“After a lot of consideration, we have made the decision to not launch NBA LIVE 13,” starts the blog post on EA Sports’ official NBA Live page.
EA Sports’ Executive Vice President Andrew Wilson goes into the events that led up to this and the reasons behind the decision.
When we started the process of bringing back NBA LIVE, we knew it was going to be a long journey. We started by moving the game to a new studio. We brought in some of the best new technology that has helped fuel innovation in our other games. We launched an even deeper level of engagement with our community to gather more feedback directly from fans. And we built a whole new development team to bring it all to life.
He refers to bringing NBA LIVE back, but doesn’t explicitly explain what that means. This isn’t the first time the NBA LIVE series has been in trouble. Just a couple years ago, EA Sports was in the process of rebranding the series as NBA Elite. NBA Elite 11 was close enough to release to have a demo, but the demo was terrible. EA canned the title, with Wilson saying “it was just going to be a bad game.”
In February of this year, the return of the LIVE name was announced with a release window of this fall. As the big day approached, though, it became clear things were still not where they needed to be. EA already knows the game is on thin ice with the previous iteration’s demo. They also know, then, that if the product they put out isn’t solid, it’s going to get torn apart. As frustrating as it is to fans, it must be even more frustrating for Wilson and the team. Wilson writes that instead of releasing the game halfway through the season, they’ll release a proper product next year.
It’s starting to sound like a bit of a Duke Nukem Forever proposition – the same guy in charge, the same game delayed. But EA knows how to run a business and this kind of thing won’t be happening again, or at least it won’t with Wilson in charge. I think it’s safe to say fans can look forward to a proper NBA LIVE next year.
One silver lining to this is that the NBA, unlike the NFL, doesn’t have an exclusive deal with EA. NBA 2K13, illogical title and all, is still out there and looking great.