I grew up in Chicago in the late 80s/early 90s, during the golden age of the Bulls. I wasn’t a die-hard fan, but I remember I pasted the front page of the Tribune on my bedroom wall after they won their first champsionship 3-peat. It was a singular era, and it seemed like those players had the power to electrify not just the nation but the world with their super-human athletic prowess.
The world of professional sports is full of compelling stories and over the past few years EA Sports has been integrating more narrative into their games. Individuals who rise from obscurity, train hard to become the best they can be, and build a personal brand that potentially benefits the community at large. Players and teams form friendships and rivalries. There are obvious financial elements as well, with fortunes to be won and lost, and fierce competition for top-tier sponsorships. At their core, sports can glorify the same values as an epic or saga; they can transcend nationality, ethnicity, class, and gender; they can inspire an entire generation.
So when the opportunity arose to contribute to NBA Live 19 — developed by EA Tiburon — I jumped at it.
I was fortunate to collaborate with Ross Berger (Senior Narrative Designer) and Anne Toole, as well as the rest of the dev team, on “The One,” a story that follows the journey of a player-created basketballer as they strive to become a legend. Together, we wrote interactive branching text conversations, broadcasts for both professional and enthusiast commentators, social media posts, and introductions for various Pro-Am venues (my favorite part).
Over the course of “The One” players will match up against current and former superstars of the WNBA and NBA, and take a tour around the world’s most vibrant street courts. They’ll be drafted into the League proper. They’ll interact with mentors, journalists, agents, fans, and their fellow players.
They’ll play. They’ll rise. They’ll become The One.
The game is out now for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. For more information, check out the official website — https://www.easports.com/nba-live — or watch the trailer below.