Interview with NBA Live Senior Producer Mike Mahar (FOX 13 News)

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Interview with NBA Live Senior Producer Mike Mahar (FOX 13 News)

Postby Andrew on Fri Nov 25, 2016 8:05 am

It's primarily a piece on Madden Executive Producer Seann Graddy, but it concludes with some notes about NBA Live, and features an interview with Senior Producer Mike Mahar.

Not all of the sports games produced at EA Tiburon have enjoyed the same success as Madden NFL. The NASCAR series Graddy first worked on was shelved in 2008. After 20 years, EA stopped producing its NCAA football series in 2013. And one of its most successful franchises has hit a swoon in recent years; critics have panned the past few editions of NBA Live, and sales reflect their assessment.

EA pushed back the release of NBA Live 17. Normally a fall release, it’s now clear the game won’t hit shelves until 2017. EA brought in a new team to revamp the series.

FOX13’s Chris Cato spoke with senior producer Mike Mahar. He declined to give a specific time frame on the game’s release, saying only it will come out “sometime in the calendar year 2017”. But he did hint that there will be some big changes and he essentially promised the animation will be better.


You can watch the interview with Mike here. He isn't able to say a lot about the game at the moment, but he does mention a focus on improving gameplay and animations, and new ways of playing game modes. He's also pretty candid about the criticism of the series, and notes the importance of gamer feedback.

No release date as yet beyond being "sometime in the calendar year 2017", though EA has already listed it as a Q1 release. Seems more news might be around the corner, though.
This topic was moved from NBA Live 16 by Andrew on Thu May 25, 2017 2:21 am.
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Re: Interview with NBA Live Senior Producer Mike Mahar (FOX 13 News)

Postby Dee4Three on Sat Nov 26, 2016 4:06 am

Hopefully "New ways of playing game modes" means a multi player dynasty/association... Even though that certainly isn't a new idea, it would be new to Live because they havnt had it in 13 years.
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Re: Interview with NBA Live Senior Producer Mike Mahar (FOX 13 News)

Postby Pdub on Sat Nov 26, 2016 4:42 am

I don't see why they can't reveal anything. 2K17 is already out and patched. Unless they are so far behind that this year is getting skipped and they are not saying anything. They were doing fine, but yes things needed to be fixed and improved. Starting over again? I'm losing any benefit of the doubt I once had.
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Re: Interview with NBA Live Senior Producer Mike Mahar (FOX 13 News)

Postby Andrew on Sat Nov 26, 2016 8:38 am

I don't think they're starting over again; at least I hope not, as that would only set them back once more. I can understand them wanting to be careful about revealing anything before they feel they can really wow people, or at a time when another game is getting all the hype. I still think we'll hear more come January.
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Re: Interview with NBA Live Senior Producer Mike Mahar (FOX 13 News)

Postby Pdub on Sat Nov 26, 2016 9:06 am

Sure, they're not starting from scratch. However, it sounds similar to what happened to Live 13 when Sean O'brien came back and they had to turn it into a launch title for the current gen. So it's a new team with a bunch of code they didn't write. They have to decipher it, decide what to keep, what to rewrite, and hope the new code works well with the current code.

I thought Sean O'brien was doing well and I had hoped they could just continue building improvements. I really enjoyed pro am on 16.
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Re: Interview with NBA Live Senior Producer Mike Mahar (FOX 13 News)

Postby Andrew on Sat Nov 26, 2016 9:11 am

As far as I know, Sean's still around as the Executive Producer. Mike is a Senior Producer. A couple of the guys I met last year have moved on, but others are still around, so it's not a completely new team, to the best of my knowledge.
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Re: Interview with NBA Live Senior Producer Mike Mahar (FOX 13 News)

Postby ThaLiveKing on Sun Nov 27, 2016 5:23 pm

I hope the game play is how I imagine it in my head....the franchise has so much potential to be amazing, hopefully the new animations take the game play to another level. The whole exceed fan's expectation thing is the one quote I'm looking at, they have to have something big in the works.

One thing I REALLY want is the crowd to be like this after a big play.

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Re: Interview with NBA Live Senior Producer Mike Mahar (FOX 13 News)

Postby mlp111 on Mon Nov 28, 2016 2:53 am

The crowd has never been a issue for EA
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Re: Interview with NBA Live Senior Producer Mike Mahar (FOX 13 News)

Postby ThaLiveKing on Mon Nov 28, 2016 3:56 am

mlp111 wrote:The crowd has never been a issue for EA



Have u seen them go this crazy in Live after a big play? I surely haven't...in Fifa and NHL, yes
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Re: Interview with NBA Live Senior Producer Mike Mahar (FOX 13 News)

Postby Andrew on Mon Nov 28, 2016 8:29 am

I've said it before in podcasts, articles, and here in the Forum, but gameplay wise, NBA Live has to look and feel good. It's one thing to enhance the animations by making them more life-like, but the controls themselves have to feel fluid as well. Easier said than done, but that balancing act of great looking animations and smooth control should be the ultimate goal.

Live has actually made some strides since the comeback in terms of AI, running plays, and so forth. NBA Live 16 has some good off-ball movement and solid Xs and Os, so while there's room for improvement, it's not as big an issue as the animations and controls when it comes to realistically depicting the sport. Speaking of controls, I'd still like to see them get deeper, without compromising the simplicity and intuitiveness that has really worked to their advantage in previous games.

Atmosphere is definitely important, too. Appropriate crowd reactions, and appropriately big crowd reactions in particular, do help with that. I'd place some of the gameplay issues and deepening the game modes above it in terms of importance, but it's still important in its own right because it helps make the experience.
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Re: Interview with NBA Live Senior Producer Mike Mahar (FOX 13 News)

Postby Pdub on Mon Nov 28, 2016 10:09 am

It seems like we say these things every year. I'm talking about controls being smooth and responsive, while having realistic animations. It's always a trade off and it's impossible for everybody to understand it unless they completely explain the mechanics behind the system. Even then, if they do, it's like they tell you how to play it, rather than giving you the opportunity to discover. Sometimes I just wish they would put in extreme options for a full on arcade like experience with instant animation response and a full on simulation experience with completely smooth animations while letting us choose the balance. So, basically a physics slider.
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Re: Interview with NBA Live Senior Producer Mike Mahar (FOX 13 News)

Postby Andrew on Mon Nov 28, 2016 10:26 am

Well, it hasn't happened yet. Of course we're saying it every year. ;)

Point taken, though. And a physics slider would be pretty cool, if it's doable.
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Re: Interview with NBA Live Senior Producer Mike Mahar (FOX 13 News)

Postby ThaLiveKing on Tue Nov 29, 2016 12:08 am

Honestly, the control responsiveness isn't as bad as I originally thought, not sure if it something on my end, but when I scaled my Xbox One down to 720p from the 1080p, the controls actually felt more fluid. Not sure if that makes any sense, but I've noticed the difference in the way the game plays and moves (control wise), and it's not just Live, FIFA & Madden also. The paint defense is terrible, it really took a step back in Live 16, I'm hoping for more ways to protect the paint in 17, I remember I had some monster blocks in 14 & 15, but barely any in 16.

Last but not least, I WANT SOME WOW PLAYS IN LIVE
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Re: Interview with NBA Live Senior Producer Mike Mahar (FOX 13 News)

Postby Andrew on Tue Nov 29, 2016 8:09 am

It's definitely improved, but having gone back and played NBA Live 16 recently after a couple of months with NBA 2K17, I think it can definitely be better.

I decided to go ahead and make this week's Monday Tip-Off about what I want to see out of NBA Live in the future: Crafting NBA Live’s Comeback
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Re: Interview with NBA Live Senior Producer Mike Mahar (FOX 13 News)

Postby StyxTx on Tue Nov 29, 2016 9:16 am

Andrew wrote:....................Atmosphere is definitely important, too. Appropriate crowd reactions, and appropriately big crowd reactions in particular, do help with that. I'd place some of the gameplay issues and deepening the game modes above it in terms of importance, but it's still important in its own right because it helps make the experience.


Other crowd things like the crowd thinning out late in a blowout or smaller crowds for really bad teams, etc.
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Re: Interview with NBA Live Senior Producer Mike Mahar (FOX 13 News)

Postby Andrew on Tue Nov 29, 2016 9:17 am

Definitely, all nice touches for sure.
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Re: Interview with NBA Live Senior Producer Mike Mahar (FOX 13 News)

Postby mp3 on Thu Dec 01, 2016 2:27 am

The low attendance for losing small market teams is something they used to have back in the early 2000's.

It was a nice touch when I was using Denver and you could play a below 500. team and there would be empty seats then the next game playing someone like the Spurs or Lakers and there's a packed house!

Not sure if it was a great advertisement for the league (empty seats) but it give a certain bit of reality to season mode.
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Re: Interview with NBA Live Senior Producer Mike Mahar (FOX 13 News)

Postby Andrew on Thu Dec 01, 2016 8:39 am

NBA 2K has something similar, so I imagine as long as it isn't too exaggerated, the league is fine with it. After all, it's pretty obvious when it happens on TV, so it's obviously a thing.
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