Perhaps more than any other pro sport, the NBA relies on its superstars to not only create excitement on the court, but also to really sell the entire sport. The league puts the spotlight on stars like Shaq, Nash, LeBron, and Dwyane Wade because of each player's innate ability to make things happen each and every time he gets the ball in his hands. As EA Canada's Dean Richards explains, EA Sports has taken the concept of the NBA superstar to heart by making it the heart and soul of the publisher's upcoming NBA game, NBA Live 06.
GameSpot: How many freestyle superstars are there in NBA Live 06, and what can they do that other players can't?
Dean Richards: In NBA Live 06, there are six freestyle superstar types that all possess unique attributes. There are five offensive types--highflyer, scorer, playmaker, shooter, and power--and one defensive type--stopper. The scorer and stopper both have an inside and outside type reflecting the differences between a "big player" and a "small player" or an "inside" player or someone who plays more outside the key. Each superstar will have his own unique playing style, [different] not only from each other but also from the rest of the players in the NBA. They will be able to dunk, shoot, steal, block, and pass like no other players on the court. For instance, players like Steve Nash, who are great playmakers, will be the only type of players able to throw no-look passes or behind-the-back passes. We think this will fundamentally change the way you play a basketball video game, and we're excited to be bringing it to NBA Live 06.
GS: Is there at least one freestyle superstar on each team?
DR: Only the best players in the NBA are freestyle superstars, regardless of what team they are on. Not every team has these franchise type of players, though most have at least one true standout player. You can expect an average of two to three superstars per team, with teams like Phoenix and Miami having more than teams like Atlanta and New Orleans.
GS: What kind of moves will a freestyle superstar be able to pull off that average players cannot?
DR: There are a number of freestyle superstar moves a player can perform, depending on which freestyle superstar he or she controls. What makes freestyle superstars such a defining experience in the game is the fact that the user is in complete control of their moves. Freedom of expression has been the hallmark of our freestyle control, and this year it goes to a whole-new level.
Power players and highflyers have a new dunk package. If someone is in your path to the basket, just like the best power players and leapers in the NBA, users will be able to control their players to go through and/or up and over the opponent to jam it home. Playmakers have a specialized passing game that allows players to control the type of pass they want to throw, whether it's on the move, stationary, or even while they are in the air.
Scorers have a variety of shots/layups that allow you to reverse the ball, put it behind your back, switch hands, and more. These players make the impossible look possible. Shooters have the ability to utilize a variety of shot types to drain the long-range ball, like a set shot, bank shot, or even a fake pass to fool the defender before taking the shot.
On defense, we have incorporated the ability to steal and block the ball from all-new angles...and the ability to be a threat while rebounding, allowing stoppers to jump over your opponent to steal an otherwise easy rebound.
We'll be able to go into even more depth as we get closer to the launch of the game in October and as we get all our new controls finely tuned to create the most authentic pro basketball experience available anywhere.
GS: Thanks, Dean, for your time.