Electronic Arts has announced that Russell Westbrook will be the cover athlete for NBA Live 16. Check out the announcement trailer below.
The Oklahoma City Thunder point guard posted amazing stats this past year (while Kevin Durant nursed an injury), and he was voted the MVP of the NBA All-Star Game.
"Russell plays every game like he has something to prove," said EA Sports exec Anthony Stevenson in a press release. "Our team is building NBA Live the exact same way, so we're thrilled to have him as an ambassador for our game."
The NBA Live series is finally regaining some consistency after taking a hiatus in 2011 and losing its genre-leading position to 2K's NBA 2K franchise. Last year, during an interview with Polygon, Sean O'Brien, the game's executive producer, took the unusual step of confirming the development of NBA Live 16 and guaranteeing the eventual arrival of NBA Live 17. He said, "Guaranteed. We've already started development on 16. We're staffing up. We're actually increasing investment on what 16—and 17–look like."
Coincidentally, during that interview, in attempting to sell gamers on reinvesting in the series, O'Brien compared EA's strategy to that of Sam Presti, the general manager of the Oklahoma City Thunder. "Building a high-definition game is not easy. I think the game we're creating is different, and I think as we mature as a product, you'll see that difference come out more and more," he said. "The analogy is, I envision what Sam Presti said when they moved [the team to Oklahoma City]. Is he selling season ticket holders on the promise that they will win a championship this year? Or is he selling them on the vision, what they want to do, and do you want to be a part of this? In our case, it's building a game, not a team."
Fans should see some of the vision come to fruition in NBA Live 16. The official handle for the series promised an inquiring fan on Twitter that the next installment would feature some "big improvements." Let's hope they deliver!
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