The NBA regular season doesn’t tip off until October 17, but basketball fans have another date circled on their calendar a month prior on September 19. That is the release date for NBA 2K18, the most popular NBA video game on the market and one that appears to have made some significant upgrades over the past year.
In 2K18, the graphics look cleaner and the game modes offer much more realism when it comes to how free agency and the NBA Draft are experienced. While all of that figures to be something gamers will all appreciate, there is one thing that, no matter how much work is put into fine-tuning the system, they’ll never please everyone with.
That would be player ratings, which 2K Sports has slowly been letting trickle out via NBA players’ own social channels with first looks at them in the game. Ratings are debated by fans and the players themselves, with some, like John Wall, getting upset with the folks over at 2K over a perceived slight with their rating. There is significant method to the madness when it comes to 2K’s player ratings, and it is all part of a process that has been revamped and improved — much like the rest of the game — by Mike Stauffer, a former 2K player that now heads up their ratings team.
Stauffer spoke to Bleacher Report’s Jordan Zirm recently about his incredible journey from 2K enthusiast to 2K ratings guru, which began in 2011 during the NBA lockout, when the game could not include the rookie class due to the stoppage. So, Stauffer, at the time an elementary school teacher, created the rookie class with his own ratings and it got downloaded hundreds of thousands of times. Fellow gamers weren’t the only ones to take notice, as 2K quickly reached out to Stauffer.