Play "NBA Live" 06, 07, 08 and even 09 on the next-gen systems and there's no doubt about it, something's missing (some would even say it's the fun). While the game has grown technically throughout the years -- replacing the wonky ball physics that plagued the series early on while at the same time starting to implement signature shots into the mix -- the players on the virtual court just never looked like they should. A lot of that had to do with the lack of tats, shoes and custom gear. Rival 2K was adding these aspects with great detail from the jump. But something else was missing. One of the things fans always associated with "NBA Live" during its heyday was the culture involved. From the kicks to the throwbacks, for some reason all of this went missing when the game switched systems and they should've been providing more, not less to fans.
When we as a company went to next-gen, the 360 and the PS3, we lost a little bit of what the sport of basketball and what the NBA is all about. We needed to reinvigorate the culture from the sound track to the footwear.
”-- "NBA Live 10" producer Sean O'Brien
"When we as a company went to next-gen, the 360 and the PS3, we lost a little bit of what the sport of basketball and what the NBA is all about," admits O'Brien. "We needed to reinvigorate the culture from the sound track to the footwear. We have over 500 new pairs of shoes in the game this year, and we're partnering with all of the apparel companies in order to really nail what their shoe switch-out is going to look like. We have all the player-specific shoes this year and really nailed that aspect. We're also partnering with Mitchell & Ness and Adidas to bring back all of the retro jerseys. Having all of the alternate jerseys, from the St. Patrick's Day uniform to just the regular third jersey, all add a lot.
"Another aspect is the new hangar you see when you first boot up the game. Last year, you started at the practice venue, but to me, that just doesn't get me excited to play basketball. Allen Iverson said it best about practice, so we wanted to change things up. When you get to the new hanger, you can work on your game with the best athletes of the NBA. You can figure out the controls right there against the best, and that's the kind of thing that really resonates with me.
"We then partnered with Mos Def for our intro video and the video we released to announce Dwight Howard as our cover athlete. All of these things, on a higher level, just reinforced that the soul of 'NBA Live' is back. If you go back to 04 or 05, you will see a lot of similar things in the game. We went away from this for a few years, but we're definitely coming hard at reinforcing the culture of the sport and the league this year."
As for O'Brien's favorite jersey and shoe combination in the game?
"I'd have to say the Denver Nuggets, Alex English-era throwback from back in the day," he says. "As for the shoes, I'm a big Jordan 3, Jordan 4 guy, so I'd love to throw those shoes on as well. In terms of a particular game mode that we'll talk to you more about at a later date, actually having control of what shoes to put on your athlete can be a lot of fun."