EA seems poised to contest the possibility of its rival 2K holding a monopoly on licensed basketball games.
Last year came and went without a console installment of EA’s NBA Live series, which skipped its traditional October release date. At the time, the publisher stressed that it was still committed to the long-running franchise — and now we may have some confirmation that a new game is indeed on its way.
Documentation from the South Korean Game Rating and Administration Committee reveals that EA has sought classification for an upcoming title named The Drive to NBA Live, according to a report from Polygon. While further information regarding the release is sparse, it seems fair to assume that this title will serve as a replacement for the lack of an NBA Live installment in 2016.
NBA Live only made its return to consoles in 2013, after a four-year absence following the release of NBA Live 10. The fact that no new installment was released in 2016 seemed to spell doom for the franchise, but the existence of The Drive seems to confirm that it’s not dead quite yet.
You might expect the game to follow the series’ standard naming convention, and be released as NBA Live 17. However, given that sports games typically feature the following year in their title, this could make the release seem a little dated when it eventually makes its debut.
However, the unusual title might suggest that the franchise is set to follow the sports genre’s current trend of offering a narrative-heavy campaign. The NBA2K series has made this mode a major focus in recent years, and last year we saw FIFA 17 follow suit with the addition of The Journey.
When EA confirmed that there would be no new NBA Live game released in 2016, there was speculation that the next installment in the series would be released as a downloadable title in the vicinity of the NBA All-Star game. That takes place on February 19, so if this turns out to be the plan, expect to see official confirmation from EA sooner rather than later.