Earlier this week we were invited down to the 2K offices in New York City to demo the new NBA 2K14 game mode: “LeBron Path to Greatness.” It was eye-opening not just for the gameplay, which we’ve already revealed, but for the circumstances they’ve created as you progress through the next seven seasons of LeBron James‘ Hall of Fame career.
The NBA 2K Franchise has tried variations of this before with NBA 2K12‘s NBA’s Greatest mode and My Player mode, but the “LeBron Path To Greatness” mode will be even more intoxicating for a number of different reasons, not the least of which is the incredible player movement within the league to create the most iconic match-ups over the next seven seasons of James’ career.
The “LeBron Path to Greatness” mode is divided along two parallel trajectories that follow James over the next seven years of his career. Between next season and 2019-2020, a lot can happen — and the game developers have packed tons of interesting lineups together.
The first path is the “Heat Dynasty,” where LeBron stays with the Heat after next season and attempts to win seven rings to surpass Michael Jordan‘s total. The next path, “Fantasy Journey” features a lot more games — both regular season match-ups and playoff games other than the Finals — you have to win in order to continue. But with the increase in games, come some incredible scenarios the writers of the game set up over the next seven years of LeBron’s career; even fictional players were designed to make it somehow harder for LeBron to step into the glare of history as the NBA’s GOAT.
Within both career timelines you have to win as LeBron James in order to move on to the next game and ensuing storyline. It’s plotted like an incredible movie. Within each game there are also mini-challenges to accrue stars (which give you points) while you march along LeBron’s path to greatness, but they’re still working out game-by-game benchmarks to reach. For now, after visiting the 2K offices, we got to see all the crazy match-ups they’ve created in both LeBron story arcs. A lot of the players on different teams in these fictional futures will certainly create debate among 2K fans, but the CBA savants may decry the various superstar-laden teams they’ve put together as not being fiscally possible. But hey, it’s a freakin’ video game, so try and suspend the intricate details of the CBA while you lapse into the world they’ve created. Enough background, lets get into it.
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LEBRON PATH TO GREATNESS: MIAMI DYNASTY
This is a lot shorter, since they focus on one game for each of the seven next seasons, but the storylines are very in-depth in order to explain when, what, why and where the Heat are facing a particular opponent. There are a lot of game 7′s in the NBA Finals naturally, but not every year ends like it did last season for Miami in real life.
The Houston Rockets become one of the best teams in the league, winning 36 of their last 40 games. Chandler Parsons becomes an all-star, Dwight Howard is back to his 2009 form when he led the Magic to the Finals and James Harden is one of the top three MVP candidates for the year. Of course, LeBron and the Heat face the Rockets in the 2014 NBA Finals and must defeat them in a pivotal Game 7 in Miami.
This is where it starts to get really interesting since 2013-14 follows the narratives that are already in place less than a month before real training camps start. But for this season, the Golden State Warriors have signed Omer Asik away from the Rockets, and they’ve dominated the league all season (GO ‘DUBS!). The Heat are faced with the unenviable task of playing the Warriors in Oakland in a Game 7 to clinch the title. Just picture Oracle Arena at the loudest it’s ever been; yes, louder than the spring of 2007 when they upset Dallas. You — playing with LeBron’s Heat team — must beat a Warriors team on a tear in their home arena during Game 7 to win LeBron’s next NBA title.