Multiplayer basketball game NBA Playgrounds, a spiritual successor to the beloved NBA Jam series, has been given a release date. The arcade game will launch digitally on 9 May in North America for $19.99.
Worldwide release details have not yet been announced, but it is likely to launch the same day in other territories. The game will be released simultaneously on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch.
Developed by independent studio Saber Interactive and officially licensed by the NBA, Playgrounds is reminiscent of multiplayer classic NBA Jam, with its cartoonish style, large heads and memorable commentary.
All 30 of the NBA's teams are included in Playgrounds with at least three active players, plus retired veterans, to choose from before a two-on-two game. Additional players are unlocked through card packs earned by levelling up.
When you hear about card packs you might assume microtransactions follow, but Playgrounds will not feature the ability to buy new packs at launch. That may follow, however.
A sizeable 150 players will be available at launch with hundreds more set to be added as part of a free DLC pack currently in the works. IGN reports that there are no plans to introduce additional players as paid DLC.
Playgrounds will ship with basic competitive multiplayer between two or four players offline and just two players online. Four-player online play will be added in an early post-launch update.
Alongside the announcement, Polygon published five minutes of footage (below) showing off the basic gameplay and opening of card packs. Sadly, at no point does a commentator yell "BOOMSHAKALAKA!".
NBA Jam was first released by Midway in arcades in 1993 and for the Mega Drive and Super Nintendo a year later. The game has enjoyed a tone of sequels and ports, the last of which, called NBA Jam: On Fire Edition, was released in 2011 for PS3 and Xbox 360.