E3 2014: NBA Live 15 promises to at least get facial features right

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NBA Live 15 facesIt’s customary to make all kinds of promises at E3. Madden NFL 15 designers say the defense will get much needed improvements. FIFA 15 will make player emotions a bigger part of the game. NHL 15 offered up a slew of new features, including new puck physics and NBC broadcast presentation. NBA Live 15, conspicuous by its absence from EA’s press event, hopes to not make LeBron James look like some sort of disfigured goblin.

Look, NBA Live is in the crawl before you walk phase. EA is allowed to pat itself on the back a little for releasing a basketball sim at all in 2013. But nobody’s going to believe they solved difficult issues such as gameplay if they can’t make the world’s most famous players look like themselves. Executive Producer Sean O’ Brien in a video that they didn’t prioritize likenesses before the game’s release. After it hit stores and the meme-worthy graphics became a laughingstock, EA dedicated more resources and released visual upgrades. They addressed issues such as lighting and textures, doing as much designers could with a game already released. NBA Live also continued receiving dynamic content including roster updates. That did send a positive message that the team wasn’t giving up.

This year, EA is using new facial scanning technology and started work right after the NBA season ended. Teams that didn’t make the postseason started coming in as soon as possible, an O’ Brien believes we’ll see how hard they worked. NBA Live’s primary contribution during E3 week was new pictures of players.

Despite another lackluster showing in 2014, COO Peter Moore said at E3 that the company is committed to its NBA franchise. He gets how far this franchise has fallen. Change often takes a couple of years to happen in the real NBA, and that’s going to be the case here too. The first step, and an important one, is assuring fans their favorite NBA star won’t look like Gollum. NBA Live 15releases on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One October 7.



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