For the second year in a row EA has missed its initial opportunity to launch a NBA game. If you recall, last year saw the downright dismal situation that was NBA Elite 11. After rebranding the franchise and going with completely analog based controls, NBA Elite 11 suffered a terrible setback when the reception from the pre-release demo was overwhelmingly negative. The reaction from gamers and the buggy nature of the game resulted in EA cancelling NBA Elite 11 at the last minute despite copies having already been pressed and sent to certain retail outlets.
This year EA hasn’t suffered another embarrassing incident akin to Jesus Bynum 2.0, but the company won’t be releasing NBA Live 13 as originally planned. After unveiling the game with only a scant few screens at E3 this year, EA didn’t have much to say or show for the game. But now EA does have something to say: NBA Live 13 has been indefinitely postponed.
Yes, yet again EA has made a blunder out of an easy opportunity as NBA Live 13 will miss it’s general October release window and now will be released in….well to be honest no one outside of EA brass knows when the game will actually ship. Once again those looking for an alternative to 2K Sports NBA 2K series will be out of luck or merely have to wait an extended period of time to try out EA’s attempt at rectifying their past mistakes in the NBA Live franchise.
Hands-on reactions with NBA Live 13 haven’t been made public and outside of a leaked video which was said to be from an early build, preview footage and impressions have been hard to come by. The footage that did leak from the game was honestly unimpressive as the animations were clunky and the visuals were far from being on the same level or one below what’s found in NBA 2K12. Graphics aren’t everything in a sports game, but based on the initial footage it seemed like NBA Live 13 even got the basics of basketball wrong.
It’s this grand issue of having flawed gameplay which as of now has been cited as the main reason why the latest installment of NBA Live has been delayed. EA hasn’t said much on the matter, but will three or four more months of development be enough to fix the problems NBA Live 13 has? I don’t know if the team at EA Tiburon will be able to achieve such a thing, but my general question is what have they been doing for the last two years? One would think that two years would be more than enough to get the basic gameplay mechanics established since EA has the formula down to an exact science when it comes to Madden and FIFA. But here we are yet again with only one basketball game hitting retail at the start of the NBA season.
When or where NBA Live 13 will be released is unknown but in the end I think EA has damaged the brand beyond repair. This was the year that they could’ve brought gamers back into the fold but with the game being delayed, possibly into next year, EA would be better off cancelling the game and merely waiting for the next-gen consoles to possibly wow us with whatever basketball wonder they can muster up. That is of course pending having a three-year development cycle for a game is enough to get dribbling and guarding animations on a level that doesn’t look like it’s from the PS2 era.