The NBA 2K series has been the standard-bearer of sports-gaming franchises for seven years and fans should expect no change to that with the launch of next-gen consoles.
With the Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X both releasing this week, sports gamers are licking their lips in anticipation of NBA 2K21 - a launch title on both platforms.
NBA 2K is a wildly successful sports-gaming franchise, with Statista showing it comprehensively outsold both Madden and FIFA in the US in 2018 and 2019.
The pressure to maintain the quality of their annual titles is embraced by game developer, Visual Concepts.
Executive Producer Erick Boenisch says his team has taken their trademark immersive gaming experience to a new level with the latest release that will bring players as close to the court as LeBron James and Kiwi Steven Adams.
"Our goal is simulation-realism," Boenisch tells Newshub.
"We want it to look like and feel like you are watching a game on your TV in every way possible. Yes the graphics are incredible, but we have added two key features to the next-gen game that make this the closest replication to basketball that we have ever produced."
If you've ever wished the virtual crowds in sports games were more lifelike, NBA 2K on the PS5 or Series X has a particularly exciting new feature.
"Because we have the extra memory and ability through next-generation consoles, we have created over 150 unique actors, per arena, and they will move around interactively throughout the games," says Boenisch.
"You'll see cheerleaders racing out of the tunnel during timeouts, you'll see security guards out on court to assume their roles.
"We have the mop boy in real-time, mopping the court and the referees will also be moving and officiating in real-time. We also have licensed every single mascot. So you'll see them interacting with the crowd.
"It's a really organic feeling watching the game play out as if you are in the arena. It's never felt more lifelike than it does in this game."
Boenisch also says the game will include a brand new commentary team, including NBA great Grant Hill - adding to the broadcast quality already provided by the voice of the NBA Kevin Harlan, Doris Burke and Chris Webber.
Keeping the game fresh is one of the most challenging aspects of delivering a yearly sports title. Being able to produce more than a facelift to in-game menus and a roster update is crucial.
"If you look at our history, every year we bring something new to the table, something that makes our customers feel comfortable spending their money on our new game," says Boenisch.
"We are accustomed to delivering on that standard and we would be failing at our job if we just mailed it in every year."
The biggest carrot for next-gen NBA 2K players might just be 'The City', which provides gamers with a virtual basketball community where they can travel around a slew of buildings and basketball courts and interact with fellow players online.
"Imagine a map that is many, many times larger than previous neighbourhoods in 'The Park' [2K's current-gen community]," says Boenisch.
"A design that resembles a modern metropolis, complete with towering skyscrapers, sprawling plaza and a city centre. Oh, and it houses four distinct boroughs that are controlled by four rival Affiliations.
"The City is our most ambitious execution of a virtual basketball community, ever."
As for the reason for the continued success of the NBA 2K franchise? Boenisch credits the relationship built between the NBA and 2K since 2014.
"We grow the NBA brand and we try to be very respectful of that. They know we represent the sport, the players and the NBA in the brightest way possible," he says.
"We have a tremendous relationship with the NBA and I'd like to think we are their biggest partner - they're certainly ours.
"That partnership is continuing to blossom."
NBA 2K21 is released on November 12.