NBA Live 16 represents an opportunity for EA Sports to define the NBA Experience that the sports giant is known for. According to Executive Producer Sean O’Brien, EA Sports is taking great strides to ensure that new modes, customization, and community feedback are at the forefront of this year’s entry. O’Brien sat down exclusively with Examiner to deliver an alley-oop of info on the upcoming baller.
Feedback, Input, and fan service
EA Sports is looking to deliver a fan-sourced experience, seeking input from a core group of volunteers that provide feedback on the game, what they’d like to see, and what makes an NBA experience on today’s consoles.
“We have an unbelievable group of basketball and sports gamers that volunteer their time to be a part of our GameChangers program at EA SPORTS,” O’Brien said “We bring these guys in multiple times throughout our development cycle to help bring to fruition the features that players see in the finished product.”
O’Brien added that the team at EA Sports doesn’t just rely on these volunteers and and GameChangers, but also on one on one feedback with the NBA Live community. Utilizing the team’s community managers and game development team to solicit feedback and directly translate that to the finished product. O’Brien said,
I believe that it’s one of the reasons why we’ve been on this trajectory, we listen to what fans want and we attempt to deliver what they want. It’s that simple. We’re not making this game for ourselves, we’re making it for our fans.
The Hype and Excitement of a Pro-Am on your screen
EA Sports aims to bring the energy and community of Live Pro-Am’s around the country to the virtual realm with NBA Live 16 by allowing players to truly customize as many options as possible within the all-new Live Pro-Am mode. Not only is the mode looking to capitalize on the community of Pro-Am basketball, but also encouraging online interaction and the feeling of community throughout the game. Players will be able to compete cooperatively through the Summer Circuit, or in 5v5 matches against other players.
“LIVE Pro-Am provides an opportunity for our fans to compete WITH their friends online,” O’Brien explained, “LIVE Pro-Am is inspired by Pro-Ams all across the country and the idea that regular basketball players can compete with NBA superstars on any given night. The amazing part about basketball right now is that this is what is happening in Pro-Ams all summer. There are no egos.”
O’Brien stressed that capturing that passion and love of the game is core to the Pro-Am experience, and is the core goal of NBA Live 16’s Live Pro-Am.
Sports RPG, Customization, and making your player yours
O’Brien explained that the goal with NBA Live 16 is not only centered on a solid basketball simulation, but the ability for players to “create a social and competitive place to play online basketball with your friends and ultimately display who can both play and look great on some of the most historic and iconic venues in North America.”
NBA Live 16 is shooting for a true RPG style experience, allowing players to carry XP across modes in a new “Global XP” system. This system allows players to take XP through multiple modes like the new Live Pro-Am and Rising Star, independent of the individual players preference of arena, XP is earned.
Attempting to craft a sports RPG is a lofty goal in itself, but EA Sports is ensuring that what attracts players to RPG games, customization and ownership of the avatar.
“We attempted to create an experience that has an enormous amount of customization, from how you look on the court to how you play,” O’Brien explained, “We’re letting you customize everything from what you are literally wearing to how you express yourself on the court; all elements from how you dribble the basketball to how you celebrate a big play, and everything in between.”
O’Brien’s comments allude to a basketball game where the player is truly in control of the look and feel of their player, which goes a long way to give agency and make players feel as though their real world persona could transfer to the court. Tattoos, fresh kicks, and hairstyles are just the tip of the iceberg, with NBA Live 16 allowing players total control over their entire style.
These customization options will showcase your style, for better or worse as you compete or cooperate online, as we learned that NBA Live 16 won’t feature a couch co-op experience, with O’Brien stating simply, “You can compete online with your friends or play solo in Summer Circuit.”
O’Brien was also quick to point out that the team at EA Sports is taking care to treat matchmaking as part of the experience as well, “we are attempting to create a place where matchmaking as a player is both easy to do, as well as intelligent from the standpoint of matching up players of similar levels.”
O’Brien also noted that this matchmaking intelligence results in online play that’s fun and challenging, yet on a level playing field.
NBA Live 16 goes for three on September 29 on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.