Next February 7th, Sega will make a play for the title of most authentic basketball sim ever produced. Despite poor sales of its 2K2 franchise iterations, the Japanese publisher/developer is applying itself to improving the game no end, and focusing on including all the intricacies of a real basketball game - graphically and in terms of control - rather like Konami's Pro Evo series does for football.
As such, we can look forward to players adjusting their movement in midair based on distance from the hoop and defensive pressure - rather like Leftfield's NBA Courtside 2002 - and a neater passing system which allows you better control of the ball and your team-mates to skirt round defenders or break away quickly. The physics behind the game will be extremely variable, so collisions, dunks and fouls will be felt to the degree they were delivered, and precise hand-to-ball contact will be important, with the ability to lunge for the loose ball a risky but potentially rewarding option.
Other highlights include the usual commentary duo matched with ESPN-branded presentation (thanks to a deal Sega did with the US sports network a while ago) and lifelike player animation.
NBA 2K3 is due out in February from Sega's European distributor Infogrames on PS2, Xbox and GameCube, and they sent over ten shots of the Xbox version to illustrate the game's progress. Get your eye on the ball here.
Will you support Eurogamer?