We are two months away from the release of NBA 2K21, which is currently the only simulation NBA video game on the market. The series has had its highs and lows, and like so many games has issues with too heavy a reliance on microtransactions, but it has become the standard for hoops video games and prides itself on realism (even though the medium naturally lends itself to some unrealistic happenings).
As such, if the goal of the game is to replicate NBA life for its gamers, particularly in its MyCareer mode, I would like to formally request 2K begin working on a “The Bubble” game mode that could be DLC for the game early in 2021. A hat tip to Lang Whitaker, who helped spark the idea by asking for the Bubble arena to be added to the game.
I hope they put The Bubble arena in 2K21
— Lang Whitaker (@langwhitaker) July 28, 2020
The next three months will see NBA players vying for the championship in the Disney bubble, and this lends itself to an even better version of “The Neighborhood” and “The Park” than what 2K currently has. We’ve seen players hit the links for golf together, become very into bass fishing, and do all sorts of other activities together now that they’re all stuck in what has basically become NBA summer camp in Orlando. The idea of 2K’s entire online presence is “what if players all lived in the same place and could play pickup,” but what we’ve learned is there’s opportunity for so much more.
Now that 2K has the PGA Tour golf franchise, they have the ability to put a basic golf game inside NBA 2K so you and your buddies could take your MyPlayers to the links. We already know they can handle the graphics for fishing in the game given that in 2K18 part of your storyline was going fishing with Paul George. You could add other mini-games like cards, cornhole, and other activities to really round out the experience — and, yes, even throw in an outdoor court for “The Park” for pickup games online. The Neighborhood already has disc golf around its perimeter and puts on gigantic events all the time, the folks at 2K can surely find space for all of this in the gigantic 2K world.
There’s some incredible opportunity here for 2K to expand what they offer in the game and, where some of this may have once been unrealistic to imagine guys all doing this, it’s now the reality of a very weird situation. The NBA has tried to make the most of the bubble restart and what they’ve managed has been pretty entertaining to watch, both in the games on the court and what players are doing to entertain themselves off of it. For a video game franchise that has had its struggles in really recreating the NBA lifestyle experience in its career mode, this honestly offers a way to be realistic while doing things easily translatable to a video game, and could make for some very fun online co-op modes.
Also, if there is fear that this won’t be relevant in early 2021, given what we’ve seen with baseball trying to play in home stadiums, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they might have to consider another bubble for next season if there’s not a vaccine in place by the time the league wants to restart for the 2020-21 campaign. If bubble life is going to be a constant in basketball in the near future, the video game most closely associated with the NBA might as well lean all the way in.