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EA's Decision To Bench NBA Elite A "Tough One"

NBA Elite 11 is no more and it's because EA opted not to bring a sub-par product to market.

During an IndustryGamers interview with CEO John Riccitiello, the boss admitted to pushing the project hard early on, especially considering the ambitious scope of the NBA Live successor. He provided everyone with an inside look at what the game would've been like, had they managed to complete the process:

"The team set out a year and a half ago, with a very ambitious goal. They fundamentally changed the control scheme... double analog stick gameplay. You could bounce the ball back and forth between your hands, dribble independently… all sorts of tricky moves. To be honest with you, I spent significant amount of time with that interface, thinking this was revolutionary. Let’s be clear about this: I personally endorsed the game design a long time ago - way, way, way before we knew how the game was going to finish. We set a really ambitious target. We wanted to revolutionize the way simulation basketball was played."

Unfortunately, things didn't go as planned. The game suffered from serious animation issues and they determined they could ship a "high-80s game" by February. Things just weren't coming together and there was an added difficulty: basketball has a season. As Riccitiello said, unlike a GTA or a NFS title, fans of the NBA want to have a virtual incarnation ready to go for the pro season.

"The question is, 'would a simulation game after Christmas resonate in the market anyway, no matter how good it was?' It was a hard choice. Choice A: ship a product that our customers are going to be disappointed in, which every company has done from time to time, but ship one that we’re very certain they’re going to be disappointed with, or polish it up and give it to them after it’s no longer relevant, and impinge on the next season’s development process, or cancel it. That was not an easy decision. I don’t know that many companies would have made the same decision."

Well, even if we didn't get NBA Elite 11, we did get NBA Jam, which is a fair amount of arcade-y fun. And although EA couldn't capitalize, there's always NBA 2K11 for the sim lovers.

Tags: nba elite 11, ea, electronic arts, nba game

1/3/2011 8:48:39 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (20 posts)

PasteNuggs
Monday, January 03, 2011 @ 9:33:28 PM
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I like the fact that they would cancel a project instead of putting out a sub par product. Although I'm not much into sports games anymore. I would just hate to be the one that foots the bill for the wasted budget.

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JakMan1997
Monday, January 03, 2011 @ 9:57:27 PM
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It's a shame that this game was canceled.
I was really looking forward to it.

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Geobaldi
Monday, January 03, 2011 @ 10:12:48 PM
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As great as NBA 2K11 is, I really don't think this one will be missed too much. Now if 2K11 didn't turn out as good as it is, then it would be a different story.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, January 03, 2011 @ 10:15:06 PM
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They made the right choice.

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Snaaaake
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 3:31:34 AM

And you made my day with the right avatar.

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spiderboi
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 9:57:46 AM

Tifa looks a bit more filled out on your new avatar, World. In a nice way :)

On topic: yeah, good choice. If they released a sub-par game, it would give me more headache anyways.

Speaking of sub-par, I finally got around to finishing Black Ops. Man, this is the oddest most noticeable glitch I've ever encountered in all my PS3 games. In the final level, half the enemies were just standing there, and I could just go thru them. Tough part was that there were also real enemies. Pretty weird stuff..

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 12:37:28 PM

heh, I like em filled out :)

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Alienange
Monday, January 03, 2011 @ 11:26:01 PM
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Are basketball fans that fussy? They wouldn't be interested in NBA Elite because it came out post season?? That's a big wow for me. I don't get it. I consistently play last year's sports games. In fact, his description of the controls sound a lot like what NHL did with the stick handling. I'm going to have to go the disappointed route. This game sounded good.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 2:19:44 AM

I agree that excuse is a little weak, it probably just sucked.

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___________
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 1:13:59 AM
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i think they made the right decision.
basketball is not like soccer, or NFL.
soccer is so famous and is famous in so many countries.
NFL is famous in one country, and that just happens to be the only country that matters.
basketball is really neither, theres not much of a market for a Bball game.
there much better of putting the time and money they would of put on this into popular series that would sell better.
like dantes inferno 2, or ME2.
but we all know thats never going to happen, so ill have to settle for DI2.
:(

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FM23
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 1:25:58 AM
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I have never understood the fascination with buying year to year releases of basketball games. In the last 5 years, I have only rented NBA2k7. I was the Lakers and my friend was the Cavaliers...after 6 games of doing the samething, we put our controls down and actually went outside and played basketball. I rather play a sport than do it virtually. This is why I don't care too much for Wii sports or Move. Just felt like saying that.

Anyway, I didn't think this game was going to be good anyway. Either way, it wasnt a purchase for me. And this after the season crap is dumb. They realized Nba2k11 was better so they didn't even try to compete.

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Snaaaake
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 3:32:42 AM
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Ambitious but I hope they take the time to make an even better NBA game.

I expect EA to bounce(pun?) back with Elite 12.

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slugga_status
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 8:21:53 AM
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This was a good decision by EA. After playing the demo I was going to pass on that anyway. Sorry EA but you guys have lost it on the hardwood. Last EA hoops game I had was Live '08 and that game was so disappointing that it made me try out the 2k series. A move for the better as it turned out to be.

2K series gets better and is improved with each installment. EA might as well tap out when it comes to basketball games..

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JakMan1997
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 5:18:28 PM

I can see your point.
The "NBA Live" Series was usually my basketball game of preference but after a while their controls got kind of stale.
I was still a fan of "NBA Live" but not like I used to be, which is why I was glad to hear that they made an overhaul on the controls.



Last edited by JakMan1997 on 1/4/2011 5:19:08 PM

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hehateme
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 10:30:54 AM
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this is exactly what would have happend if madden never got their exclusive rights agreement to stop the production of NFL 2k6 when in video games history did this type of desperation take place? i was/am a huge NFL 2k fan i remember playing that game on my dial up modem for my ps2 lol man those were the days EA got so scared of the quality AND price (19.99) i believe. That was the holy grail in football games in my opinion i could only imagine what the nfl 2k6 had for me... but the news came.... im still hurting... final fantasy and EA have been so harsh to me

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GuyverLT
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 11:25:01 AM
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I stop playing sports sims games after Madden 07 I'm sorry but in my opinion it's more fun to watch my favorite teams play in real life than in a videogame. All the sims just got boring to me(pretty graphics with a couple new features). I never did really like sport sims or any kinda sims (yes this includes GT5). Now I'll play the arcade stuff in a hot minute (Old NFL Blitz, NFL Extreme, NFL & NBA Street).

Last edited by GuyverLT on 1/4/2011 11:29:05 AM

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JDC80
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 1:05:27 PM
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NBA Live 10 did more then held its own against NBA 2k10, the one factor that show me NBA Live was back on the video game basketball map was 2k fanboys were flooding NBA Live 10's message board and youtube videos making the most outlandish comments. So I still don't get why they felt they need to make a huge overhaul of the series.

The only thing I didn't like in Live 10 the CPU were keeping in its starters for too long and that weird thing that happens when a player get sucks out of bounds when they get close to the side-lines or the baseline.

They should kept the controls and just fix some gameplay elements and beefed up dynasty mode. And bring back All-Star weekend.

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slugga_status
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 2:57:45 PM

Gotta disagree with you there..NBA Live 10 couldn't hold a candle to 2k10. I can't speak of what you experienced since I'm not immature to do what some fanboys did.

The thing with Live to me was that it just didn't seem real anymore. Seemed like a souped up arcade baller with fatigue. The dribbling was simplistic and average ball handler could cross up a defender with ease. The game was descent and better then the previous ones but not even close to matching 2k

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JDC80
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 @ 11:46:42 PM
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I have to disagree I played both and prefer Live 10 because of the improved gameplay and the overall presentation. The only thing 2k had over live were player models and the camera angles. And when 2k fans say well NBA Live is arcade like I had NBA 2k7 and I'm currently playing NBA 2k11 and I'm running teams off the court. And the only resistance I get from the CPU is when I'm already far ahead.
But thanks 2k fans for the thumbs down it's a honor.

Last edited by JDC80 on 1/4/2011 11:47:06 PM

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slugga_status
Wednesday, January 05, 2011 @ 10:41:42 AM

I own both games bro. I'm not knocking your opinion at all. But it truly isn't even close. I agree with you that Live had better presentation. That was about it..the player animations were better, AI better, features were far more in depth, no nearly as buggy as Live, in depth coaching options,etc. I could go on and on. Not saying Live 10 was a bad game but it certainly was not better then 2k10.

If you're blowing teams off the court playing the computer as you say I'll play you online any day. PSN name is the same as you see here..

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