NBA Live 13

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NBA Live 13
Nbalive13 placeholder cover.png
NBA Live 13 Teaser Image.
Developer(s) EA Sports
Publisher(s) EA Sports
Series NBA Live
Platform(s) Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Release date(s) Cancelled

NBA Live 13 (stylised as NBA LIVE 13) was to be an NBA video game by EA Sports, originally scheduled for release for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in Fall of 2012. It was to be the eighteenth game in the NBA Live series (the seventeenth to be released) and the first game in the series to be developed by EA Tiburon, with all previous games being developed by EA Canada. It would have been the direct sequel to both NBA Live 10 and the cancelled NBA Elite 11 before its own cancellation on September 26th 2012. The series finally returned in 2013 with NBA Live 14.

Title & Return to the NBA Live Brand[edit]

Posts by members of the development team originally made reference to NBA Elite 12, suggesting that the NBA Elite brand would continue to be used rather than the series adopting another new name or returning to the NBA Live branding. However, in the announcement posted on April 5th 2011 that revealed there would be no NBA sim release from EA for the 2011/2012 season, Peter Moore simply referred to the game as the "next NBA simulation title", suggesting that the NBA Elite name would be dropped.

On February 23rd 2012, Kyrie Irving announced via Twitter that he'd had an opportunity to play NBA Live 13 while in Orlando for the 2012 All-Star Weekend. Inquiries by Kotaku revealed that EA Sports would indeed be returning to the NBA Live branding, as a spokesman stated "This fall we'll launch an all-new experience that captures the future of basketball with NBA Live 13." Reaction to the change back to the NBA Live name has been mostly positive.


Not many details about NBA Live 13 were released prior to its cancellation, but the game was intended to be a sim title featuring ESPN licensing and integration as per EA Sports' fifteen year agreement with the network. It would have featured staples of the series such as Dynasty Mode, while bringing back a variation of the right analog controls seen in NBA Live 2003 through NBA Live 10, moving away from the changes planned for NBA Elite 11.

EA Tiburon, perhaps best known for developing the EA's series of NFL games, assumed development of the NBA Live series beginning with NBA Live 13. On April 5th 2011, it was announced that the game would be coming out in the Fall of 2012, confirming that EA Sports would not be releasing a sim NBA game for the second year in a row following NBA Elite 11's cancellation. EA Sports' lone basketball release in 2011 was NBA Jam: On Fire Edition, a sequel to their reboot of the NBA Jam series.

Former President and Chief Operating Officer of EA Sports Peter Moore commented briefly on the future of the franchise in an interview conducted at E3 2011. He reaffirmed EA's commitment to reviving the franchise and continuing to produce NBA games, following the renewal of their licensing agreement with the NBA in May 2011. When asked to comment on whether the physics engine used in other EA Sports titles will be present in future NBA Live games, Moore did not offer any confirmation to that effect but noted that technology is shared between development teams and would not rule out the possibility of its inclusion at some point. In an interview with in May 2012, EA Sports Executive Vice President Andrew Wilson echoed Moore's sentiments of being committed to NBA Live and seeking to be innovative in future releases.

NBA Live 13 was intended to be a sim-oriented title that aimed for realism, with the new development team following the philosophy of "Move With a Purpose" in terms of enhancing player AI and movement. Planned improvements that were mentioned included passing AI, specifically the types of passes that players will attempt according to the situation and the selection of the recipient when using directional passing, with a player's offensive and passing abilities playing a role. Kotaku's first look at the since cancelled game also mentioned improvements to player movement and court awareness, along with a return to the more traditional right analog dribbling controls last used in NBA Live 10.

EA Sports has also worked closely with NBA on ESPN producers in an effort to replicate ESPN broadcasts as precisely as possible, from overlays to screen wipes and more. Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy would have returned to provide commentary in NBA Live 13, with Mark Jackson having left to coach the Golden State Warriors prior to the 2011/2012 season. NBA Live 13 would have featured arena-specific broadcast camera angles, a presentation feature first seen in NBA 2K12. It would have also included a camera angle that pays homage to the one used in early games in the series.

Among the details revealed at E3 2012 was the announcement that EA Sports has renewed their partnership with Synergy Sports, meaning future NBA Live releases will use real NBA data in determining player tendencies and abilities. NBA Live 13 would have sought to improve upon its predecessors in terms of team and player AI, with promotional material touting features such as "Basketball IQ" and an "all-new Playmaker Engine". The AI was intended to adapt to the user's strategy, while also evolving via data being pushed through from Synergy. Improved post play was also mentioned, with the aim of giving both offensive and defensive players sufficient tools to have an impact on the game.

NBA Live 13 was to feature ANT animation technology, which is also used by EA's FIFA and NHL series. The engine allows users to break out of animations at all times, avoiding canned situations and enhancing the responsiveness of the controls. Following the criticism of the animations seen in NBA Elite 11, developers have also stated a goal of adding more polish to animations, with more fluid and realistic looking player movement.

On June 28th 2012, EA Sports revealed the overall ratings for the first 21 picks of the 2012 NBA Draft as each player was picked. On June 29th, the overall ratings for the remaining nine first round picks were revealed via the official NBA Live Facebook page. Shortly after this information was revealed, EA Sports did not release new information about the game until announcing its cancellation, though leaked gameplay footage did appear, leaving an unfavourable impression upon gamers.

Cover Player[edit]

A cover player for the game was never revealed. The first teaser image for NBA Live 13 featured a silhouetted player which several fans speculated to be LeBron James, suggesting that he would be appearing on the game's cover. On June 26th 2012, the NBA 2K13 cover was unveiled, ruling out Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose as possibilities for the NBA Live 13 cover.

On August 6th, Operation Sports posted cover art they received from an anonymous source, depicting LeBron James. EA Sports did not address the rumours and with the game's cancellation, it appears as though the cover athlete - if there was one - will not be revealed.

PC Version[edit]

The NLSC once again put together a PC Petition in the hopes of demonstrating the community's support and enthusiasm for basketball games on the PC. The petition was submitted to EA Sports in November 2011.

A few sites and online stores initially listed a PC version of NBA Live 13, giving hope of a PC release. However, on June 11th 2012 the game's official website was updated with a list of platforms, revealing that NBA Live 13 was only going to be released for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

NBA Live Advisory Council[edit]

On February 27th 2012, EA Sports announced the NBA Live Advisory Council initiative. Fans were invited to submit their applications to be a part of the council, which would allow them an opportunity to meet with the NBA Live Development Team to provide feedback and suggestions for NBA Live 13. On March 28th, Shawn Drotar, Mario Drake, Scott O'Gallagher, Corey Andress, Jordan Simmons, Harold Biscocho, Steve Bascombe and Dougie Veney were announced as the eight inaugural council members. The Council's first visit to EA Tiburon took place from April 10th-13th, 2012.


On September 26th 2012, EA Sports officially announced the cancellation of NBA Live 13, citing the desire to spend more time working on the game for a strong re-launch of the series. While an NBA Live 14 is yet to be officially confirmed or announced, the announcement regarding NBA Live 13's cancellation did make mention of fans being able to play the game "next year", which came to pass with the relse of NBA Live 14 in 2013, as a launch title for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

The decision to cancel the game and spend another year developing it has been attributed to the negative response to leaked gameplay videos, the lone official trailer that was released, and unfavourable reactions from gamers and media who saw the game at E3.



NBA Elite 11
NBA Live Next:
NBA Live 14