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NBA Live 15's first look is a closeup of six stars

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

The official Facebook page for NBA Live 15 this morning offered the first glimpse at the improved graphics for EA Sports' basketball title.

The six closeups of NBA stars Paul George, Tony Parker, Rajon Rondo, James Harden, Blake Griffin and Steph Curry send a message that NBA Live has addressed the underwhelming visuals of its next-gen debut last year.

"We've scanned a majority of the league, and the new player heads, combined with refined player models and new lighting, makes our characters look really amazing," Sean O'Brien, the game's executive producer, wrote on the game's official blog on Thursday.

"We've also seen some great progress with gameplay that makes the experience more realistic and, most importantly, more fun with a much better overall flow," he added. "We want teams to play just like their real-world counterparts, and to that end we've spent a lot of time this season talking with NBA coaches to better understand their schemes and philosophies, which we can then implement in-game. Another equally important area of focus is improving flow and responsiveness in every area where you touch the ball, and we feel that shooting, passing and dribbling all feel much better this year."

NBA Live 14, following a troubled four years and a shaky launch, stabilized itself with a very large patch three months after release that resolved many large-scale complaints, but player modeling wasn't and couldn't be one of them.

EA appears to have no plans to offer much of a showcase of NBA Live 15 at E3 this week. though it could make an appearance on stage at the publisher's news conference today. NBA Live 15 will launch on Oct. 7, the same day as NBA 2K15.