The introduction of the WNBA-focused The W mode in last year’s NBA 2K21 was welcome, but it was still a first step—as exciting as it was to be able to create your own WNBA MyPlayer and play in that league, some of the modes and options felt a little lacking in contrast to what was available for the men’s game. With NBA 2K22, Visual Concepts and 2K are aiming to elevate the WNBA mode with a handful of new features and deeper player progression.
“Since introducing The W to NBA® 2K, we’ve set out to develop one of the most comprehensive sets of game modes and features focused on a women’s professional league,” said Felicia Steenhouse, Senior Producer at Visual Concepts. “It’s grounded in authenticity and delivers an experience that honors and elevates some of the best ballers in the world: the women of the WNBA.”
In the latest Courtside Report, Visual Concepts outlined the changes, including new playable off-day activities, a new Badge progression system that provides more options for player customisation, and a revamped online mode that makes it easier to connect and play with friends. The Courtside Report is worth reading through the full details, but here’s a summary:
New Player Progression – With a new badge progression feature, players will be able to earn badges to improve their games as they embark on the journey to become WNBA legends.Competing on the court or grinding it out in practice, players will be able to equip and upgrade badges to customize their MyPLAYER builds based on their unique specialties;
Off-Day Experience – The W introduces three new playable activities to make off-days count. Scrimmages, team practices, and contact workouts provide the opportunity for players to hone their craft as they develop throughout the season. In a franchise first, historic and current WNBA stars can be challenged in contact workouts to acquire new skills on one’s own path to greatness;
The W Online – Returning to NBA 2K22 for PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X|S consoles, The W Online brings new ways to connect with the 2K community. Players will be able to link up with friends before the matchmaking process to take to the court as a team. By playing games in The W Online, players will be able to earn Season XP as they level up to earn new prizes and awards.Source: 2K Games press release
There’s one catch, however: as with last year’s game, The W is exclusive to the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S versions of NBA 2K22. On the one hand, that this mode could be used as a selling point for those versions (I can’t think of any technical reason this should be next-gen only) speaks to the growing—and long overdue—prominence of the WNBA more broadly. On another, what better way to “elevate” NBA 2K‘s WNBA mode than to have it as a standard part of every version of the game?
For next-gen players, at least, the improvements to The W in NBA 2K22 sound like welcome improvements, and a step further in embedding the WNBA as a core component of NBA 2K.