NBA 2K21 celebrates Kobe Bryant as their special cover star, reveals next-gen pathway

Posted on July 3, 2020

NBA 2K21 has been one by one revealing the cover stars of their multiple editions of the game over the last week, culminating in the reveal of legendary Kobe Bryant as their cover star for the Mamba Forever Edition of the anticipated basketball game.

Earlier in the week, it was revealed that five-time NBA All-Star and Portland Trail Blazers’ standout Damian Lillard would be on the cover of the current-gen version of NBA 2K21, while Zion Williamson – New Orleans Pelicans forward, 2019 1st Overall Pick and consensus 2019 National College Player of the Year, has landed the cover for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X version.

“Each of our cover athletes represent different eras of the game of basketball – Damian Lillard dominates the court today, Zion Williamson is a standard bearer for the next generation of NBA superstar and what more could be said about Kobe?,” stated Alfie Brody, Vice President of Global Marketing at NBA 2K. “Three athletes representing the current, future and storied history of the game. Today’s exciting announcement is just the first of many for NBA 2K21; it’s going to be a huge year for basketball fans and NBA 2K gamers.”

A release date was also confirmed as September 4th, along with it being available on PS5 and Xbox Series X as a launch title when they inevitably release Holiday 2020. This years edition is set to have “extensive improvements” over previous iterations, focusing on “best-in-class graphics and gameplay, competitive and community online features and deep, varied game modes” alongside “one-of-a-kind immersion”.

“NBA 2K21 is a monumental leap forward for the franchise,” said Greg Thomas, president of Visual Concepts. “We’re combining all of our experience and development expertise to craft the best game possible and for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, we are building the game from the ground up to take full advantage of next-gen power and technology.”

NBA 2K21

What some might find particularly interesting is that, across the editions, pricing is slightly different, and the pathway from current-gen to next-gen isn’t as clear cut as we’ve seen from other companies who are committed to making sure you don’t have to buy the same game more than once.

In Australia, NBA 2K21 will retail for $99.95 RRP for current generation consoles, but next gen versions of the game will be $109.95 RRP instead – yep, ten dollars more expensive. If you want to buy it on current generation and then have it again on the next generation of the same console family, you’ll be best off buying the Mamba Forever Edition for $149.95 RRP, which allows you to have both versions “at no extra cost”. MyTEAM Cross-Progression and a Shared VC Wallet within the same console family has also been confirmed.

This raises a few questions, and to be fair 2K might not be the only publisher choosing not to take advantage of what Xbox is calling Smart Delivery – but they are the first. It also is interesting that the cost for the next generation version is an extra 10 bucks. Is this a trend we can expect from the new generation of gaming? We’ll have to find out later in the year.

Regardless, I can’t think of a better choice of legend to slam dunk the cover of NBA 2K21 than the one and only Kobe Bryant. Kobe was also the cover athlete for NBA 2K10, the Legend Edition of NBA 2K17, but with his untimely death in January this year (wow, 2020 has truly been awful), it’s wonderful to see him honoured this year.

NBA 2K21 will release on September 4 for PS4, Switch and Xbox One, and will be a launch title for PS5 and Xbox Series X.