NBA 2K17 can’t boast of an insane campaign written by Spike Lee like the previous installment, but it does have comedian and actor Matt Walsh. Everyone’s favorite fictional White House communications director plays a college basketball coach in the early portion of the MyCareer mode. He’s not in the trailer which instead focuses on Michael B. Jordan, Hannibal Buress, and Justice Young, but that seems appropriate for the hapless McLintock. If you’ve been watched the last season of Veep on HBO, you’ll recall that Matt Walsh’s character desperately tried to get hired for a communications position in the National Hockey League, making this role amusing on a meta level. Congratulations, Mike! You kind of made it into a sports league of sorts!
I do wonder how no one thought of this before. Sports movies and novels are pretty badass, so why shouldn’t Sports games also have single player story campaigns that tie into the career and make you feel like you’re in a Sports story? I like where this is going. Maybe in a few years, we can be talking about how epic the story was for the last installment of FIFA XX or NBA 2KXX.
Last year’s NBA 2K16 story had a narrative that went well beyond the typical sports game’s season career mode. I think Jason McMaster can probably talk about it more than I can, but the intro shows what they were going for:
I think you’re right. With the money these games generate, they could match Call of Duty’s production for the campaign mode.
Matt Walsh needs to be in more videogames, more TV shows, and more movies. Even if it’s stuff like that tornado chaser movie where he drives a tornado-chasing battlewagon thing called The Titan or The Juggernaut or The Behemoth or some such thing.
I’m in favor of more UCB people in my video games.
I think story modes in sports games are potentially a good thing, but I think they’d be better off divorcing them from the career modes. One of the jarring things about 2K16’s Spike Lee joint was that so much of the character’s background was decided for the player. After the story mode ended, you were free to continue the player’s career, but it felt like just that: continuing another player’s career, rather than starting your own.
Story modes script friendships and rivalries, but anyone who’s spent an extended amount of time in a virtual career mode can tell you that those things can develop on their own. I still remember how much I hated playing with Monta Ellis in 2K15. Dude never passed the damn ball.
I think career modes are better off adding flavor (fake twitter feeds, generated headlines, etc.) to the emergent story the player creates, rather than starting the player off with a story they may or may not be into, then letting the simulation run after the final curtain drops.