NBA Live 10 First Look PreviewBy Andrew Pfister - Posted Jul 24, 2009
Madden is steady as she goes, and EA's NHL and FIFA franchises have enjoyed resurgences in the past couple seasons, but it's NBA Live that's been struggling against 2K Sports' NBA 2K series during this console generation. What is EA Canada planning to do to revitalize the long-running hoops series in NBA Live 10? Find out in our first-look preview.
The first area they're attacking aggressively is the game's presentation, in what looks like a top-to-bottom atmospheric overhaul. The development team spent their off-season traveling to different arenas, taking notes and recording team-specific chants and crowd behaviors. At the Staples Center in L.A., Lakers fans will start chanting for free tacos near the end of the game (Jack-in-the-Box does a free giveaway if the Lakers win and keep opponents to under 100 points), while fans in Boston are more blunt with their support, chanting "Beat L.A." if they're defending home court against the Lakers.
Every authentic team uniform imaginable is going to make it in the game, including special throwbacks and holiday-specific jerseys, while superstar players like Dwight Howard (the cover boy) and LeBron James will do their traditional pre-tipoff rituals. There's even a menu setting for "Atmosphere" that lets you pick between "Season," "Playoffs," and "Finals." Crowd noise will ramp up accordingly, the proper emblems and logos will appear on courts, presentation overlays, and uniforms, and the announcers will comment about the higher stakes.
I Got a Basketball Jones
On the court, Lead Gameplay Designer Mike Wang admits that the series has underperformed as of late. To address that, they're showing off their improved animation system that attempts to shed the herky-jerky, robotic flow that's been dogging Live. From what they showed us in the brief hands-off demo, improvements are already noticeable -- guards driving to the basket will get stopped, but adjust their shot angle in mid-air to avoid blocks, and players will dive for loose balls, knocking them out of bounds. They'll also move off the ball, making cuts to get open and generally keeping active, which is even tailored to team-specific offensive systems.
I Got a Basketball Jones, Oh Baby, Ooooohhhoooooo
There's a lot left to be seen from Live, including improvements to the online play and what they're specifically doing next with their Dynamic DNA system (which keeps player stats refreshed throughout the course of the real NBA season), but you can tell that the producers are working with a renewed sense of energy...something Live has needed for a while now.