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EA's Riccitiello Explains The Demise Of  NBA Elite 11

EA's Riccitiello Explains The Demise Of NBA Elite 11

December 2, 2010 | By Tom Curtis

December 2, 2010 | By Tom Curtis
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EA CEO John Riccitiello has outlined the sudden cancellation of the now infamous NBA Elite 11, noting its technical problems and how EA did not want to "ship a product [it wasn't] proud of and compete for marginal share."

The insight comes from a lengthy interview with Kotaku in which Riccitiello emphasized that the developer did not have enough time to finish the game based on its scope and ambition. He explained that the team had taken on "two years’ worth of work that they could only get done in 18 months."

NBA Elite 11 first ran into media trouble when its demo hit Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, revealing significant technical issues when the game was quickly approaching its target launch date. Most infamous was a character getting stuck in the classic T-pose giving rise to popular jibes that "Jesus was in the game."

The game was found to be behind in quality by the time it needed to release, and EA determined it was not ready for sale. Riccitiello explained sports titles are much more sensitive to release dates than other genres, noting that they must sync with real sports league cycles in order to reach the largest audience. This led to the choice to cancel the game in order to preserve the reputation of the EA Sports brand, as the publisher did not feel NBA Elite 11 could compete with NBA 2K11 in the state it was in.

NBA 2K11 went on to receive high marks of 89% at Metacritic, as well as robust sales, with analysts stating that the game was tracking ahead of last year's offering, an assertion confirmed by Gamasutra's Saling the World data for early October.


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