Yesterday, EA Sports released sample player images for their new release of the popular NBA video game franchise, NBA Live 2011. The biggest news however, was the inclusion of Mrs. LeBron Wade with the Miami Heat.
Games must be released prior to the start of each season and development timelines are tight. Gamers want the most up to date team rosters. All game franchises rushed to include LeBron and Chris Bosh on the Heat roster for this year’s release, but EA Sports was the only game to use Mrs. LeBron Wade, along with the name change and the physical alterations that the Heat forward has undergone since marrying NBA Champion Dwyane Wade.
EA Sports’ main competitor 2K Sports felt that there was no reason to change the appearance of LeBron for the game based on his off-the-court persona, saying, “Just because the guy likes to wear lady-wigs and dress like a woman in his private life, doesn’t mean he will not continue to be the picture of masculinity on the court. Our game consumers don’t want to play with cross-dressing sissy-divas.” …
To the contrary, EA Sports commented, “We strive to make our games as realistic as possible and we believe it is important to depict the players as they really are.”
They quickly learned that it would not be so easy to create a realistic representation of Mrs. Wade. “We struggled to make this change. Mrs. Wade is always changing his hair style so we didn’t know which style to choose. In the end we chose a simple bob haircut. We really anticipate the Mrs. Wade will need a classic and practical wig to play effectively.
“However,” EA Sports press release continued. “Mrs. Wade has recently made the Miami Heat dance team, and gamers will be pleased to see LeBron displaying all sorts of funky hairstyles during the game’s halftime show. We thought fans would want as realistic game as possible, and gamers will be able to perform secret code dance moves with LeBron during a little in-game bonus game. Think Dance-Dance Revolution meets NBA Jams.”
Dance moves, according to EA game development manager John Phelps, will include the “Robot”, the “Doggy Bounce”, the “F*** You, Cleveland”, and the sensual “Date Night Pole Dance with Dwyaney” dances.
Once they reached a decision on LeBron’s on-the-court hairstyle, EA Sports needed to quickly complete the programming change to update Mrs. Wade’s appearance. The chief programmer noted, “We had basically completed the game when the guys from retail forced these changes on us. Due to the late change, we ended up just cutting and pasting the hair from Anna from the Tekken franchise and adding a pink head band for a little flair.”
Initial game-player reaction seems to be mixed and it is unclear which company made the correct choice. Sales will be the judge. Perhaps more importantly however, it remains to be seen which style Mrs. Wade really will wear during the season. As of this article’s release, he’s not telling.
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