NBA 2K18’s “Run the Neighborhood” takes franchise to next level

In less than two weeks, NBA 2K18 will be available to fans everywhere. You may be thinking about how the folks at 2K could significantly improve the game after last year’s edition. Well, they’ve done it again.

The future of sports video gaming is here. In “The Neighborhood,” elements of MyPark, Pro-AM and MyCareer are brought together for players to truly experience the life of an NBA player.

Last week at their “#RunTheNeighborhood” Preview Event in New York City, 2K unveiled the evolution of the franchise with the introduction of the first live world inside NBA 2K18.

“We’ve elevated the NBA 2K experience to new heights by putting players at the center of a fully-immersive basketball environment to explore, socialize, and most importantly compete,” said Greg Thomas, President of Visual Concepts. “We can’t wait to see what this means for the future of the brand, and for fans to get their hands on NBA 2K18 starting September 15th.”

“The Neighborhood” takes the free world element that was introduced with the Grand Theft Auto series to give players an experience unlike anything ever seen in any sports video game.

In MyPLAYER, users’ virtual counterparts live in a neighborhood-like environment with numerous sites in the city to visit while also interacting with other MyPLAYERS.

In “The Neighborhood,” experiences and ratings are dictated by player actions, whether it’s running into Kyrie Irving, the game’s cover athlete, while getting a haircut at the barbershop, competing against locals in The Playground, getting inked at the tattoo parlor, listening to the latest beats or showing off the latest gear that can be purchased from the Foot Locker Store.

Speaking of the barbershop, during one of the stops of #RunTheNeighborhood, I got the chance to speak to Detroit Pistons forward Tobias Harris about his rating (78) in this year’s edition of NBA 2K.

“It’s trash, bottom line,” Harris said. “I’ll continue to improve at my game and on top of that, help my team get to the playoffs. I think that has an effect on some 2K ratings, for sure. To be honest, I thought my number was going to be in the range from 80-82, but after this year, I see it rising.”

That isn’t the only athlete featured in the game that had something to say about his rating. Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum explained his appreciation for his rating (86) over the years.

“I think I got an 86, so it’s not bad,” McCollum said. “I’ll continue to improve and continue to get better, but I started off at a 60, so I’m not complaining about an 86. I think everybody wants to be in that 90 range because that’s when you know you’re really elite, so at some point I want to get there.”

He also gave fans some advice on how to be effective when using his virtual self.

“I think my ability to create and make shots is very unusual, very versatile, very efficient. The key is figuring out ways to utilize pick and rolls, isos, transition and catch and shoot situations.”

Year after year, 2K gives basketball fans all around the globe (slight pun to Kyrie) the ultimate sports gaming simulation.

One of the major concerns for users in the past couple of weeks has been the idea of an alternate cover since Irving has been traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Boston Celtics. Jason Argent, Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations for 2K has news for those fans.

“We are excited to be part of one of the most memorable NBA offseasons in history with Kyrie, our 2K18 cover athlete, and Isaiah, one of the stars of our 2K roster, trading places,” Argent said. “This isn’t an unprecedented event, a cover athlete being traded – but it’s certainly interesting timing with 2K18 being released in less than a month. The good news is that as the most authentic and realistic basketball game on the market, we’re used to being nimble and responding to changes in the NBA. Fans should be thrilled to know that we will issue a version of 2K18 featuring Kyrie in a Boston Celtics uniform at a later date.”

Fans of the Celtics should be pretty excited about a version of 2K18 featuring Irving in a Boston uniform. When the trade was initially announced, Bleacher Report uploaded a mock cover of their own on Instagram.

Also new to the game is also the “Road to 99,” which rewards users for improving their MyPLAYER’s overall rating, regardless of which modes they chose to play, ultimately leading them to a 99 overall rating, the highest level in the game.

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Fans can get a free sneak peek of the neighborhood and get a head start on NBA 2K18, one week prior to the full release on September 8, when The Prelude is available for download on the PS Store and XBOX Live.