, crisper gameplay and more refined visuals should make NHL fans happy come the start of next season.
College Hoops 2K7
Can you believe this game was out on the floor and playable even 2K6 was released just a couple months ago? We were surprised, especially considering nothing really new jumps out in this early build. Yeah, some of the graphical enhancements are in place but we had to be told about what’s in store instead of being able to see it.
Some of what Visual Concepts plans to implement include new fight songs, animated student sections that react independently of one another, new player A.I., more ball handling moves, and a new leadership role that affects team chemistry, morale and ultimately how well a team plays together from game to game.

By Sara

My name is Sara Anslee, I live in Colorado. I am very fond of gaming, writing, and blogging. I share the latest news and tips about sports games, video games, gaming movies, gaming devices, and accessories. I also love watching movies and traveling.