Executive producer of NBA Live 14 Sean O’Brien has posted an open letter discussing his decision to return to EA Sports, how he evaluated what was in place, changes he helped make with the development team, and technology that has been worked on internally.
The first thing that I wanted to do when I got to Orlando was set the direction for the team. After playing and evaluating the state of NBA LIVE and talking to as many people as I could, I realized that the overall vision was lacking. When you are creating any type of product, you need to understand what your end goal is and that needs to be based on what the consumer and the market is demanding. I want NBA LIVE to be an authentic NBA simulation rooted in the sport and lifestyle of basketball.
There is no where near enough known, or that has been seen, of NBA Live 14 yet to declare whether the franchise has any real promise going forward. Certainly no one should be investing anything simply in the hope that it will be. However establishing some sense of credibility is step one and based on the vibe around the game at E3 – which was starkly different than felt with Live 13 and Elite 11 – and efforts like this to engage in a refreshingly open and seemingly genuine manner with the community begin to present signs that may be developing. Attempting to attack weaknesses (like post-release support) in the competition is also an indication they recognize what consumers want instead of trying to convince them of what they want.
The posting is a good read regardless of whether an NBA Live 14 purchase decision is even a consideration this year. If there’s one thing sports gaming can’t afford to lose it is the true competition that remains in only a few sports. This is Live’s last real shot to make an impression and build towards something substantial and even EA has to recognize that.