For the past two years, EA has been without a basketball title. EA CEO John Riccitiello decided to pull NBA Elite 11
at the last minute -- and for good reason
-- and in 2012, all signs are pointing to the absence of an EA title again. Considering NBA 2K11
was 2K Sports' most successful entry to date (over five million copies sold, producer Erick Boenisch revealed), one has to wonder: if 2K Sports has no competition, what's keeping them from sitting back and putting minimal effort into NBA 2K12
"Honestly, it didn't matter to us," Boenisch told me regarding EA Sports pulling the plug on NBA Elite
. "I don't care. We have a goal in mind -- whether they're there or not, we're going to hit our goal. If we do hit our goal, consumers aren't going to buy the competition's game."
This year, one of the goals for 2K Sports is to tweak player model faces and make them look more lifelike. "Last year, our lighting was very dark and had a tendency to make some of our players look a little ghoulish. That's something we're looking to improve this year." There will also be dynamic, real-time intro sequences prior to each game, which will feature different players in a kind of "hype train" type pre-game sequence.
If you read my NBA 2K11 review
(thanks, by the way!) or played the game yourself, you likely ran into the AI's uncanny ability to pick off passes it had no right picking off. It was toned down a bit in a patch around December, but it's still a concern on the minds of 2K Sports. "Players just knew. They had total awareness," he conceded. "So most people kind of came to us and said we should tone it down and turn the slider down by default, but we wanted to diagnose the problem and find out why it's happening -- and we found out it's because they have full awareness. Our patch made it a bit more realistic, but we've got four months left in the cycle so we're still working on it."
[Note: Header image taken from NBA 2K11