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NBA Live 14 Executive Producer Sean O’Brien Discusses Game

/ Aug 1st, 2013 No Comments

NBA Live 14 is the upcoming basketball game from EA Sports, which returns to hoops after a multi-year hiatus. At the recent E3 conference in Los Angeles, Executive Editor Sean Gibson and Associate Editor Ryan Bloom were allowed behind the scenes to see demos of all the upcoming next-gen EA Sports titles. During this private demo, each received hands-on time with a basic demonstration of NBA Live 14 and the new Bounce Tech technology. During this time we interviewed NBA Live 14 Executive Producer, Sean O’Brien for an exclusive discussion about the upcoming sports video game.

Gaming Illustrated: Sean Gibson and Ryan Bloom at the EA booth. We’re here with Sean O’Brien. He is the Executive Producer of NBA Live 14. Thanks for joining us.

Sean O’Brien: My pleasure.

Gaming Illustrated: We’re here we’re seeing a bit of the debut, if you will, of some hands-on stuff with NBA Live 14. Ryan was at the EA E3 press conference and saw what you shared there. Talk about the work your team is doing in getting NBA Live 14 polished and out to gamers. I think fans want to know how well this game coming together.

Sean O’Brien: We’re really encouraged right now. We’re about at a time in our cycle when we’re starting to really bring things together. As you see here with our new Bounce Tech technology, we’ve really focusing on the dribbling and there’s some really strong individual pieces coming together. Our player movement system has been completely redesigned and rebuilt from the ground up. Same with our dribbling system. I think controlling Kyrie [Irving] in this 1-on-0 environment gives you a sense of what the character is going to feel like when you’re moving him around the floor and the freedom you have when you’re dribbling the basketball. I’m really encouraged. I’m not going to lie to you, it’s been a challenge and we’re working our butts off to ensure that NBA Live 14, when it launches on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, will be a great-playing basketball game.

Gaming Illustrated: It looks like a lot of what your team is focusing on is control and player movement, and making that feel authentic. I heard 40 different players will have their signature moves in the game. Obviously, highlighted by Kyrie Irving.

NBA Live 14

NBA Live 14

Sean O’Brien: Absolutely. That’s 40 as of right now. We’re looking to get even more in the game, but as we sit here in the second week of June, that’s 40 we have now. We’re going to continue to add to that to ensure that every superstar or every great ball-handler has his unique ball-handling skill set and really be able to take that control and give that to user’s hands so when I’m seeing Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Brian Jennings play basketball in real life, I have that same sort of control and animation tool set in my arsenal when I’m playing the game.

Gaming Illustrated: It’s been a while and taken a long time to get to this point here. We know the project has been on and off for a number of years and a lot of gamers are curious, when did production of NBA Live 14 begin?

Sean O’Brien: It’s a great question. I came back to EA Sports in the middle of October, so this has been seven months for me. The prior years, I think the best way I can describe it, built a good technology foundation for us. [Unfortunately], that didn’t really translate into a great-playing basketball game. Our goal is to get a great vision and direction for our product, what we’re doing, build a feature set that supports that vision, some of the things that you’re seeing here today. It’s been a challenge. I feel we’re in a very good place.

Gaming Illustrated: We’re playing it here on PS4. Obviously a new challenge was presented to your team with the announcement of these new console systems. Was that an opportunity for you guys to take advantage of, to really polish up this game at new levels that were not really originally conceived?

Sean O’Brien: Absolutely. Some of the things we’re doing here are being enabled through the Ignite tool set. It’s something that we couldn’t do on Gen 3. Having, for us, essentially a restart on Gen 4 for our franchise, because we’ve had a rough go the last couple of years, puts us in a really good position to really take advantage of some of the specs that the new hardware has. Again, just the basic horsepower that the hardware provides allows us to do some things that we couldn’t do before.

Gaming Illustrated: Any announcements about a franchise or connected career mode?

Sean O’Brien: No, no we haven’t had any feature announcements outside of our commitment to the connected consumer, where through our partnership with Synergy Sports Technology, offer a within-the-hour update of all the new real-world data and tendencies from a game that’s just happening. The game finishes at 9:30 at night on the East Coast, by 10:30 your box is updated with those new ratings from those games.

Gaming Illustrated: Cool. Obviously there’s going to be a lot of skeptics now, so what is your answer to that? What is your response to them?

Sean O’Brien: You know what? What we’re trying to do here… is we’re setting the stage for what you’re going to see. We’re confident in what we’re doing, but we realize you’re going to be skeptical. Naturally, I would be as well. I respect the reserving judgment until you actually see 5-on-5 and see it and actually play it. We’re going to have a lot of opportunities later in the summer time as we lead up to launch for hands-on trial… [and] really put the controller in their hands for them to see for themselves, and us not really doing a lot of talking and let the game speak for itself.

Gaming Illustrated: You do have a lot of EA sports fans really interested in seeing what NBA Live 14 is going to be turning out to be, what message would you like to give them as E3 comes to a conclusion?

Sean O’Brien: I hope from what you’re seeing, you see a glimpse into what’s coming. Obviously we’re showing Kyrie Irving in a practice environment, but you’re seeing the feature set. You’re getting a better understanding that we understand what looks good for a basketball game, and we understand what our priorities are. Again, I completely respect people wanting to wait to reserve judgement. Have a little faith, we’ve been very patient over the last few years.

It’s been amazing for me to come back to EA Sports for the renewed commitment to NBA Live and seeing, from a corporate standpoint, the investment that we’re making into basketball. It’s not a short-term investment. We want to win, we want to succeed in this category. EA Sports is number one across the board, except for basketball. The commitment is there, I think the renewed focus and vision is there and I’m excited for the future.

Gaming Illustrated: Sean, thank you for joining us.

Sean O’Brien: Cool, thank you.


Sean Gibson

Sean Gibson

Founder, Featured Contributor at Gaming Illustrated
Sean Gibson was the founder of Gaming Illustrated and served as Executive Editor and lead reviewer from 2002 to 2014. He no longer is affiliated with Gaming Illustrated, but remembers his time with the site fondly.
Sean Gibson
Sean Gibson
Sean Gibson

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