Each year NBA 2K comes out, the most anticipated areas of the game that the majority of people want to hear news about are the Playground and MyCareer. Being a franchise guy, MyLeague and MyGM are very important as well, but I know that I’ll usually spend the most time in MyCareer. With NBA 2K20 now being out for for a couple weeks, I have taken the time to go back through my odyssey with MyCareer’s amazingly messy and wild launch.
A Strong Story Doused In Realism
Over the last few iterations of NBA 2K, we’ve seen a similar narrative of a rags-to-riches type of come up where our player has something happen that forces us to work our way back to the NBA through different avenues. This year’s MyCareer story is no different in this lineage of story narrative, but adds in a little bit of a different perspective in terms of its real world connection. Produced by LeBron James and SpringHill Entertainment, his production company with best friend Maverick Carter, it should be to the surprise of nobody that the story is based on your player and his moral compass in doing what is right no matter the cost and sacrifice. The narrative borrows from James’ real life of using his platform as an athlete and celebrity to uplift and empower those who are less fortunate while lending his voice to speak for those who might be ignored in regular circumstances.
As Che, this year’s nickname given to your player (yes, a nickname is still chosen for us as it has been over the last few MyCareer stories), you find yourself having to work your way back to the NBA after quitting your college team near the end of your senior year in support of your teammate and friend after his scholarship is wrongly taken away due to an injury suffered during the season. I found the story to be well written and well executed. While not painfully long, you’re taken through the process of making your way to the NBA and have to earn your way into the NBA Draft Combine, and by extension the NBA Draft.
There isn’t much in-game gameplay within the story arc as it’s more focused on the narrative. This bothered me at first, but after my third playthrough (yeah, third — more on that in a second) I found that not playing 5 to 10 games based around the story wasn’t actually that bad of a thing. You’ll play two games and a 1-on-1 game based on your choice of city that is considered “home” for your Che. You’ll also have to go through the Draft Combine drills yourself as well as the team workouts for the teams you choose to have a chance to get drafted by in the NBA Draft.
Despite the strength in the story, scripting and cast, which includes Idris Elba, Rosario Dawson and Thomas Middleditch, the game itself was obviously a comedy of errors at launch.
If It Ain’t Broke…Then Break It
We’ll most likely never find out the culprit, but NBA 2K20’s launch was almost a complete disaster due to several issues within MyTeam, the Playground and MyCareer. I personally had to restart my player build and MyCareer file four times before I experienced what now appears to be full stability. In my first attempt, I imported my slashing playmaker point guard build I created in the 2K20 demo right into MyCareer. Because the build was made there, it should have imported as is with no problem. Without fail, I had problems. Big problems.
After playing the first college game that you’re subjected to at the beginning of the story, I felt like the appearance of my character looked a little off. It actually took me importing my second build to notice the issue, but my initial build didn’t have a name. After creating my player, name and all in the demo, he imported into the story without a name. Upset that this happened, I still continued to play as I didn’t want to start over for something so small (yet important). It was at this point, after the first game, that 2K20 and its servers decided I wasn’t worthy enough to continue playing; I ended up getting the dreaded “079d6cdc” error message telling me that I had disconnected from the 2K servers. No big deal, right? All I would have to do was just go back into the file and continue where I left off.
Well, (un)luckily for me, as if I were a press member interviewing Magic Johnson back in April, my MyCareer file decided that it was “…not gon’ be here” and upon trying to get back into the mode, my file was corrupt. Not fully upset (yet), I decided to import my second build I was considering and started over. I’d only just played the first game of the story with that first file, so I didn’t stress what happened too much. As mentioned earlier, after importing the second file and getting into the first game, this was the point where I realized that my player was the “Man with No Name.” After realizing that this happened with my first file and was now happening again, I felt a little irritation, but again, decided to forge ahead and continue to play.
As I was going through this, these were the sort of tweets blowing up on Twitter:
2k community: *Gets promised the world by ronnie 2k. Gets broken game*
— Shy (@shymoney20) September 10, 2019
After finishing the first game and reaching the first point of the story where you could do some minor things with your player such as upgrade attributes, change mode settings and the like, I was once again greeted with the “079d6cdc” error. My internal temperature started to rise as quickly as my rage levels were. At this point, I decided to hit up Twitter and see if these issues were widespread. As we all now know, I was not alone.
As a writer for this website, I’ve had the opportunity and honor to meet and speak with various influencers and people within the Madden, NHL, FIFA, NBA Live and NBA 2K communities. I only say that because the NBA 2K community and its personalities were ablaze on Twitter, firing off issue after issue. I wasn’t the only person receiving random and constant disconnects from the server. With slight relief, I hoped to have better luck trying to re-enter the second player I had. Luck cast a short gust of wind towards me as I was able to get back into the story.
After doing so, I unfortunately decided to upgrade my build slightly. Mistake number two. After throwing on some attribute points and saving, I waited almost five minutes for the game to load, or save — or whatever it was doing, only to be greeted by another wretched disconnect error. This second file ended up being corrupted as well.
At this point, you could probably imagine the level of frustration that I was at. I had not managed to really get anywhere into the story. The game was taking forever just to load screens. It kept eating my files. I was just about over MyCareer, and it was only day three of the game being out. Forever a sucker for punishment, I went ahead and started a fresh MyPlayer Builder, creating a Glass Cleaning Rim Protector off of suggestion from fellow OS writer Matt Llewellyn. I was relatively satisfied by what the potential of a full decked out player of this quality could be and felt that I’d be a good asset to a squad whenever I’d finally venture onto the Playground.
With this third build, I managed to get past the first game, make it back home to New York to beat Kemba Walker in a 1-on-1 game and then accept his offer to speak with his agent. With the game looking to finally be in working order, I was on my way to make it to the NBA. However, this dream was dashed because this time around I failed to gain any progress on the MyPoints bar and was actually receiving negative points towards badges.
Quickly running back to Twitter, this too was another common issue happening. I had enough at this point. I was seconds away from breaking my controller, but cooler heads prevailed. I quit MyCareer and stared blankly at the home menu of NBA 2K20 as Belly and Nav rapped that I should “…try to maintain.” Boy, was I ever trying to. I took to the OS staff group chat to voice my gripes to the guys. Matt [Llewellyn] wasn’t experiencing the problems I was, so naturally I was jealous that he was seemingly playing without issue.
After feeling a break was necessary, I decided to go try MyGM. A franchise mode player through and through, MyGM and MyLeague are usually the two modes that I stray over to more often than not. After starting up a new MyGM file with the Toronto Raptors, I went through the first cutscene with the owner. My character didn’t look like me, which I found quite odd. I didn’t think much of it and continued to play through the mode a little. After using a couple AP (Action Points) to speak with team coach Nick Nurse and wondering why my character looked so off, I decided to go snoop around to see what was going on with my scan. Entering into the “Edit Head” feature within the options of MyGM, I stared at a face that was not mine, which was quite confusing considering that my face scan was done when the demo was released — and the scan had properly carried over to my previous three attempted players in MyCareer. Choosing the scan face option, I was greeted with a message that incited maximum levels of rage and almost caused me to write off my beautiful 55-inch 4K TV: “We were unable to find head scan data.”
How was this possible?
In a panic, I quickly quit the application and restarted the game, heading right back to the MyCareer file that was my third attempt with the broken progress bars. I felt my body start to shake at an almost violent level after trying to access this third file, only for it to be corrupted. That was it. This was the last straw. On one hand, I wasn’t too upset (beyond the initial blazing rage) as I really had not progressed far enough into the story to be losing much. The anger, rage and frustration was all wrapped up in the fact that I’d now gone through three files and had lost all three — and then to top it off had my face scan mysteriously get wiped out as well.
This was my time that was being taken from me. Unlike some people, I don’t have the luxury of being able to play video games for hours on end as a I have a regular 9-5 job and two kids. I squeeze games into literally every free moment I have not dealing with work or my children. To have this kind of thing happen was unacceptable. I turned off my PS4 and sat in darkness for a few minutes, then ventured back to Twitter once again, this time tweeting out my frustrations to my followers.
NBA 2K has been known for shaky launch weekends for years. This year’s was by far the worst one. After multiple patches and an update, there is now hope and signs that the 2K development team is trying to put this nightmare of a launch weekend behind them. Now into my fourth MyCareer file, I’m safely into my time in the NBA, having been drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers. I’ve yet to (knock on wood) experience any of the previous issues that I encountered during the launch window.
The story behind MyCareer is now over it seems, but there is much more immersion in the mode this year than in the past. You interact with your teammates in the locker room before and after games. There’s more mini cutscenes where the assistant coach lets you know how you’re doing, either at halftime or after a game. Before my first nationally televised game against the Houston Rockets, the team PR person let me know how important the game was for me in terms of popularity and exposure. Pretty dang cool. Endorsement negotiations are the same as last year except that there’s actual conversation with the respective representative of the company seeking your services, your agent and yourself beforehand. Instead of the same old boring interviews over and over as seen last year, there is variety this year in how you’re approached for interviews.
I could go on about the positive changes made here, but the point is it would have been nice to have these sort of feelings before the three corrupted files. Oh, what a wild launch it was.