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NBA Elite 11 Gameplay Q&A

NBA ELITE 11 Gameplay Producer Novell Thomas was kind enough to answer our questions on gameplay in this year’s game. Please note that these questions were submitted before the most recent previews came out.

Can you please give us an overview of the basic moves and controls with the new Hands-On Control in NBA ELITE 11?

At a basic level, the lower body is controlled by the left stick and your hands and a lot of the upper body movements are controlled by the right stick including the left bumper and left trigger. At a high level, all your movements are controlled on the left stick and any movements involving your hands, arms and your upper body are controlled by the right stick. So with the right stick you have your dribble moves, shooting and freestyle passing. On the left side you have lateral movement such as moving forward and backward, you have the ability to select your take-off going one-foot, two-feet, euro-step or pro-hop.

Will we be able to perform tips-ins and putback dunks in NBA ELITE 11? If so, how do they work with the new controls?

Yes, you are finally able to perform putback dunks in ELITE 11. If you switch or position yourself underneath the basket and time your jump when going for a rebound you will be able to perform a tip-in dunk.

Are we able to adjust layups in midair to elude defenders? Can we pass out of dunk and layup attempts?

Yes. If you go up for a dunk by putting the right stick forward to 12 o’clock and then move the stick right or left you will adjust either right or left. If you go up for a layup by rolling up the right stick right or left to 12 o’clock, after you perform the layup you can adjust right or left as soon as you complete the layup motion. You can pass out of shots, gathers and dunks.

Has free throw shooting also been updated? Is it the same method as shooting a regular jumpshot and are there any on-screen guides/targets to aim for?

Free throw shooting will take on the mechanic of actually shooting the basketball. There’s the element of aim and the element of power with free throw shooting. We didn’t want the mechanic to be different than how you shoot the basketball during 5 v 5 so we wanted it to be similar. So with the right stick push up straight at 12 o’clock for your aim and depending on your timing you can be short with your free throws or you can be long which is dependent on the player’s skill ratings that will come through. There’s a meter that will assist you as you shoot your free throw.

Have any further enhancements been made to playcalling (both for the user and CPU), shot distribution and player abilities in NBA ELITE 11?

The biggest difference compared to last year regarding playcalling is the inclusion of dynamic quick plays. The name is similar to what it was last year, however the plays are more advanced and play out longer. It’s push button playcalling and you initiate the quick play by pressing X on the 360 controller (Square for the PS3). You can have a play last as long as 7 seconds or 3 seconds play out for you.

Does NBA ELITE 11 retain player specific moves such as signature shooting and dribbling styles, Go To Moves and dunk packages?

Yes to dunk packages, we have signature shots but we don’t have signature shot arcs this year. We do, however, from a mechanic standpoint have the ability to perform higher arcing shots so if a defender is on you and you want to put additional arc on your shot you can do that. We do have signature dribble moves but we do have REAL AI which we will go into detail about at a later time.

Is Freestyle Passing still present in NBA ELITE 11? How about Pick & Roll Control?

Yes, definitely freestyle passing is a part of NBA ELITE 11. You also have pick and roll control but it’s slightly different than it was last year. This time it’s on a button and it’s a toggle.

Is individual player weight and strength taken into account with the new real-time physics engine? For example, will we notice a significant difference trying to finish in traffic with Dwight Howard or LeBron James compared to Brandon Jennings or Steve Nash?

Yes with the new physics engine attributes really come through. Players who are stronger, heavier, taller, quicker are all taken into account for the all the different types of collisions that you will see. A lot of the outcomes in the post are also influenced by physics the most in terms of backdown battles, fighting for position, you can push guys out you can push guys back depending whether you are on offense or defense. Attributes really come into play with the physics based gameplay.

NBA LIVE 10 introduced illegal screens. Will NBA ELITE 11 include any other calls away from the ball such as over-the-back fouls, loose ball fouls and holding fouls?

We didn’t implement any new off-ball foul type plays. We do have illegal screens again this year but we didn’t focus on that part of the game this year, our focus was on Hands-On control and the physics engine.

Can you talk a little about the post game in NBA ELITE 11? What changes have been made to the controls and available post moves?

With the ability to control your feet and your hands we really wanted to make sure that came through in the post game. You can easily get into back to basket and backdown moves. From there you can perform jumphooks, sky hooks, drop steps, pro hops, running gathers from a backdown. With all of these controls you have all the tools necessary to pull off the moves you want to in the post.

Is the game balanced between offense and defense? Is the Defensive Assist control still available to help users stay with their man?

From a balance standpoint one of our goals was to make playing defense fun. We’ve had a lot of people say that steals feel powerful, blocks feel powerful, you can successfully stay with the ball carrier, CPU help defenders are more alert and aware of where the ball is and they will dig at the ball to knock the ball loose. So from a defensive standpoint you have the control available to you this year. We don’t have defensive assist control this year but we have spent a considerable amount of time putting the player in a position that makes sense from a basketball standpoint and also from what the user is inputting on the control whether it be off-ball or on-ball.

Are gameplay sliders still available for those who wish to tweak the game to their liking? Have any new sliders been added?

We do have sliders this year, however they have been reduced compared to last year due to the game team focusing on the 5 on 5 core gameplay and physics engine.

Have any further changes been made to the substitution logic for both the user and CPU in NBA ELITE 11?

There have been updates to the substitution logic ensuring that star players are on the floor when it makes sense. Not necessarily putting starters on the floor all the time or at the start of the fourth quarter but having your best group of guys be on the court. Sometimes that will incorporate your starters and sometimes it doesn’t. For instance if your starter is in foul trouble then he is no longer a good option for you but there’s consideration on the next best player in that position at that time so there has been a lot of work done on substitution logic.

We realise you can’t go into specifics yet but can we look forward to new and updated game modes (eg an enhanced Dynasty Mode) in NBA ELITE 11?

We’re always looking to at ways to extend the playing experience. There have been enhancements to Dynasty Mode, we have a very engaging single player mode[Become Legendary] which we expect people to be playing for extended periods of time.

Finally, is there anything else you can reveal about the gameplay in NBA ELITE 11 at this time?

Yes, I was hoping you’d ask this. You can pass the ball off the backboard to yourself and finish with a dunk. If you’re really good you may even be able to get a teammate with you and the throw the ball off the backboard. Anybody out there try to get it!

A big thanks to Novell for taking the time to answer our questions and to Yaw Obiri-Yeboah, community manager for NBA ELITE 11, for setting everything up!

Got any thoughts on the Q&A? Post them here in the NLSC Forum!

Q&A Follow-Up (September 11th, 2010)

These notes follow up on a couple of questions we didn’t ask in the Q&A as well as clarifying a couple of Novell’s answers.

  • Unfortunately there are no in-game injuries again this year, as the focus was on implementing the new Hands-On Control and laying the groundwork with the physics engine.
  • Putbacks and tip-ins are both contextual and user-controlled; that is, they are contingent on a player being in the right position to attempt a tip or putback dunk (as well as their ability to dunk in the first place when it comes to putbacks) but it is possible to position a player in the appropriate spot adjacent to the basket and then attempt a putback or tip-in by going up for a rebound. This means there aren’t any separate controls to force a tip or putback attempt as there were with Freestyle Air, but with appropriate positioning you can perform those actions on the offensive glass.
  • Self alley-oops can be performed as you’re heading towards the basket with no one in front of you. Press the right trigger on Xbox 360 (R2 on the PS3) and up on the right stick at the same time to toss the ball off the backboard. Continuing moving towards the basket and your player will go up and slam it home.
  • Changing shot arcs is apparently achieved by movement on the right stick as you’re attempting a shot. Further clarification will be forthcoming.