Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to basketball video games, the real NBA or another area of interest to our community, either as a list of five items or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.
We’ve come to the final edition of The Friday Five for 2013, as we find ourselves a mere four days away from a brand new year. Last week, I took a look back as I picked my five favourite Friday Fives from the first year of the column. This week, I’m looking ahead to the future, listing five things that I’m looking forward to in the coming year.
2013 was certainly an interesting year for our community, with several large modding projects, the launch of a new generation of consoles, the return of NBA Live after four years on the sideline and a very memorable NBA Finals series between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs. Having said that, I believe that 2014 will have its fair share of interesting events, great games, highlights and moments from the NBA and of course, fun times with basketball video games. So, without any further ado and in no particular order, here are 5 Things I’m Looking Forward To In 2014.
1. Updates to NBA Live 14
As someone who wants NBA Live to succeed and was looking forward to the release of NBA Live 14, it’s certainly disappointing that the game has not been the comeback that I was hoping to see. I’m finishing up a written review of NBA Live 14 (along with reviews of NBA 2K14 on PC and PlayStation 4) which I’ll be posting very soon, but in the meantime I can offer a succinct evaluation of the game so far. In a nutshell, I would say that it does have potential and you can see good things here and there, but it definitely needs more work and polish to be a solid, enjoyable basketball sim.
The good news is that the development team has been listening to gamer feedback and have pledged to put it to good use, not only in the development of NBA Live 15 but in post-release support for NBA Live 14. The game has already received a couple of minor updates but some more substantial ones are in the pipeline. With talk of new animations and textures, various gameplay enhancements and even hints of a practice mode, I’m looking forward to seeing just how much can be done with each title update. I’m hoping for the best as it seems that EA has a chance to turn things around with NBA Live 14, while also putting those efforts to good use in next year’s game.
2. A New Design
As I mentioned in the NLSC Podcast last week, we’re looking to implement a new design for the site in the near future. When we re-launched the NLSC back in August 2011, the new design was essentially a beta that we’ve since made small tweaks to here and there, every once in a while. Recently, we’ve been working on a new design that we hope will not only be more aesthetically appealing but also provide better organisation for our content, while being easier to navigate.
We’ll still be the NLSC with the same logo and a familiar colour scheme, but I’m certainly looking forward to freshening things up with a revamped layout. We’ll also be looking to provide better compatibility for mobile and tablet devices, with mobile versions of the main site, Forum and hopefully the Wiki. We don’t have the resources to develop our own app and for those who have asked about it, we’re not looking to use Tapatalk either, but hopefully the mobile support that we’re looking to add will make it easier to browse the NLSC when you’re away from your desktop or laptop.
3. The 20th Anniversary of NBA Live
Although it traces its roots to earlier EA basketball titles including the NBA Playoffs series and NBA Showdown, the NBA Live series and brand officially made its debut in 1994 with NBA Live 95. Since then, the series has experienced several ups and downs, obviously falling on some very hard times in recent years. Despite the series’ shaky comeback this year, the development team at EA Tiburon has emphasised their commitment to the game, as I talked about before. As such, NBA Live still survives, twenty years later.
It hasn’t exactly been two decades of consistent and unparalleled success for NBA Live, but the series has had its moments and it’s hitting a rather significant milestone. As someone who has been playing the game since NBA Live 95, it makes me feel…well, a little old to be perfectly honest, but also somewhat nostalgic. I’m not sure if EA Sports themselves have anything planned for the occasion, but as I mentioned in last week’s podcast, I’d like to celebrate the anniversary here on the NLSC with some retrospectives and whatnot. To that end, I’ve started putting together some content, with more details to come early in the new year.
4. NBA 2K14 Modding
We already have over 560 files for NBA 2K14 in our Downloads section, making it the fourth largest section in the database behind NBA 2K13, NBA Live 08 and NBA 2K12. At the current rate, it stands a good chance of being the largest section by the time NBA 2K15 is released. With RED MC coming out much earlier this year, we should be seeing some great projects being made for NBA 2K14, not the least of which is a conversion of the Ultimate Base Roster by HAWK23 and company.
I’m also looking to get into the scene myself. The only contributions that I’ve been making to the NBA 2K sections in our Downloads database these past few years have been the offline update packs containing 2K’s official rosters, but I’d like to try my hand at making some custom updates. The reason I haven’t done any modding for 2K before now basically comes down to setting aside the free time to do so and finding a niche, since we already have a few people making current roster updates for the games. Still, I have a couple of ideas that I’d like to try out, so I’m keen to make a long overdue foray into 2K modding with NBA 2K14.
5. The later stages of the 2014 NBA Playoffs
I must admit, I’d be looking forward to this a little more if the Chicago Bulls hadn’t been hit with some terrible luck in the form of another knee injury for Derrick Rose. While Rose hasn’t ruled out a return come Playoff time should he be fully healed and the Bulls qualify for the postseason, I’m not holding my breath on that one. I’m just relieved that this injury isn’t as severe as the ACL tear that forced him to miss the entire 2012/2013 season.
However, I do think that we’re in for some good matchups in the 2014 NBA Playoffs. In the East, the early rounds probably aren’t going to produce too many classic series, but I’d love to see another clash between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals. The West is far more likely to see some good series throughout the postseason but looking at the top four or five teams, there are several interesting possibilities for the Western Conference Finals. With any luck, the 2014 NBA Finals should then prove to be a fitting finale for the season, just as the 2013 Finals were last year.
That’s going to do it for this week and the year 2013. Thank you once again for checking in throughout the year, I’ll be bringing you more lists and countdowns every Friday in 2014. In the meantime, what are you looking forward to in the coming year? Let me know in the comments below and as always, feel free to take the discussion to the NLSC Forum. Happy New Year everyone, please join me on January 3rd for the next Friday Five.