EA lacing up its kicks next year with long dormant franchise
NBA Elite 11 got cancelled once upon a time, dramatically close to its expected release. Fast forward a few years. EA tried to get back in the simulation basketball game with NBA Live 13, but it too got canned due to "quality concerns." As good as the NBA 2K basketball series has become, quality definitely should be a concern for EA.
NBA Live 14 still seems far off. The game is shooting for a PS4 and Xbox One release. EA's booth featured a little sample of the game running on the PlayStation 4 and featuring Cavaliers rookie Kyrie Irving. Irving was restricted to half of the court with a zoomed in, practice mode style camera angle that really let you appreciate the high quality assets running on next gen. Generally speaking, I'm actually rather excited to see sports developers finally get a hardware bump that will allow them to cram more tech into what are generally meant to be realistic, simulation-style games.
Shooting around with Irving felt solid. The game features EA's Ignite Engine for the physics and though there wasn't any player on player contact, simply dribbling around felt well grounded and tactile. Mapped to the right analog stick was a a sensible series of moves -- up to stutter step, back to dribble behind the back, and so on.
In addition to these moves, star players will have unique, special move sets activated by holding L1 in concert with left analog flicks. All the moves can be linked and you can turn up into a shot at any moment rather than getting yourself stuck in a fancy animation. Shooting itself at this time didn't seem to go beyond holding square and praying. I tried to time shots as NBA 2K has gotten me accustom to and it didn't appear to make a difference.
NBA Live 14 is still a ways out, but competition is what drives sports games to be good, so hopefully EA can turn this once yearly franchise back into a solid product that can go one on one with NBA 2K.