NBA 2K21: What we know so far

nba 2k21
(Image credit: Sony)

The PS5 will have sports games, as we learned with the reveal of NBA 2K21 at the PS5 June 11 event. While the NBA had to suspend its season in real life due to public health concerns, NBA 2K21, which will probably launch alongside the PS5, suffers from no such limitations. In NBA 2K21, you’ll be able to guide your favorite team to victory in a simulation of the NBA’s 2021 season, with realistic graphics, rapid load times and immersive 3D audio.

Like most other games revealed in the PS5 June 11 showcase, we don’t have a tremendous amount of information about NBA 2K21 just yet. But we do know that the New Orleans Pelicans and Zion Williamson, one of the players on that team, will be in the game. And for a lot of sports fans, that alone should represent a promising start.

Williamson introduced the game’s trailer, which we’ve embedded below:

What we saw was pretty standard NBA 2K gameplay. You’ll play out matches between real-life NBA teams, using actual players to simulate what a season could look like. Williamson will be one of the players available; expect to see just about everyone else who’ll be active in the 2021 season. In fact, if the 2021 NBA season suffers similar restrictions as the 2020 season, NBA 2K21 may wind up being the most satisfying basketball experience that fans get all year.

We also know the game’s release date: Fall 2020. Since The PS5 itself comes out a little bit later (holiday 2020), this suggests that NBA 2K21 will come out for other systems before it launches on Sony’s next-gen console. But if you do decide to hold off until the end of the year, you could theoretically play the game with the PS5’s endemic enhancements, such as shorter load times, better resolutions and faster frame rates. It really depends on how fast you need a fix of basketball action.

Beyond that, we’ll have to wait and see what else NBA 2K21 has in store. Both fans and critics received NBA 2K20 politely, evaluating the game as a good sports diversion, but not necessarily an unmissable classic in the genre. Perhaps NBA 2K21 will be similar. As long as it’s at least fairly good, it should be a good representation of what the PS5 can pull off when it comes to sports games.

To see which other games Sony has announced, follow our PS5 live blog. This is where you can read about every game that Sony has revealed so far today, from exclusive launch titles to experimental projects slated for 2022. There’s also some more information about the DualSense controller, and now, we even know what the PS5 console itself will look like.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.