Next year, 2K gets to try its hand at some sort of NFL games again. We don't know what it'll be quite yet, but we know now it won't have to settle for fake players. 2K Games and the NFLPA have struck a deal that will allow 2K to use the names, jerseys, and likenesses for over 2,000 current NFL players.
For those keeping score, that's the entire league plus fringe players you likely haven't heard of. An NFL roster is 54 players and there are 32 teams, so that still leaves over 300 other players who aren't even on teams currently. In short, it's everybody.
Combined with the original deal that gave 2K the NFL license, this means their NFL games in development will contain all the players and teams you know and love. The deal also reveals that multiple games are in development, though the details in a press release do not make clear whether that means multiple series or multiple entries in the same series.
“We’re thrilled to be working with the NFLPA and OneTeam to bring the biggest and best stars in football to the games we’re working on,” said David Ismailer, President of 2K. “We want to give fans experiences that are authentic, memorable and fun, and having a roster of real-life sports heroes through the Players Association and OneTeam is a huge part of delivering on that promise.”
As mentioned at the time of the original reveal, the 2K NFL games will be "non-simulation," as EA maintains exclusive rights over that style of game, at least for now. That means players can perhaps expect something closer to NFL Blitz or NFL Street in the future. Perhaps it will even be NFL 2K Playgrounds, which would follow the publisher's work on the NBA Playgrounds series. This fall, the label will also debut the first-ever WWE Battlegrounds, an arcade pro wrestling game.