Thoughts on the delay of NBA Elite and how they can fix it

October 1, 2010 in Basketball, Game Reviews, NBA

So far, NBA Elite has looked horrible

For the first time since the NBA 2K franchise burst onto the scene, the NBA season will begin this year with only one new basketball video game on the market.  In a stunning announcement on EA Sports President Peter Moore’s Blog, it was revealed that the release of NBA Elite 2011 (formerly the ‘Live’ franchise) will be pushed back indefinitely into next year (it was originally set for release on October 5th).

This is what Moore had to say:

This year, we set extremely ambitious goals for our new franchise, NBA ELITE.  We are creating a game that will introduce several breakthrough features that have been missing from the basketball genre.   Unfortunately, NBA ELITE 11 is not yet ready and we have made a decision to delay next month’s launch.  We are going to keep working until we’re certain we can deliver a breakthrough basketball experience.

The decision to delay NBA ELITE was hard because the game has great promise.  But ultimately we feel this is the right thing to do.  We’ve been making steady progress on basketball for the past few years and it’s going to take extra time to make the game.

Why make this decision now?  As with all of our titles, we continue to evaluate and improve the code right up until launch.  Feedback from consumers is a very important part of the process.  NBA ELITE had the benefit of play-testing, a demo and a lot of our own research.  All that feedback revealed some concerns about gameplay polish, so we’ve listened to your feedback, and made a judgment that the game would benefit from more time in development.

In other words, EA knew the game as it stood absolutely sucked (as demonstrated by the demo), and that if they released it to compete with 2K, they would be laughed out of the building.  I was pretty harsh in my review of the demo (available here), which I believe was justified because there was no excuse to releasing a game that looked and played like NBA Elite — especially not after NBA Live 2010, which was a very competitive title.

The good news is that NBA Jam will now be released on the PS3 and XBox360 as a standalone game (previously it was packaged together with Elite) by Christmas.  As compensation for loyal Live fans, EA will offer free roster and player DNA updates for the entire upcoming NBA season.

(click on ‘more…’ to read thoughts on the delay and suggestions on how they can fix the game — with videos!)

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