Design and implement Quest content in the Neighborhood Social Space.
Create rewards for Quest content.
Design, implement, and balance Rival AI to act as boss-level encounters for Quest content.
NBA 2K23 First Look Trailer
Quest content in NBA 2K23 was one of my main focuses for this project. NBA2K's quests are achievement based quests, meaning we assign the player 1-3 tasks in a quest and they must complete all of those in a specific game setting. For instance, we would ask the player to make 5 3-Point shots in a 2v2 Park Game or Score 40 Points in an NBA Game. Quests were narratively structured into Questlines given to the player by Rival NPC's scattered throughout the neighborhood. Each questline contained 3 'Substories' these substories were how we provided a sense of difficulty progression in quests. Substory 1 would usually introduce the player to a mechanic of basketball and have them complete a small number (2 Rebounds or 2 Layups), Substory 2 would then increase the amount of times the player had to perform that task (10 Rebounds or 15 Layups), finally in Substory 3 we would assign the player a more difficult task that still fit with the theme of the questline or fit the mechanics we were looking to teach (10 Offensive Rebounds or 10 Euro-Step Layups).
Rival NPC Quest Givers (Top Left: Sam, Top Middle: Robert, Top Right: Reevis, Bottom Left: Courtney, Bottom Right: Rodney)
Example of a Quest as seen in the Player's Quest Journal UI.
Rewards were a vital part of the Quest experience and one of my major roles on this project. I was in charge of determining what kinds of rewards to give out and how to balance them to reflect the type of effort we were asking players to put into quests.
I gave 3 types of rewards to players Currency, Mechanical, or Cosmetic. Currency was our in game currency called VC, so the player could take that currency and spend it on whatever item they wished at any of our shops in the Neighborhood. Mechanical rewards were items that could only be given once and would effect the player's performance in a game, much like a perk or boost. Cosmetics were any type of object that modified the player's appearance and allowed them to show off personality to others in the social Neighborhood space.
Example of a Cosmetic Reward, MyCOURT cosmetics were given after Rival Encounters so the player can personalize their MyCOURT with themese from the Rival they had defeated.
Example of a Cosmetic Reward, clothing is a big aspect of NBA2K. Rewarding players with unique clothing to show off in the Neighborhood not only makes the player feel unique, it also shows off their in-game accomplishments.
The Rivals content was a brand new feature in NBA 2K23 that I was in charge of designing and implementing. Rival Encounters are 1 on 1 matches in the player's MyCOURT that act as a boss fight or endcap to the Quest experience. Each Rival is faced at the end of a Substory and their playstyle reflects the main mechanics the player had to perform in the questline. For instance, in Courtney's questline she had the player performing a number of rebound tasks so in her encounters she was highly skilled at rebounding.
Each Rival's playstyle was influenced by their position on the court and an actual NBA All-Star. My main goal was to take these playstyles and make them unique to the hand crafted characters we made and bring out their personality through their gameplay. The Rivals are:
Rodney - A defensive-minded Center. Rodney's skills are influenced by Dwight Howard and his primary skills are Blocking and Dunking in the painted area.
Courtney - A Power Forward build that is great at rebounding and Shooting, also known as a Stretch 4 build. Her influence was the WNBA star Breanna Stewart, known for taking 3-Point shots and if she didn't make the shot she would be the first to get the rebound.
Reevis - A Cowboy themed Point Guard. Reevis is based on Allen Iverson, a player known for expert Ball Handling skills and impressive Driving Layups. Reevis' speed and ball handling makes him a challenging opponent to defend.
Sam - Our Shooting Guard based on James Harden. Masterful Ball Handling skills paired with the ability to stretch the floor with impressive 3-Point shots, Sam is deadly at range or driving towards the basket.
Robert - The 'Run-and-Gun' Small Forward based on Julius 'Doctor J' Erving. Robert has maximum Speed, Ball Handling, and Dunking skills allowing him to be the biggest showboat out of all the rivals. He also has a significant steal skill that makes him a defensive threat just as much as an offensive threat.
A reel of highlights and plays performed by the Rivals in their encounters.
Music: Feels Like Greatness - Vo Williams