With only a week to go before its release, EA has delayed the release of NBA Elite 11. With that much of a window, surely the discs were printed and ready to go. Some rather ugly feedback from the community seems to the cause for the delay, which is surely interesting. That’s a major business decision.
Most of the spite stems from the new control scheme, based almost entirely on the right analog stick. It is used to juke, spin, and shoot.
This also means NBA Jam, which was supposed to be included as a freebie, will become a stand alone release later this year on the Xbox 360 and PS3. The Wii version is still on track.
There are two trains of thought on this. One, the community feedback based on the demo really did have an effect, and since this is a rebranding, the first game is far too important to screw up. Corporate made a decision based on the public feedback. This has happened only once in EA’s history, that with Madden 96 on the PlayStation, which failed to release entirely after internal testing, but with a far larger window than a week.
The second thought is that someone finally wised up and realize players who want NBA Jam are an entirely different market and *gasp* it could be a full priced product, or even a downloadable PSN/Xbox Live Arcade game. The delay of Elite is purely a cover. Cue conspiracy theory.
After playing the demo, NBA Elite wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t great, but some of the mid-2000 NHL titles and even NBA Live in 2007 or so were far more deplorable. Elite 11 needed some tweaking to the shooting for sure, and the visuals are a dud, yet EA Sports has some really nasty titles to their credit. Why is NBA Elite a special case?
If anyone on the development would like to talk, anonymously of course, about NBA Elite’s development, please drop us a line. We’d love to learn about this internal story that would otherwise never be known.