1st Look at improved Player Likeness in NBA LIVE 15! pic.twitter.com/MLP5wmacnS
— EA SPORTS NBA (@EASPORTSNBA) June 9, 2014
After NBA Live 14's less-than-stellar digital player faces got laughed off the internet (almost literally) last year, EA Sports worked hard to fix the problem, and yesterday, they very proudly unveiled the new-and-improved digital NBA player faces.
Despite Rondo's creepy thousand-yard stare, it's a clear improvement, due to the studio taking the time to scan the "majority of the league" with 12 DSLR cameras. They started on this as early as April, with teams whose seasons were already over, like the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Here's more info, from Sean O'Brien, the game's executive producer, on EA Sport's official blog:
"We've scanned a majority of the league, and the new player heads, combined with refined player models and new lighting, makes our characters look really amazing ... We've also seen some great progress with gameplay that makes the experience more realistic and, most importantly, more fun with a much better overall flow," he added. "We want teams to play just like their real-world counterparts, and to that end we've spent a lot of time this season talking with NBA coaches to better understand their schemes and philosophies, which we can then implement in-game. Another equally important area of focus is improving flow and responsiveness in every area where you touch the ball, and we feel that shooting, passing and dribbling all feel much better this year."
More refreshingly, EA Sports even released a video in which the company's art director, Paul Kashuk, very candidly explained why their player models looked so bad last year.
We made some choices last cycle that ended up not being the right choices. In the past, it's just been way too cost-prohibitive to create the volume of high quality assets, and because of the old way we used to work, that's why a lot of our likenesses fell short.
So, basically, EA Sports didn't spend enough to work on digital player facial models last year, but that's been fixed.
Of course, even with the improved graphics, NBA Live 15 has a very steep uphill battle going against NBA 2K15, seeing as how the 2K series has reached revered status among the sports gaming community.