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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NBA 2K11 or NBA Elite 2011?

September 8, 2010 in Basketball, Boxing, Game Reviews, NBA

[Update: To read my thoughts on the NBA 2K11 demo (with a few thoughts on Elite thrown in), click here, and to read about my thoughts on the NBA Elite 2011 demo (with a few thoughts on 2K thrown in), click here]

Still early days…well, not really.  We’re about a month away from the release of the games (5 October 2010), and so far there has been surprisingly little information released on both NBA 2K11 and NBA Elite 2011 (formerly the ‘Live’ franchise).

We know NBA 2K11 is bringing back Michael Jordan (personally not that excited about it but I know a lot of fanboys are spraying their baggy shorts) and a bunch of legendary teams from the past.  We know they still have essentially the same control system plus a slightly revamped My Player Mode (with press conferences where you can choose how you want to answer questions — not sure about how good of an idea this is — if there isn’t enough variety it could get old in a hurry).  Apart from that, the game looks and feels very much like NBA 2K10, which was excellent and in my opinion better than NBA Live 2010.

As for NBA Elite 2011, everything is changing.  Apparently they are revamping the game from the ground up, and the biggest thing they’ve got is the new hands-0n controls that allow you do control every move on the court.  It’s also got, supposedly, real-life physics, ‘real’ AI (are they suggesting all the AI before was fake?) and some new ‘Be a Pro’ mode, which is a subtle rip-off of My Player, but involves you trying to become ‘Legendary’ (I suppose like Fight Night Round 4).  And the big bonus — it will allow access to three modes of the long-awaited return of one of the greatest basketball games ever, NBA Jam!

Looking at the visuals, the fluidity and sheer awesomeness of the moves, I’d probably still say 2K has the edge at the moment, though Elite does intrigue me with its new control system.  If 2K thinks it can just throw in Michael Jordan and basically keep everything else the same (we haven’t really heard of any actual gameplay improvements), then they might be in trouble this year — or at least they ought to be.  I like the fact that these two franchises are competing and keeping each other in check.

I’m not going to post the trailers because NBA Elite 2011 hasn’t posted a proper one yet, and the stuff that’s out there at the moment makes the game look pretty awful in comparison to NBA 2k11, which I don’t believe is fair.

HOWEVER, when looking for some gameplay photos I found this beauty from the EA Sports website (they make NBA Elite).  Well, I think the caption just about says it all…these EA guys clearly have no idea what they are doing when it comes to basketball…

For those who can't see the caption it says: 'Kevin Durant sets up for a three pointer'...well done EA!

We’re in real trouble.