It's been over a year now since EA Sports turned "NBA Elite" into NBA Delete, cancelling the new console simulation franchise before it ever even hit stores.
And while EA Sports has been mostly silent about their basketball plans beyond proclaiming a 2012 release and a change in development studios from EA Canada to Tiburon (the home of "Madden"), I was able to catch up with EA Sports president Andrew Wilson and ask him about the upcoming game and what the change in studios might mean for the title.
"Anytime you're looking to reboot a franchise, you're looking to find a different type of creative energy," Wilson told me as I sat down with him at a recent EA Sports event. "When we rebooted the 'FIFA' franchise, we introduced a whole new team that rebuilt that engine from scratch. We did the same for 'NHL.' We completely rebooted and rebuilt that game with a new creative team.
"And while the 'NBA' creative energy could've happened anywhere, it just so happened that we had some developers in the EA Tiburon studios who were very, very passionate basketball fans. The Orlando Magic literally train 100 yards from our studio there, so we have a big basketball culture built around that creative energy, and what we will deliver will be a fantastic game."
As for any the rumors that the game was delayed an extra year, not due to development time, but because of the NBA lockout and the negative impact the work stoppage might have on sales ("NBA 2K12" sales have been crippled compared to last year), Wilson said the lockout had nothing to do with their plans.
"We had decided that we needed a longer amount of time to develop the NBA game and to make sure we were delivering a true AAA EA Sports title," Wilson explained. "We decided long ago that 2012 was the right time for us, long before the lockout, and I think once people see what we're developing, they'll agree that the extra time really paid off."