Yep, EA Sports’ basketball franchise NBA Live will be renamed to NBA Elite while retaining the sequel number.
That’s according to Official Xbox Magazine, whose latest issue reveals the name change in an exclusive from EA Sports. NBA Elite 11 will deepen the use of the right analog stick in its control set, extending the work it started in Live 10.
“If the left stick is your body, then the right stick serves as your hands and the ball,” OXM writes. “Bouncing the ball behind our back, for instance, required rolling the stick down and around – the same movement our hands would make to pull off the trick.”
Goodbye, NBA Live 2011. Hello, NBA Elite 11. Hopefully, you play better than the recent NBA Live releases.
That means shots are on the right stick as well, and more tied to a player’s physical ability with the sticks than a background attribute calculation. This would make EA’s NBA title more consistent with the kind of deterministic control philosophy found in Skate 3, Fight Night and the upcoming EA Sports MMA.
Additionally, canned animations are being phased out and replaced by real-time physics. This would allow players to interrupt animations with a pass or other move, rather than being committed to the entire animation playing out.
An EA Sports spokesman gave the following comment to Kotaku:
We knew it was time to leave the past behind. We have exciting and significant changes coming to our NBA game this year that will usher in the future of basketball video games. We look forward to releasing information on exactly how we’ll be doing that over the next few months
Earlier this year, Mike Wang, NBA Live’s lead gameplay designer, ended his one-year stint in Vancouver and defected back to NBA 2K where he’d worked before. Wang and EA Sports were said to part company amicably, but substantial creative differences were assumed to be the catalyst for the breakup. A name change and new control set certainly herald a new direction for EA’s hoops franchise.