The makers of the video game NBA2K created a new “player” based on a 15-year old Atlanta boy suffering from a rare genetic disorder whose Make-A-Wish desire was simply to tour the California game-maker’s 2K’s headquarters.
Instead, 2K surprised the boy, William Floyd, with what’s called an “authentically scanned’ version of him. The video version of Floyd will be added to the roster of playable athletes on the new NBA2K20, which otherwise features the NBA’s biggest stars. (In NBA2K20’s imagination, he is an awesome dunking machine for the Atlanta Hawks.)
Floyd was just 18 months old when he was diagnosed with a genetic disorder that causes muscle weakness and heart problems. Though he’s mobile, the medical conditions stop him from ever having an opportunity to participate in sports, so he played games like NBA 2K instead. Make-A-Wish went to work trying to get a special tour of the studio for him. (Now, the company says, Floyd imagines a future in which he’s a 2K employee.)
“Learning about his journey was really humbling, and we wanted to find a way to make William’s wish come true in the biggest way possible," said Ronnie Singh (also called Ronnie2K to his YoutTube subscribers), who is now 2K’s director of sports business operations.
Floyd got the whole sports icon treatment, including a session in a studio where 146 motion-capture Pixelgun cameras videoed all his movements and facial gestures. Then, as it does for the real stars, 2K artisans created an introductory dance.
Counting the previous 19 versions, NBA2K has sold 90 million copies to gamers since its introduction in 1999. The current version features Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers and former Miami Heat star Dwayne Wade on the cover. It was developed by Visual Concepts, and published by 2K, a label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.
Released in September, the current version was criticized for problems like features that froze and another feature that intermittently disappeared from the screen. Developers worked to resolve those issues, the company acknowledged to users via Twitter.