NBA Live 18
|NBA Live 18|
NBA Live 18 cover art.
|Platform(s)||PlayStation 4, Xbox One|
|Release date(s)||September 15th 2017|
NBA Live 18 (stylised as NBA LIVE 18) is an NBA basketball simulation video game by EA Sports, released September 15th 2017 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It is the twentieth game in the NBA Live series (not counting cancelled titles), and the fifth game in the series to be developed by EA Tiburon. James Harden is featured as the game's cover player. It is the direct sequel to NBA Live 16, and was followed by NBA Live 19.
Background & Cancelled Titles
On May 10th 2016, Executive Producer Sean O'Brien posted another open letter on the game's official website, announcing that the next console version of NBA Live would not be released until early 2017, and instead a new version of NBA Live Mobile would be made available in the Fall of 2016. In the letter, Sean reiterated that the development team was committed to the console version of NBA Live, suggesting that the decision was simply made to allow for more development time, rather than shifting the entire focus of the series to the mobile platform. It was later confirmed that the mobile and console versions of NBA Live are developed by different teams, thus the development of one does not interfere with the other.
Although references to NBA Live 17 had previously been made, in mid January 2017, leaked artwork and a game classification decision for Electronic Arts Korea seemingly confirmed a release titled "The Drive to NBA Live" for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. A description of the release identified it as a sports simulation game, and a demo for the next iteration of NBA Live. This fuelled speculation that EA Sports would be skipping NBA Live 17 altogether, and instead releasing a demo or stripped down digital-only title as a preview of NBA Live 18.
During an investor call in late January, Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson confirmed that EA Sports would not be releasing an NBA Live title in early 2017 as originally planned. Wilson indicated that due to the progress that had been made on the game, the decision was made to continue development on it in order to release it as a fully-featured title in the Fall.
Development & Features
NBA Live 18 is a sim-oriented basketball game, which aims to realistically portray the real National Basketball Association. Running on the IGNITE engine, it retains features such as Dynasty Mode, ESPN presentation, right stick dribbling controls, Ultimate Team, LIVE Pro-Am, and other established staples of the NBA Live series. A new single player career mode encompassing the NBA and streetball titled The One also made its debut.
LIVE Pro-Am was expanded with additional venues, as originally hinted at on February 16th 2016, when Goodman League commissioner Miles Rawls announced that Barry Farms Coliseum in Washington, DC would be included in the next NBA Live game. Rawls' post on the Goodman League website also mentioned that the Drew League and Dyckman Basketball Tournament would be represented. In June 2017, a screenshot confirmed the presence of the Drew League, which plays a role in The One and LIVE Pro-Am Tour.
On February 19th 2016, basketball skill development coach and former Harlem Globetrotter Derick Grant revealed on Twitter that he has been performing motion capture for NBA Live, Tweeting out a short clip from a recent mo-cap session.
On March 23rd 2017, it was announced that NBA Live 18 would be a part of the lineup for EA Play 2017, with gamers having a chance to both see and play the game at the event. As such, EA officially confirmed both the continuation of the NBA Live series, and revealed that it would be retain the familiar title format. The first official screenshots and gameplay footage were revealed on May 24th. More screenshots and gameplay footage were revealed on June 7th, following an event in New York.
In an interview with SLAM Magazine, producer Mike Mahar described The One as a new way of experiencing NBA Live, and mentioned that the game's modes had been revamped around it. He also reiterated the focus on improving core gameplay technologies, including animations and fluidity. The One was revealed to be a brand new single player career mode during EA Play 2017. A dynamic experience rather than a story-driven career mode, The One allows gamers to build a legacy in the NBA and on the streets, while also honing their skills in the Drew League. It also features LIVE Events that include Solo, Co-Op, and Multiplayer challenges.
Rumours of a PC release began to circulate in early June 2017, following a listing of a PC version in a Game Informer article. However, the platforms listed on the official website confirmed that the game was only slated for release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
At EA Play 2017, a demo of NBA Live 18 was confirmed for August. The demo featured The One, with progress carrying over to the full version.
NBA Live 18 has garnered a score of 72 (PlayStation 4 and Xbox One) on Metacritic. Among fans, it was considered an improvement, but nevertheless inferior to NBA 2K18. The One was praised for its interesting concept, but other game modes were criticised for their depth. Gameplay was generally seen as being better than NBA Live 16, while still having plenty of room for improvement.
NBA Live 16
NBA Live 19