College basketball hasn’t been a player on the video game scene for some time. The dearth comes as the result of cratering consumer interest and the Ed O’Bannon verdict against EA Sports. According to Sporting News, that could all change with the release of NBA 2K16 this fall.
So far, 2K has liberated little in the way of the new additions from the 2K15 version. We’ve heard about the inclusion of Spike Lee, the three cover athletes, the soundtrack and the addition of summer league, which is important for the MyCareer mode and was last seen in the 2K11 iteration.
The MyCareer game play will also, reportedly, feature a college selection segment, which is why it’s big news that 2K sports has acquired licenses for Arizona, Arizona State, Georgetown, Kansas, Louisville, Michigan, Texas, UCLA, UConn, Villanova, and Wisconsin through the Collegiate Licensing Company. Sporting News adds that Davidson might also join that list of colleges.
Before you start freaking out about a possible return of a 2K college game, know that the O’Bannon verdict and the sales of the last college basketball games likely means this will just be an addendum to 2K and not its own game.
Rosters from real life are impossible, and even a similar likeness would get 2K into legal trouble. (Not a coincidence, but we’re gonna grill tonight.) The NCAA won’t be involved in any way, which means any talk of the Madness in March isn’t happening. As you can see from the list above, a lot of colleges are also missing, so you probably won’t play through a full NCAA season. It could be the colleges are only relegated to the story mode of MyCareer, and you won’t actually get to play with them at all. Bummer, sure, but most of you weren’t buying college basketball games anyway — and why would you, zone defenses and slow-as-molasses offensive sets, suck.
Still, this is yet another addition for a 2K franchise that’s inching closer to verisimilitude that could conflate 2K brilliance with an actual NBA basketball player. And for a million little 2K fanboys, that’s exactly what they’re hoping.