With NBA Jam on shelves and earning praise (deservedly), EA Sports is being a little more candid about NBA Elite, the canceled title and Jam's original dancing partner.
"Ultimately, it was just going to be a bad game," Andrew Wilson, head of worldwide development for EA Sports, told IGN. "I think that the goal of reinventing how people play basketball games and giving the gamer infinitely more control over the outcomes that appear on the screen in front of them, was something that just needed to take longer than we had."
That would all stand to reason, but this is not Gran Turismo 5, Red Dead Redemption or everything at Valve. In annualized sports titles, especially against a direct competitor, there's no development goal, however ambitious, that makes the release date tentative or optional. And EA Sports, by all appearances, had every intent of putting this out on Oct. 5 right up through the release of its demo, when withering criticism and glitch-filled videos popped up. Remember, this is a game canceled a week before release, late enough that some copies made it into the wild.
Wilson also addressed the restructuring that has taken Elite from EA Canada and sent the project to EA Tiburon, where four other sports titles are already built. "This is not about the current Elite team failing," Wilson said. "In fact, I think they did a tremendous job to get to where they did. I'm very proud of their willingness to jump in and take a risk and try and reinvent the business."