What's good family ?
It's your man Da_Czar President of the SimNation. If you didn't get a chance to read Big Steve of OperationSports preview of NBA Live 13 be sure to check that out here.
To put it mildly Big Steve was NOT all that impressed with what he was able to see. And I quote
"The animations looked robotic and not very good at all in the demo. While the overall graphics package looks pretty solid sans-animations, if the animations aren't there then the whole package falls apart quickly. It's entirely possible that this is due to the early build of the game, but what we were shown wasn't up to snuff to be sure."
Now anyone who understands the history of the battle between these two companies understands that the core of the fight has ALWAYS been animations.
On last gen systems NBA live held the same position as NBA 2K does currently. It was the sales, and in many eyes, the gameplay leader by a wide margin. ( There were a select few who believe things changed with the release of NBA 2K5) The advantage that the live 2002-2007 had over the 2K series was the smoothness of their animations. (Some thought too smooth... sliding)
I can recall comment after comment on how wonky and robotic 2k's animations were and how buttery smooth NBA Live's animations appeared. The majority of gamers could not get over the robotic nature of the game to see the good fundamental basketball advantages that 2K's product had over Live.
Fast forwared to This generation of PS3 and XBOX 360 and you will find the polar opposite. 2K learned a valuable lesson. In the game of basketball more than any other, how the players look and move, are a key component to the immersion of the gamer.
Some might say 2K over-learned their lesson by making short movie sequences that looked more like basketball but left the gamer with less control. Regardless of how you feel about their control or lack thereof. You can not deny that is looks like basketball moreso than any other game released.
The battle now clearly who can make it too the middle first... Can EA solve their animation issues and add to Elite's mantra of control; Before 2k can provide the freedom from 2player animations while still keeping the users immersed in animation goodness.
Understanding the history of these two franchises makes Steve's report above makes for even more interesting fodder.
Is it possible that even after a 2 year hiatus from the sport that Live will return still suffering from the unlearned lessons of the past ? Reading through the forums it is clear that a majority of Live's most faithful gamers are hoping they can.
While the rest of the seasoned gamer have another hope... That live brass understands clearly this truth.
If you can't move with the fluency found in real basketball, it might not matter if that movement has purpose.