The Jordan Challenge is brought back in NBA 2K23, avoiding any expense

The Jordan Challenge is brought back in NBA 2K23, avoiding any expense ...

It's quite difficult to be authentically fired up about a superstar who is so well-known and whose career highlights are so familiar as Michael Jordan. But I invite sports enthusiasts to watch this trailer for NBA 2K23 and not get a lump in their throats, even if they know what's coming: The Shot over Craig Ehlo, The Shrug at Marv Albert, and The Flu Game, standing off the court in Scottie Pippens arms.

The Jordan Challenge, the heart of a pioneering sport video game created 12 years ago, is now available in NBA 2K23 with a spared-no-expense level of detail and presentation that is, even from the preview cut shown to media on Monday, legitimately impressive. Its also the testimonials from those who have long been associated with Jordan and his career, from Dennis Rodman and Phil Jackson to Mike Fratello and Ahmad Rashad, and the genuine respect they instill in a player who has no shortage

According to executive producer Erick Boenisch, this generation of NBA fans didnt get the opportunity to see Michael play live, to see him play on television, or to see him play in person. So everything that they know about this person is from YouTube, word of mouth, or their parents. This is a fantastic opportunity for us to share the story of Michael Jordan with a whole new generation of NBA fans.

  • In addition to a virtuoso motion capture performance, NBA 2K23 studio Visual Concepts developed a series of filters and overlays to mimic the look of CRT televisions from 30 years ago. Image: Visual Concepts/2K Sports
  • Image: Visual Concepts/2K Sports
  • Image: Visual Concepts/2K Sports
  • Image: Visual Concepts/2K Sports
  • Image: Visual Concepts/2K Sports
  • Image: Visual Concepts/2K Sports
  • Image: Visual Concepts/2K Sports
  • Image: Visual Concepts/2K Sports

When NBA fans revisit Chicago Stadium, Madison Square Garden, Richfield Coliseum, and the Great Western Forum with a like-it-was-yesterday atmosphere, they don't know why. They studied the arenas and even used sponsors old logos on stadium banners.

Mike [Wang] and his team do all kinds of custom work for college basketball, for the WNBA, and in the NBA 2K series, according to Boenisch, and those are things that we just didn't have the company size to accomplish back then.

The Jordan Challenge for NBA 2K23 starts with one of its five new moments, the 1982 NCAA National Championship match between the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Georgetown Hoyas, featuring former NBA teammates Patrick Ewing. James Worthy and Sam Perkins will take the court in their alma maters uniforms, as will Ewing and Eric Sleepy Floyd, who will be viewed by the Hoyas coach, John Thompson.

Weve tried to get North Carolina for a number of years now, according to Boenisch, referring to the NBA 2Ks MyCareer mode's college portion. They always had their reasons for not wanting to do it. Pitching them, we said, Here's our vision for the game this year, Mike's involved, Mike wants this, and they said, OK, great. Let's do this.

NBA 2K23 will feature the voice of the public address announcer who ushered in the Bulls' starting lineup in FROMMMMMM North. That's Ray Clay, who recorded a whole audio library similar to what more than 30 stadium PAs did for NBA 2K22, enabling teammates like Bill Cartwright and B.J. Armstrong to have authentic game-day treatment.

The Jordan Challenge isn't a case of window dressing and presentation. Wang, the game director, said his team understood its obligation to ensure that NBA 2K23s moments feel and play the way they did in the 1990s. The most obvious example of this is the Detroits notorious Jordan Rules, which pinned up MJ for punishment every time he got near the basket and sought to frustrate him with a constant rotation of Bad Boy defenders.

Wang said that to make things work, they'll force him to his left on drives, and then they'll double-team him on drives. If [Jordan] posts up, they'll come in double with the power forward and center, and then every time you go to the rim you get hammered hard, with crazy, hard fouls.

Boenisch contacted NBC Sports broadcast partners Marv Albert and Shaquille ONeal to complete the picture. Ahmad Rashad, a longtime Jordan pal, is also interviewed.

We brought [Fratello] in, and he just started rattling off lines, Boenisch said. We had done our homework, we prepared the scripts, but we weren't aware of this before. He was simply incredible. He really brought the energy to the broadcast, and you will notice it when you play the game.

I can remember, vividly, when I saw The Shot with my father, his editor, and the sports editor, all Carolina alumni. I can remember seeing Jordans change his hands against the Lakers at a graduation celebration after my senior year of high school. I can remember Karl Malones' utterly stoic expression, as a sick man stole his best hope for a championship ring.

Wang said it was a labor of love. We have a lot of old faces on our team, a lot of our colleagues, and a lot of individuals who came into this field because of Michael Jordan. So, being able to do it was a lot of fun for us.

The Jordan Challenge will be available in all NBA 2K23 versions on September 8 for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, and Xbox Series X.