NBA2K20 Adds Women Into the Game

Two years after NBA Live brought the WNBA into video games, 2K makes their mark on the league.


Jake Ilkka

“NBA Live 18” was the first basketball video game to add the WNBA in recent times. Now, “NBA2K20” added the WNBA without the option for players to create their own female players, after last year’s “NBA Live 19” was released with the feature.

NBA2K20 aims to provide a more realistic feature than some of the other sports games on the market: the Women’s National Basketball Association, or the WNBA. The addition of the WNBA into “NBA2K20” is the first time the game series has featured five on five women’s basketball. But with the absence of key features in the few game modes offered, the feature takes a back seat to the experiences provided by other sports games.

The only two game modes that feature the WNBA are Play Now and Season. In Play Now, a player can choose to play as any of the 12 WNBA teams and play against either a friend or a computer player. In the Season mode, a player can take any WNBA team through a normal season and see if they can win the WNBA championship. In an interview with The Seattle Times, Seattle Storm player Natasha Howard expressed her joy for the league’s inclusion.

“It’s going to be fun and to actually look like ourselves too, like our hair and our tattoos, especially me looking at myself too,” Howard said. “It’s going to be amazing, and I can’t wait to play.”

The problems of the game come in the Season mode when players cannot trade, release, sign or edit any playable characters. Separate from the Season mode, players cannot edit rosters of players to replicate trades in the league. Junior Evan Edwards, is a casual sports video game player and believes that the addition of the WNBA into “NBA2K20” is better than the first attempts of other popular sports games.

“They innovated on the graphics already in the franchise and changed the game for the better,” Edwards said. “Having the league in the game could lead to more popularity for the game and the league.”

“NBA Live 18” was the first basketball video game to feature the WNBA, receiving light praise for its’ addition to sports video games. The game built upon the foundation in their next release of “NBA Live 19” by adding the feature of female player creation. Back before the release of “NBA Live 18,” the executive producer of the game, Sean O’Brien, did an interview with Polygon on the possibilities of having the WNBA in basketball video games.

“The WNBA is home to some of the most incredible athletes on the planet, and we’ve been working hard to integrate them into our game in an authentic and meaningful way,” O’Brien said. “This is only a taste of what we have in store, and look forward to working with the league on more great integrations in the franchise in the future.

The developers of both series are planning to keep the league in the game for more years to come with more things for fans to do with a new crop of players to use in the game.