NBA 2K17 Will Feature League Expansion Option in MyGM and MyLEAGUE Modes
The team at 2K Sports and Visual Concepts behind NBA 2K17 has finally released the first tidbit of news about the game, and it's a doozy. Senior Producer Erick Boenisch (aka SimBaller) wrote on Facebook today that the game's MyGM and MyLEAGUE modes will now feature a league expansion option, allowing for players to expand the league from its current 30 teams up to a maximum of 36 teams. Even better, players will have unparalleled freedom when selecting which teams they want to add to their league.
The real-life NBA hasn't expanded since 2004, when the Charlotte Bobcats (now the Charlotte Hornets) were added to the league, making 30 teams total. Players, however, will be able to expand their league at will.
According to Boenisch, players will have three approaches to choose from when starting a new MyGM or MyLEAGUE: starting with the 30-team NBA as is; starting with Expansion, with the option to choose the number of teams to add, and their designs; or starting with a custom league, which can still feature up to 36 teams, including Expansion teams, classic rosters, Euroleague teams, and so on.
According to Boenisch, players who want to add new expansion teams without much hassle will find it easy to do so:
"If creating all the art assets for the team logo, arena, and uniforms is more than you can handle, I have two alternatives for you. First, we have 10 pre-built fictional franchises (complete with full audio and commentary support) built right in to the game. Pick your favorite one and off you go. Alternatively, you can now download complete team designs from the community in NBA 2K17. For example, if you know that you want your expansion team to be a Seattle Supersonics franchise, you can search through community uploaded team designs and instantly download one right into your new MyGM/MyLEAGUE. It couldn't be simpler."
Creating a team's logo, arena, and uniforms was a concept first introduced in last year's Team Relocation feature, where players could take any team and move them to an entirely different city (and thus conference and division). However, it's encouraging to hear that players looking to build a custom league with new expansion teams won't have to spend hours building those teams if they don't want to. In addition, the NBA 2K community might come up with some truly cool designs, so being able to download them and add them to an expanded league is a big plus.
In addition, Boenisch detailed how every aspect of these modes have been retooled to accommodate this exciting new feature:
"The entire experience surrounding the game has to support it. We've covered every detail required for a proper league expansion, including player protections, expansion drafts, and much, much more.
A considerable amount of time was spent this year building an NBA schedule creation tool that dynamically generates balanced schedules with respect to your 31/32/33/34/35/36 team leagues. We then created dynamic menus for every menu in the game including the Draft Lottery and the Draft, with respect to how many teams are in the league. For example, when you have a 32-team league, that means that you now have 16 teams in the lottery (up from the current 14), and all the mathematical odds of getting the #1 pick that go along with that new Draft Lottery format need to be updated.
Simply put, we left no stone unturned, and we did all for your enjoyment. Immerse yourselves."
This level of detail covered here sounds like sim basketball at its best. If all of this is any indication, players with a specific vision of their league will be able to build it to their heart's content, and then watch it unfold in both expected and unexpected ways. Hopefully all of these new features mean that leagues play out in unique and surprising ways, which would maximize replayability.
Finally, Boenisch also explained that the league expansion feature isn't a one-time feature, as well:
"League Expansion isn't just a feature you can use when setting up your league. You can dynamically expand your league in the offseason, even after the mode has already started! Additionally, the league will approve expansion franchises dynamically on its own as you get further into your franchise. When that happens, you'll need to make tough decisions about which of your players you want to protect, and which will need to be exposed for the impending Expansion Draft. It won't happen very often, but when it does, it will shake up your league, without a doubt!"
As Boenisch mentions, when a team is added to the league, an expansion draft is held, where teams can only "protect" a certain number of players on their roster. In 2004, that number was 8. The expansion franchise can then draft a full roster from those players who were not protected. Obviously, an expansion draft can "shake up the league" by forcing championship contenders to let go of valuable replacement players. That each league will expand automatically at some point should introduce an air of urgency, therefore, into each player's attempt to win it all.
This may only be the first piece of news about what's new in NBA 2K17, but it's a promising sign that everyone involved wants to build upon what worked in NBA 2K16 and make something even better, rather than rest on their laurels. Maybe, just maybe, upcoming announcements about the game will feature news about classic teams, or even a Kobe-centric game mode.
Is there are particular change or feature you want to see in NBA 2K17? Talk about it in the comments below!