NBA Live 08 First Look

EA looks to turn the corner with its struggling basketball franchise. We have a first look at where the game is heading.

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It starts with five-on-five basketball. That's the back-to-basics mantra coming out of EA Canada, the development studio behind EA Sports' popular NBA Live franchise. While recent games in the series haven't lived up to expectations, especially since moving to the Xbox 360, the development team behind the series is willing to accept the criticism for its previous efforts. Better yet, based on what we've seen of NBA Live 08 at yesterday's EA Canada press event, it seems like its actually doing something about it.

It's perhaps not surprising that recent NBA Live games have been disappointing. By focusing more on control gimmicks, such as the freestyle superstar controls of NBA Live 06 or total freestyle controls of Live 07, the team seemed to move away from the fundamental problems that plagued the gameplay and dragged all the other features down. With Live 08, the team is looking to take the bull by the horns and get the basics right, before piling on the flashy features.

The easiest way to notice the difference between NBA Live 07 and the work-in-progress version of Live 08 is to compare them side by side, which is just what Live 08 producer Brian Ullrich did during his presentation of the game. First, there was Live 07, complete with sluggish players, bad ball physics, and shoddy shot making. When Ullrich fired up the television displaying NBA Live 08, the differences were immediately apparent. Here was a sped-up pace of play where players looked like they were connecting with the hardwood under their feet, not merely skating on it. Here was improved passing and shooting animations, as well as players making contact with one another all over the floor. Perhaps most impressively, here was an improved frame rate; Ullrich said the game is running at 60 frames per second.

The improved look of NBA Live 08 is based on a repeated refrain we've heard across all EA Sports games this season--an improved animation system that helps make virtual players look and move more like the real thing. From NBA Street Homecourt to Madden NFL 08 and NCAA Football 08--and now on to NBA Live 08--it's apparent that the improved branching animation and locomotion systems that found their start in EA's FIFA series are beginning to pay dividends across the board. Player moves now are more procedural, as opposed to being simple canned animations that must play out from beginning to end. As a result, not only do they look better--even in this admittedly early build of the game that featured numerous graphical bugs that should be ironed out by release--but they'll also offer you more options when it comes to creating plays on the court.

For example, when passing the ball, the game will be smarter about choosing the right type of pass animation to use depending on the situation. Rebounding will also be improved. Those familiar with NBA Live 07 will remember the strange paths the ball sometimes took after bouncing off the rim--sometimes warping into a player's hands. To make matters worse, the players in 07 were about as motivated as Allen Iverson in practice. It wasn't uncommon to see just one artificial intelligence player leave his feet to try to grab a loose ball. In Live 08, those kinds of problems should be a thing of the past because the development team is looking to make sure that not only are players hustling to the ball but, once they are there, they also look more natural when going up to make a play.

Did you know that signature shots were in NBA Live 07? If you said "no," you're probably not alone. While signature shots were a big selling point of Live 07's direct competitor--NBA 2K7--player-specific shots were actually in EA's hoops offering too. The problem was, thanks to a touchy shot system that used slightly different animations for early or late shots, you would only see a Kobe jackknife jumper if you hit the shot at precisely the correct moment. That should also be improved this season so that the NBA players in the game will play more like their real-life counterparts.

Last year, the team decided to split the dunk and layup controls into two separate buttons. That experiment didn't go too well, and the separate controls have been recombined in Live 08. However, much like the rebounding and passing system, the dunk/layup controls will be smarter about the context in which a player finds himself before deciding whether to initiate a particular animation. Situational contexts, such as the amount of traffic to the hoop, proximity to the basket, and player abilities, will all play into whether you lay the ball in or come to the rack hard.

The gameplay feature that just might have the biggest impact on the five-on-five action has to do with collisions. The developers have been working hard to include many new on- and off-ball collisions between players on the floor. These collisions can come in three flavors depending on the position of the players involved: ground-to-ground, ground-to-air, or air-to-air. Each of these will have different effects on a player's ability to hang on to a ball or make a tightly contested shot. If you're on defense, you'll have the extra ability to prevent your opponents from getting to the hoop. Conversely, thanks to plenty of off-ball contact, when on offense, you'll be able to make better use of such set plays as screens and picks, as well as boxouts, when looking to grab rebounds underneath the net. However, according to producers, more collision animations won't necessarily result in more fouls, which is simply a matter of gameplay balance.

Other cool features include more transition animations when players are moving up court after scoring a basket, more post-whistle animations played out in real time (as opposed to canned animations when a play is called dead), and a more active camera that zooms in or out dynamically. This camera-zoom feature adds a sense of drama and movement to the game that simply wasn't present in last year's game. There's also a new default camera angle similar to a television broadcast view, though you'll be able to choose from the multiple camera angles offered.

It's too early to say that with NBA Live 08 the series has returned to prominence. What we can say, based on what we've seen, is that the game is taking some steps in the right direction. Whether those steps will eventually lead to a dramatically improved hoops experience remains to be seen, but we're cautiously optimistic at this early stage. Look for more information on NBA Live 08 in the coming months as we lead up to its release later this year.

Discussion

104 comments
fax555241
fax555241

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

X-b-o-X
X-b-o-X

i have 2k7 and i gotta say it rocks the house in comparison to live 07, but with all respects from what you guys have said about live 08 it looks like they went back to the drawing board and started from the bottom up. Another thing to take into account gilbert areanas or chris paul gilbert all day he'd own paul on that floor i gotta go with live 08 this year!!!

slimdirty
slimdirty

I'm sorry, but NBA live is the most unrealistic basketball game I've ever played. It may be basketball game, but it's hardly a basketball simulation. 2k8 all day baby.

ImtiazR
ImtiazR

Do you guys remember NBA Live 2003? That was probably the best Live basketball game. They should go back to that style and improve the graphics and place the add-ons. On another note, I think NBA Live 2008 might turn out great. It looks way better than Live 07, that's for sure.

mrvic87
mrvic87

I saw the video for this game and I have to say that it isn't even close! The players look very clunky when they shoot, no fluid movement whatsoever. There isn't any emotion in this game!

mikkho14
mikkho14

As far as I have played basketball games I think this one will rock consoles, but I think NBA 2K8 will be moving forward than NBA Live 08.

rolento88
rolento88

i'll get this one only because this is the first time in a while the toronto raptors have a good team...

daze9900
daze9900

What a shame, I remember being wowed by NBA Live since 1995. This franchise is being beat in every single player mode by 2K sports. The video preview I saw looked like and arcade style game with updated graphics. If you have a 360 or PS3 might as well go with something else till they get this right. Hopefully Madden is not going in the same direction as well.

bluffkid2004
bluffkid2004

Well what I honestly think needs to be done is nba live needs to improve their layups and dunks. Thats what really makes a basketball game fun period. I get tired of doing the same boring dunks and layups. Wouldnt it be cool if you could be able to do the same dunks in the dunk conest but still keeping the game realistic. I mean i dont see whats so hard to develope a new system which has a series of buttons that you can press to do a cool layup or dunk of ur choice anytime u want. Wouldnt dat be cool. Now this new system they are creating that they are combining the dunk and layup buttons i think personally is going to make throw the game in the trash.lol Wouldnt u be mad if u wanted to do a layup and u always do a dunk and u didnt want too? Wouldnt if be cool if u could do nice fancy layups,or regular layups whenever u wanted to when wide open at the hoop? Same thing goes with dunks. I think the EA sports team have a smaal brain they need to relax and let me takeover because the are workin to hard to develope the same game ova and ova again. It seems as if it gets worde every year.Personally I enjoy playing live on n64 more tell me if dats a shame. Wut u guys think?

lysluk
lysluk

Ever since Live 06, where they had to rebuild the entire game from scratch, we knew they cant make a Grade A game unless they pulled it off....which they didnt. Not even with Live 07, when they said they will improve upon 06, and go back to the basics of fundamental basketball. Take the feet skating example, didnt they talk about that since 06? Now its Live 08, and 06 and 07 were quite ....bad. So, lets hope they do make 08 the game its suppose to be. 2K7 was better because it was more realistic, but they didnt change much from couple years ago. Live has always been missing "Life" in its arenas and crowd, and the overall feel of a realistic simulation game. Lol, Arenas and G. Arenas.

Riddle015
Riddle015

I know right that free throw shooting system was junk. I'm a get this one though, but if it's like Nba live '07 then I'm just gunna stick with the nba 2k games!

I_Got_It_4Cheap
I_Got_It_4Cheap

I hope this game can make it feel like the NBA Live it use to be...and get rid of that crap free throw shooting system featured in 07

jonphx
jonphx

this game is gonna be hella tight boi!!!1

bear1961
bear1961

jalmanos is smart and i think i prefer 2k8

bakitba
bakitba

i hope baron Davis will be the cover of NBA 2k8 and live 08 cause of their big run to get into the playoffs and exiting first and second round action against 2 of the big teams in the west. they had a really good post season but bit disappointing games against the veteran Derek fisher hero of jazz, i,m looking forward next year the warriors to get kevin garnet or any strong fast forwards to help biadrigs in a half court situation when pace of the game slows down. anyways ill buy both games i think i like what EA is doing but they cant top 2k sports

jamalnos
jamalnos

Yes, that is all. No problem in what you wrote. Ok man, I will catch you latter.

akuma7703
akuma7703

jamalnos: That's cool money, I'm not trying to start any beef here. All I'm saying is stop spamming. Parallel processing means two or more separate cores able to divide and handle processing routines in tandem (ie: parallel), effectively splitting the workload and speeding up the process. That's a layman's definition. Word of advice: don't post your personal email addy on the forums. If you want to hit me up I'm RARELY available on Live (gfxdaddy). Hype-machine? When someone tells you 2 and 1 combined = 3. It's not a lie but it's not completely true either: the facts have been slightly skewed to suit their purposes. 2 and 1 combined can also = 1 or 2. Be easy.

jamalnos
jamalnos

And tell me, why it is a hype-machine, I want to hear from you.

jamalnos
jamalnos

akuma7703, thank you for your trying to help us in understanding the core of concepts. Answering your statment "is that really the extent of your vocabulary?"because personally I am not from the west countries, English is not my language either. And "Parallel power" means Parallel as a power not (2 * Power) or double power. (parallel processing as a power) or (multi-processing unit as power), it is simple. Beside I told you that I have both consoles PS3 & XBOX 360, so I am a technologyFanBoy not either SonyFanBoy or MicrosoftFanBoy. so when I needed the wireless connection I directly found it in PS3 but I must buy an optional part to my XBOX. It is very simple. By the way, it is really nice to start a friend relationship between us so do you have an account at MSN. My is jamalnos@hotmail.com Looking forward to hear from you.

akuma7703
akuma7703

@jamalnos: You said: "...see the PS3 trailer you will find that thay said "Parallel Power"...". Exactly: while the rest of the world is following the facts and sees Sony's hype-machine for what it really is you choose to follow the hype rather than the facts. That, my friend, is hardly intelligent on your part, as is your lame comeback (is that really the extent of your vocabulary?). This is directly from the Sony PS3 website: http://www.us.playstation.com/PS3/About http://www.us.playstation.com/PS3/About/CellBroadband "..As its digital soul, the Cell Broadband Engine™ represents a tour de force in parallel processing.." Each Synergistic Processing Element (SPE) has its own fast memory for true parallel processing. Pick your battles wisely, you may avoid putting your foot in your mouth as you just did. I do work in the technical field so when I call technical details I know what I'm talking about. You've posted the same exact thing in SEVERAL unrelated threads- regardless of the topic. That, genius, is spamming. No one here (or in any of the other threads) cares about your convoluted explanations of why the PS3 "rocks": this thread is to discuss Live 08, and the other threads their respective games. Who exactly were you speaking to when you began your post "Guys, please wake up and know the truth..."? As far as I can tell no one on any of the threads was even remotely touching on that topic. Talking to your imaginary friends and you call me "strange"? That's a laugh. Have you checked out the responses to some of your other posts? Cats are telling you the same thing: STAY ON TOPIC. The whole PS3 vs 360 thing has been beaten to death and you're a few months late.

dragonsruleme
dragonsruleme

I hope its good cause i liked live 05 until i played 2k's series but this time it seems promising and like russellliew said 2k6 and 7 only had minor diffrencies so if live is good it will seem a better effort and get a better wrap up.

jamalnos
jamalnos

It was only an explanation about why PS3 costs more than XBOX 360. You are really strange.

jamalnos
jamalnos

akuma7703, you are really an a s s / h o le First, see the PS3 trailer you will find that thay said "Parallel Power". You did want to apear as Genius man, did you. so eat **** and close your mouth.

bigblunt537
bigblunt537

the only way i will buy this is if vince carter doesnt rim in and out 10 consecutive 3 pointers wide open just because difficulty is at hall of fame. my jason kidd under hall of fames 3 point % is at 48% my vicne carter is at 28 and i only take them when im wide open and if im not open i drive it to the hole where i misses 6/10 layups and takes layups when he should dunk and takes jump shots at point blank range.... dont think im cra at the game under my season im 45-4 but i hate the fact that almost every wide open shot rims out.

akuma7703
akuma7703

@jamalnos: Stop spamming, esp when you have no point. For everyone else, he's posted the exact same post in several other threads- threads that have nothing whatsoever to do with what he's talking about (eg: The Last Remnant First Look). Why, are you on Sony's payroll? Either that or you're a not-so-smart fanboy that needs to get his facts straight. The speculation is over and has been for months. As a lot of developers pointed out from day one the 360 and PS3 are VERY comparable in terms of power with both systems excelling a little better at different aspects. And it's not called "Parallel Power", it's "parallel-processing"- something most modern machines do: Intel Hyper-threading, Core Duo, and yes even the 360 (which IS a multi-core system). The number of calculations the cell-processor is capable of is a different matter entirely. I'm not a360 fanboy (indeed I own most any game-systems except the PS3 and Wii) but one thing a lot of people appreciate from Microsoft is CHOICE. You said it yourself: "..if you want wireless..". That's the point: I don't need wireless so why pay for it? What say I prefer a stand-alone HD player (or the fact that watching movies extensively on any system eventually wears down the optical drive) and I don't want the system for HD-movies then why pay for it? Choice. Yes, the bluRay format offers a huge advantage in terms of storage but Sony rammed unnecessary technology down our throats. It would be a different matter if the format wars were decided and HD-Video was the standard but that isn't the case yet. And that brings me to the final point: the ONLY reason thePS3 costs more than the 360 is the fact that it includes a bluRay drive. Everyone knows that already so how come you don't? Take the drive away and you basically got a 360 with bluetooth controllers. FACT.

jamalnos
jamalnos

Guys, please wake up and know the truth, Xbox 360 machine is less price than PS3, that is true but why? I will tell you. With Xbox 360 If you want to communicate by wireless you must buy it separately, if you want to attach removable memories cards or flashes you must buy another part separately, if you want to see HD movies you must buy another part separately, if you want to save game progress or any other files you must buy a HDD separately, beside no HDMI port yet, and that huge power adapter (where will you put it?). At the end your Xbox 360 will be like a spider web with the devices attached into it . Finally all of that will be the same price of PS3 or more. But in the PS3 side, all of that is built-in inside it. With Blu ray technology, HDMI technology, 1080p technology, CELL Processor (Parallel Power) technology, PS & PS2 emulation power, user friendly interface and that sexy design. So what is the mistake that Sony did? This is Living, this is Entertainment.

russellliew
russellliew

:( i dont know if i can forgive EA anymore after seeing Yao Ming's head clip through the ball and rim... I'll put my money on 2K cuz of their efforts, but then again.. 2K6 and 2K7 only had minor diferences... so i'd probably reconsider supporting Live again if they flush out the glitches and repair them for once since the 90's series

Braelen
Braelen

this better be a good one, ive waited too long for nba live to be great like it once was back when it was nba live 02, 03, 04

popping4it
popping4it

DONT LET THE SCREENS FOOL YOU, so quickly we forget the EA movies/stills of madden on ps3.

Incubus420
Incubus420

Yeah they are really going to have a tough time convincing me to buy NBA live over NBA 2K8....I know that NBA 2K has a proven track record ill have to wait for a gamespot comparison.

Sinars
Sinars

I sincerely hope that EA can pull this off. If done right, they can definitely make a hit. Just look at how IO Interactive did just that with Hitman 2 - they paid attention to criticisms about their first Hitman game and improved the game accordingly and it was a great game - lets hope NBA Live 08 is a similar story.

Bauer_24
Bauer_24

I'll join the club by saying: "I really hope that EA Sports can get it right this time"..... I think the introduction of NBA Live 07 onto the nex-gen of gaming wuz a disaster..... they didn't utilize their time well enough to give that nex-gen experience... as I trust the judgement of Gamespot when they say that it seems that EA is taking some steps into the right direction (optimistic remark), I can only say have faith ;-)....

mars07
mars07

Lord knows they could not possibly make the game worse. Here's hoping EA can get it right and deliver a good game of hoops for the 360.

KINGSLIMM
KINGSLIMM

Ea need to work on rebounding ,they need to only have 1 shot control some people play user some play cpu it is to hard to adjust from house to house so just take one out. They need to work on the inbounding system,passing to the post with a defender fronting or behind the low post man. Make the pass realistic. I use to be able to pass the ball through players to get Tim Duncan the ball. As I posted earlier collisions , fouls , charges, blocking fouls, shot blocking system, blocking out system, i also would like to see the hard foul put back into the game , because there is nothing worse than having the wrong man foul the ball handler i should have total control. i like the intentional foul also because the cpu fouls alot quicker than a human can. EA need to put a lot of time into being able to shoot the ball the splits second it hits the players hand. now it takes almost 2 sec. to get a shot off. The days of you having the famous (.4 secs that Dereck Fisher needed to beat Sanantonio one season ) has been long gone with the NBA LIVE series. with all of these being fundamental overhauls that are needed I dont think EA can Fix This terrible but once great franchise in one year . Just please get it right EA.

KINGSLIMM
KINGSLIMM

I hope there is no more dunks through the backboard, or tony parker being able to push shaq under the rim. I'm not crying either, no one could stop me with T.P. You could not block it, take a charge or nothing,thats just crazy. I once scored 96 pts. with TP against detroit. with the new and old fatigue systems. EA please get it right. I have been live since 95. The first original live. get it right.

Mad_Max17
Mad_Max17

i remember when NBA Live was the best basketball sim but i think it took a backwards step and NBA 2k came along and i think its too late for EA to finally make a move. everyones already got their hands on the 2k games and they'll continue to buy them unless LIVE makes some HUGE changes to turn it all around

haesuse
haesuse

well most of u are talking about what WAS. the question here is what will be. i personaly dont care about LIVE, or at least havent in few years. however this major overhaul could, at least for now and on the paper, be what EA needs to get LIVE back on top. overall imo even if they do half of what they said so far, they'll at least be making a move in a right direction

baltimoreravens
baltimoreravens

fiercedeity901 apparently has NEVER played 2k bball games. How can someone say 2k is arcadier then Live?! EA cannot make a good basketball sim period.

Dylaphin
Dylaphin

I think 2k7 is the total opposite of a arcade style basketball game, its the best b-ball sim up to date, i played live 07 and nobody on earth can tell me with a straight face that they like that game... But like i said before because i want live to be better I'll give EA one more chance with live 08'...*(And i mean it, "ONE" more chance)... If they mess up this time they can give a shaq rookie card out with every copy and i still wouldn't buy it...

fiercedeity901
fiercedeity901

hooray for EA...i personally would pick NBA live over NBA 2K anyday, 2k games just feel so arcadey to me and 2k7 was no different...only thing i really enjoyed is 2k's football games...but madden still had the edge for me so overall whether or not EA lives up to what they say they're doing...i'll play NBA Live 08 like always, but hey if gamespot is impressed, maybe the game is better

lilomez238
lilomez238

2k sports is always better than nba live. nba focuses on the beads of sweat dripping shaq's big head and dont focus on gameplay....i hope they do fix madden to because 07 blew

snoobo117
snoobo117

they keep sayin it but the result is always the same

denaz
denaz

Bout time they got their act together. But the question is, will is be better the 2K8??

Dylaphin
Dylaphin

NBA2K has been better for the last 7 years and i ve owned every one since 2k, however somethin' in me that wants this live game to be better. In the 90's ea soared above the rest and they got relaxed. it looks like theiy are ready to do something about the lack luster games they have put out for the last decade!!! We'll know in october!!!

derayokray
derayokray

cool the last NBA Live game that i played was NBA Live 95 for the genesis i hope it turns out well

derayokray
derayokray

cool the last NBA Live game i played was NBA Live 95 for the genesis

chansaet
chansaet

Hopefully it turns out good but more likely I'll be getting NBA 2K8 instead

thomasonfa
thomasonfa

I figure that EA's model for the next NBA live is simple...steal every idea from 2k and buy out the players rights to appear only on their game.