LOS ANGELES--EA Sports showed off an early version of NBA Live 07 for the PlayStation 3 during Sony's Electronic Entertainment Expo 2006 press conference. Most of the video and presentation centered on the amount of detail that the design team has put into the player models themselves--specifically from an animation and emotion standpoint. Instead of having well-detailed but zombielike players running around on the floor, EA is promising players who are aware of their surroundings, specifically the ball. Heads and eyes will track the ball and other key elements during the game. Faces will even show appropriate emotion depending on the situation.
Also, EA was very proud to show that players in NBA Live will have improved footwork and planted feet as they move around the court or even turn around in place. Ice skating has been a huge flaw in the game over the years, so it was satisfying to see players move around with more realistic inertia. Players in NBA Live 07 will also move with full 360 degree freedom, instead of only turning at 45 degree angles as they have in past versions of the game.
The representatives from EA loaded into a practice court similar to the one in last year's NBA Live 06 on the Xbox 360, showing off Houston Rockets swingman Tracy McGrady. They moved T-Mac around the court, showing as he planted his feet before exploding into cuts and direction changes. The EA reps then loaded up a virtual Dwyane Wade into the practice court and showed off some more moves from each of the all-stars, including turnaround jumpers, dunks, and other shots. From what we saw, there's been a marked improvement in the animation of the players compared to last year's game, so we're looking forward to seeing these characters in an actual game. We're also interested in finding out how much of this new animation technology, if any, will be used in the Xbox 360 or current-generation console versions of NBA Live 07. Stay tuned to GameSpot for more information on the game as information becomes available.