NBA Live 14, the long-delayed return of EA Sports' simulation basketball franchise, may feature an Ultimate Team mode, according to a LinkedIn profile spotted by GoodGameBro.
The LinkedIn profile of Jose Diaz, a software engineer at NBA Live 14 developer EA Tiburon, lists "Ultimate Team Mode" as one of the things he's been working on at the studio since September 2012; the other, says Diaz, is yet to be announced. You can check out a screencap of Diaz's profile below.
Ultimate Team is a fantasy team mode in which users build up their squad by playing games to earn in-game currency, which can be spent on the digital trading cards that make up a team. Since users can also spend real money to purchase the digital currency, the mode is fruitful as an extra revenue stream for EA in its Madden NFL, FIFA and NHL franchises; the company is also bringing the mode to its NCAA Football series this year in NCAA Football 14.
EA has yet to officially announce NBA Live 14, let alone any modes or features the game might contain, although the series' website was recently updated to say that information is "coming soon." The company has said it intends to launch a simulation basketball title this fall, after years of failing to ship reboots of the NBA Live franchise — first with the ill-fated NBA Elite 11, which was canceled shortly after its planned ship date in 2010, and again with NBA Live 13, which the company canceled last September, weeks before it was supposed to launch. NBA Live 10, which launched in 2009, is EA's most recent basketball sim.
Ultimate Team's appearance in NBA Live 14 wouldn't be surprising at all. It's one of EA's most popular modes across its slate of sports games, and would be a good way to attract lapsed NBA Live fans to the series' return. Public opinion of the franchise is in the toilet after EA's failures, and its competition in 2K Sports' NBA 2K series — which aped Ultimate Team last year with NBA 2K13's MyTeam mode — is a critical and commercial success. Because of that, EA is going to have a tough time getting fans interested in checking out its game, let alone spending money on it, so Ultimate Team's digital revenue could be a great boon for the company.
We've reached out to EA Sports for comment and will update this article if we hear back.
Update: An EA Sports representative told Polygon, "We have no comment."