Saber Interactive has announced that its two-on-two arcade basketball game NBA Playgrounds is getting a sequel, due to arrive on Xbox One, PS4, PC, and Switch later this year.
NBA Playgrounds 2 will add new online and local multiplayer game modes, new courts, new music, and a new single-player Season mode that, says Saber, "recreates the feeling of leading a team through the regular season, playoffs, and, ultimately, the NBA Championship itself".
The sequel will also introduce four-player online matches, a new worldwide ranked league system for competitive solo and co-op play, known as Playgrounds Championship mode, and improved matchmaking with dedicated servers.
On the court, NBA Playgrounds 2 will feature new moves and power-ups, improved AI, plus overhauled player models and animations.
Saber says there'll be over 200 current and retired NBA players (again unlockable through the rather controversial, loot-box-style card packs system), with familiar faces including Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Davis, DeMar DeRozan, Damian Lillard, Karl-Anthony Towns, Shaquille O'Neal, Magic Johnson, Dr. J., Allen Iverson and Larry Bird.
It's fair to say that the original NBA Playgrounds was a divisive experience, with its slow pace and somewhat overly fussy action seemingly at odds with its arcade roots. "There's something slightly tacky about NBA Playgrounds," said Eurogamer's Martin Robinson in his review last year, "and that's borne out by a certain sloppiness throughout".
"Despite several shortcomings, it is more than a cheap knock-off, though, and thanks to some smart ideas and novel twists there's an enjoyable tribute to be found here".
Switch owners, however, might be understandably cautious about a new NBA Playgrounds game. The original was dogged by problems on Switch, suffering from technical issues and lacking crucial features - including online play - at launch. What's more, it continued to lag far behind its PC and console counterparts in terms of content throughout 2017.
It only began to approach parity with other platforms earlier this year when Saber Interactive took the unusual step of releasing an entirely new version of the game rather than patch the original, seemingly to bypass certain eShop restrictions. Hopefully NBA Playgrounds 2 will fair better on Switch when it arrives later in 2018.