NBA 2K17's career mode will introduce the ability to expand the current 30-team league to 36 clubs, a first for any licensed team sports video game, the game's senior producer said today on Operation Sports.
Until now, sports video games with career modes have allowed users to relocate franchises or realign their divisional structure. NBA 2K17 will be the first to add new franchises and incorporate them into the scheduling, draft, free agency and other complex parts of a league's off-the-court administration.
League customization options will also allow users to insert edited or rebranded NBA teams, classic teams (i.e., ones from past seasons with rosters of retired stars) or teams from the Euroleague.
Senior producer Erick Boenisch said NBA 2K17 will come with 10 pre-packaged, fictitious expansion clubs that are ready to fill out a 36-team league. Complete team designs can be created with the NBA 2K online toolkit to be shared and downloaded as well for expansion teams. That means, among other things, the Seattle SuperSonics can return to the NBA.
Boenisch said the game's draft lottery, scheduling and other offseason apparati will accommodate extra teams in a realistic way. The commentary library of announcers Kevin Harlan, Clark Kellogg and Doris Burke will also acknowledge the new teams in a realistic manner.
Furthermore, as a MyGM career mode extends into the future, the league AI may initiate expansion on its own (if that option is checked). That will then require a user to protect players on his or her roster and leave others exposed to an expansion draft to create the new team or teams, following the same protocols as in the NBA's 1988, 1989 and 1995 expansions.
NBA 2K17 launches Sept. 20 for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.