Guest Contribution – EA SPORTS Advisory Council Trip
I’d like to introduce you guys to a fellow Advisory Council member – Steve Bascombe. Steve was one of the selections who didn’t have any previous experience working with EA SPORTS or NBA Live. He is well known for running his YouTube account under the name of ThaLiveKing – which you can check out right here.
I got a chance to meet Steve in the airport before our trip to Orlando and was excited to find out he lived only 30 or so minutes away from me. After an opening conversation, I could tell quickly that Steve was a valuable member. Having an extensive basketball background and a firm understanding of the history involved in the NBA Live brand, Steve had important and detailed feedback.
Steve is a great dude so I’d like to share his thoughts on the Advisory Council trip to go along with my own. Here, in his own words, are Steve’s experiences on the council!
EA Sports Advisory Council Trip:
What’s up everybody! The name is Steve (Online known as ThaLiveKing), and yes, I have been chosen to be a part of the NBA Live 13 Advisory Council. I hail from the Greater Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada. My NBA Live background goes like this – I’ve been playing EA basketball games since I was a teenager. I grew up with those Bulls Vs Blazers games, as well as NBA Live ’95 and on. Back in 2008, after realizing I been playing a lot of classic and close games in Live, I decided to start up a YouTube (YouTube.com/ThaLiveKing) account to showcase my games. It’s pretty much been a hobby since then and I can’t wait to get back at it. I get a lot of good comments and feedback for my videos, so I will be continuing to do videos for NBA Live 13 once it’s released.
To get this started, being selected for this Advisory Council for someone who has been a fan of the game for years is truly an honor. Anyone who has been playing the Live franchise over the years always wanted their voice heard on how to improve the game, and what they want in the game. Loyal fans create wish lists every year, patches for old versions of the game (PC) and update rosters because they loved a certain NBA Live game; everybody has their favorites. I’m glad that I was able to attend this event and be an extension for the online community and give the development team feedback directly on what I and the community want to see improved in the franchise. In the end, everybody in the community wants NBA Live to be a GREAT basketball game.
My flight from Toronto was in the morning around 10am, met up with another council member Corey, who is a fellow Canadian who had the same flight as me. It was great because I got time to ‘break the ice’ with a member, get his point of view on Live and as well share my points with him and also getting a feel on what to expect when I meet the other guys. Once guys start talking basketball or sports in general and it’s positive, it’s a good feeling. I ended up having more confidence for the trip and made me believe I had good ideas to share with the development team. When we arrived in Orlando, we were greeted by our driver, and another council member, Don. We got driven to the hotel and checked in, got acquainted with our rooms, and headed to the lobby for more conversations. During the discussions I felt comfortable with the council situation because Don, was there for the same reasons as us. Good vibe, good conversations equals a great time. Few hours passed and the rest of the crew met up with us in the lobby, Mario, Dougie, Harold, Shawn and Scott. You can tell right off the bat, that the overall vibe with everybody was going to be off the charts, and that this community event had brought a group of good guys together.
John Coleman, the community manager, told us to meet him in the lobby; once he arrived he introduced himself, and gave us the overall outlook on the event and what was expected of us during our time in Orlando and abroad. John was a cool-ass guy also, and you could discuss anything with him, he was all ears when discussions were open, and made everybody feel at home. We ended the day with some dinner, with everybody feeling more positive about being selected for the NBA Live 13 Advisory Council.
I got up early, met the crew in the hotel lobby for breakfast before heading to the studio. We were given another run down on what to expect, then we were off. We all signed in as guests and headed to the room where our workstations were for the event. We then went to one of the presentation rooms where the development team had set up their power point presentation to show us their focus for NBA Live; we were also greeted by a camera crew who documented the whole event. The team went through the basics on what the main focus is for NBA Live as a franchise, they discussed many points and took feedback from us. It was a high level discussion; everybody was on the same page as far as the direction for the franchise. We then went to the NBA Live floor of the studio and visited each worker; they showed us and discussed what they were working on. I won’t say much about this, (I will when more info comes out) but I was impressed with a lot of the things the team were working on and describing to us. We had extensive conversations with each member and gave them ideas on how they can improve on top of what they were already doing, pretty much giving them a variety of options and they were very receptive to us and took notes.
After lunch it was the time most of us had been waiting for – getting an early look at the gameplay of NBA Live 13. When I played the game, I began taking a ton of notes because I wanted to give as much feedback as possible. In past next gen versions of the game, I have always been focused on improving the gameplay, so this was my time to fully put that in motion with NBA Live 13. I put the headphones on and got to work. During our time with the game, the development team was there getting our views and opinions while stressing we write them down so they refer back to them. They wanted as much feedback as possible, positive and negative.
After our brief time with the game we began to converse on the importance of having an Advisory Council, and what EA expects from us down the road with the responsibilities we carry. They gave us our guidelines and we understood them to the fullest. After the day was over, we all went to a Japanese Restaurant and got to meet more members of the development team. It was a great day, I learned a lot.
Thursday was a fun day. I woke up around 7am to be at the RDV gym to run some real basketball with the team. It’s been awhile since I played a full court scrimmage game, so I was eager to get a run in. When we got there, the development team was in full force practicing, shooting around getting loose, so we had to go and get ready. I started off shooting jumpers like I normally do and stretched, I didn’t have my legs but still I was eager to get in some run. We divided the gym into two courts and had two games going on while the camera crew taped us. The Dev team really had some good ballers out there, to me it was like a dream job, play basketball when you wake up then head to work to make a basketball game – sounds like heaven to me. We ended up staying at the gym longer than expected, but it was great for everybody to get some run, and we played for almost 3 hours. I did a few things for the camera crew, drill stuff, but I couldn’t hit a layup or make a shot to save my life, and my jump shot is rarely off. It was an off day, lucky day for the Dev team (lol).
After balling, we headed to the hotel, got changed, and straight to the studio to get the day started. It was around noon, and we got another chance to play the current build of the game. We had some more presentations from the Dev team, showcasing different game modes and online features, along with more discussions on features and future plans for NBA Live. After the presentations were over, we got more hands-on time with the game while each of the council members were interviewed on camera. We were asked the typical questions like who are you, where you’re from, and background info, to let the gaming world know about each of us. We also filled out an EA survey giving more detailed information on what we felt about the game, along with the info we brainstormed before we arrived on the trip. We made sure the development team received everything we had, good and bad, and they responded well during our discussions.
To end the day, we went to ‘Wing House’ and enjoyed NHL and NBA games. We toasted to a successful event while watching the Miami Heat lose to the Bulls and called it a night.
My last day in Orlando, and had to wake up early for my 10:50am flight back to Toronto. I got home safely around 2pm.
I’m looking forward to helping EA resurrect the NBA Live franchise. While I can’t speak too much on the game itself, I believe EA has selected the right individuals to work on this game; they are passionate about basketball and straight up with each other when they work together. If there’s something wrong or a problem somewhere, they let each other know what they like and don’t like, it’s good to have that kind of chemistry within a group. I honestly can’t say anything negative about my trip. Everybody was focused and delivered what we all came to deliver, and it was a success. The development team is working very hard day in and day out and took time out of their busy schedule to show selected individuals what they have been working on. I can only respect that. At the end of the day they want what we all want – a GREAT NBA Live game.
I would like to take some time right now to thank the crew members Dougie, Harold, Mario, Don, Shawn, Corey and Scott for being straight up dudes and easy to get along with. I’d also like to thank John Coleman, the community manager, who made this possible. I was extremely happy that I was chosen for this opportunity and I’m looking forward to keeping in touch with you guys and possibly meeting up at future events. We all have the same goals in mind, to make NBA Live the best basketball game out there, I for one, can’t wait to witness this growth.
Much Love, and Thanks for reading!!