NBA Live 14 developer EA Tiburon appears to know it has a long road ahead in winning back basketball fans, and in an open letter Wednesday, executive producer Sean O'Brien promised to be "open, honest and transparent" about the development of the game.
The NBA Live franchise is in a unique, precarious position right now. It's on its way back from a three-year hiatus — the most recent game in the series was 2009's NBA Live 10. O'Brien has spent more than a decade working on basketball games at EA, although he, too, returned from some time away: He left EA in November 2010 and rejoined the company last October to serve as executive producer on the NBA Live franchise.
EA's marketing efforts for its two previous attempts to reboot the series — NBA Elite 11 in 2010 and NBA Live 13 last year — were characterized by big promises and a lot of talk, an overweening confidence that became embarrassing when the company failed to ship both games. This time around, O'Brien is leading the way on a new approach, coming to a twice-fooled fan base with hat in hand.
"After playing and evaluating the state of NBA Live and talking to as many people as I could, I realized that the overall vision was lacking," said O'Brien, referring to his first acts upon returning to EA last fall. "The first thing that I wanted to do when I got to Orlando [home of EA Tiburon] was set the direction for the team."
"the overall vision was lacking"
The plan is to keep the promises to a minimum. "There has been a lot of talk the last few years about how great NBA Live was going to be," he acknowledged. "The 'talking' is over."
O'Brien continued, "My commitment to our fans is to be open, honest and transparent about what we're doing, how we're doing it as well as why we're doing it." He added, "What we're doing isn't easy and I'm really excited about the progress we've made. I believe that our direction is the right one. The ball is in our court and we need to execute. No more screw-ups and definitely no more excuses."
It's an encouraging attitude to hear, especially after E3, where EA showed a demo with Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving dribbling and shooting by himself, and nothing more. NBA Live 14 is set for release within the next year on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.