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NBA 2K21 confirmed for PS5, first footage shown

Coming fall 2020

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Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

NBA 2K21, this year’s entry in 2K Sports’ acclaimed long-running simulation basketball franchise, is coming to PlayStation 5, Sony announced Thursday during its “Future of Gaming” event.

A trailer shown during the livestream featured 19-year-old New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson, the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s NBA draft. In the video — which is billed as “actual PlayStation 5 pre-alpha NBA 2K21 footage” — Williamson dribbles and dunks on a practice court.

In an extended cut of the trailer released by 2K Sports after Sony’s event, Williamson and Greg Thomas, co-founder of NBA 2K developer Visual Concepts, provide some more details in an introduction before the “in-engine” footage. After playing a countdown of just two seconds, Thomas explained, “That’s the total time it will take to load NBA 2K21 on the PS5.” Sony has touted the speed of the console’s custom-built SSD, promising that it will essentially eliminate load times as gamers know them.

“For next-gen, NBA 2K21 will feature drastically improved load speeds, visual fidelity on an unmatched level and an unrivaled breadth of content for basketball fans and players,” 2K Sports said in a news release. “Fans can expect new game features, game modes, brand partnerships, social events, in-game experiences and a brand new soundtrack that will set the record as the most definitive collection of music ever assembled in a video game.”

NBA 2K21 is “built from the ground up for PS5,” according to the trailer’s YouTube description, which also promises “Next Gen graphics, load times, and power.” The game is scheduled to debut this fall; every year, NBA 2K typically arrives in late September. This year’s entry will likely be released on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PS5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

Update: We’ve added more details to the article, courtesy of an extended version of the trailer from 2K Sports.

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