Today we’re excited to share some of our first gameplay details for NBA LIVE 15 and give you an idea of what you’ll be seeing when the game launches this October. Going into this year, we knew we had a lot of work to do in gameplay. We’ve been doing major upgrades across all systems, including the AI, to create a great flowing NBA simulation. We’ve been building a game from the ground up with a focus on a control scheme that is accessible but also has layers of depth for advanced players. At the same time, we’re ensuring that you feel in control at all times with extremely responsive movement and actions throughout every aspect of the game. That responsiveness that feels good needs to be supported and driven by amazing animation that looks good.
One big change we made to animations this year is how players go up for layups and dunks. Last year the “gather” (where the player picks up the ball and begins his footwork into a shot or any type of jumping motion) and the shot itself were separate animations, which led to some strange looking and feeling situations due to some really awkward transitions. This year we’ve kept the gather and dunk/layup as one animation. The sheer volume of dunk and layup animations added this year will ensure a variety of different outcomes when attacking the rim. This does two things for us; it preserves the integrity of the motion capture to create a smoother-looking play, and it drastically reduces the chances of creating a strange hitch or transition in the animation. At the end of the day, this means you as the player will be able to pull off some cool looking dunks and layups that feel right and pay off as you’d expect.
This video gives you a good look at our improved ball handling. Notice Harden’s signature move that has been added to the game, as well as how quickly he can attack the basket after creating an opening for himself. We want you to feel totally in control in NBA LIVE 15, never stuck in animations or unable to execute when an opportunity arises. We’ve simplified the dribble moves to be mapped to flicks and holds of the right thumbstick, and contextual animations make it easier to pull off those ‘wow moments’ off the bounce. The ultimate goal is to give you more creativity and freedom when the ball is in your hands using signature moves from your favorite NBA superstars.
At the end of the clip, you’ll see our new rag-doll physics system in action, delivering physicality that looks and feels great at both ends of the court. When players go up for—or contest—a dunk and a layup, the physics system turns on, creating realistic contact and forcing both offensive and defensive players to make midair adjustments to establish position. We’ve added a ton of new of animations in this feature alone so you’ll see a wide variety of various degrees of collisions when players start crashing into each other. As if it wasn’t already fun enough to either posterize your buddy or stop him at the rim, now it feels even better.
In this last clip, we want to highlight the improvements made to off-ball motion and contextual awareness. As you can see by Waiters’ movement, players are now able to find open space with the press of a button (LB/L1) thanks to the Quick Action playcall system. We’ve also improved the user’s ability when playing on-ball defense. Now, it is easier to cut off drives and stay in front of the basketball with bumps, jostles and contests – in this case – forcing Waiters to make a pass.
So that’s a quick snapshot of a few things we’re working on, and there’s plenty more to come including improvements to shooting, shot blocking, rebounding, guarding the basketball and the AI. We’ll be providing a deeper look at all of these parts of the game, as well as more info on additional modes and features in the coming weeks. As you may have already heard, we’re taking three extra weeks to polish some last elements of gameplay, as well as fine-tune and balance the game. We’re looking forward to seeing everybody on the court on October 28 and as always, thank you for your support of NBA LIVE.