By Jeff Caplan, NBA.com
Reigning NBA MVP Kevin Durant dons the cover of the new “NBA 2K15″ video game that impressively elevates its standard of insanely realistic graphics and now unveils a first-of-its-kind technological breakthrough: a live TV show within the game.
Wrap your brain around that for a minute.
“NBA2K TV” is a live highlight and interview show designed to bind the NBA 2K community like no other video game has or can by delivering game news and community-driven content through a live studio television show. In many ways, says Jeff Thomas, Visual Concept’s executive vice president of development, the game is built around the weekly program that features as its host former Old Dominion star and sports broadcast personality Rachel A. DeMita.
The real-life DeMita — not an animated replica — will greet you every time you put on the game. She’ll provide a brief update on the latest happenings in the NBA 2K community. She might be back later with highlights of your game and ask you how you did it.
You getting this? In the game’s slickly produced trailer, a mesmerized Durant mutters, “Whoa, man, that’s sick.”
The actual show will be streamed into the game once a week and is planned to last about 15 minutes. It will feature fast-paced segments from highlights of actual NBA 2K games played by users who allow 2K to access their systems through the DVR function, plus highlights of NBA 2K tournaments and other large-scale events and interviews with actual game users and tournament winners and exclusive interviews with NBA players, coaches and experts.
NBA2K will be released on Oct. 7, which is also when the first live show will debut. The game will be released internationally on Oct. 10.
“There’s so many ‘wow’ moments as you play the game, as you’re experiencing things with your buddy,” Thomas said. “It may have come down to a last-second buzzer — we really do try to replicate the real NBA. You know how highlights are, how exciting that can be. Well, we really do try to replicate those moments and for our users and game players to share that with the world is what we’re really trying to capture. That’s one part of the content.”
Additional show content will include game news, behind-the-scenes looks at how NBA 2K was made, interviews with the game’s developers, plus NBA player cameos and basketball lifestyle.
“One of my favorite parts of this is I was a former Division I basketball player and to me the point of playing basketball and the point of playing video games is the same thing: to have a really amazing time competing,” DeMita said. “With the show, we always want to have a good time and show all of the culture and the entertainment value that surrounds the NBA, that surrounds NBA2K and that surrounds our gaming community. Everybody is coming there for essentially the same reason. Being able to bring these guys access to some of the things they couldn’t have access to before, for instance they wouldn’t know necessarily that someone in Maryland is at the top of the leader board, but I’ll be able to let the rest of the community know that.
“At the same time someone may not know that Kevin Durant loves to play NBA 2K, and also likes to play with other NBA players. So when I do interviews with him, the whole community will get to watch that and enjoy in those aspects of the culture.”
It is a brave new world. Game on.