The lights are on
NBA 2K12 has best in class controls and presentation, but community backlash over the broken online play has dominated the discussion in forums since the game's October 5th launch. Visual Concepts director of development Jeff Thomas says the studio is aware of the issues and is working overtime to address them.
Multiplayer has never been a strength of the series, but this year a weak spot was made even weaker when the game released with broken matchmaking, frequent lag, game crashes, and the removal of My Crew mode, a shallow but popular offering that allowed users to take their My Player creations online in virtual pickup games. What made these problems even more frustrating for fans was the lack of communication coming from Visual Concepts, who has taken over a month to publicly address the litany of complaints.
"We're not ignoring this," Thomas told Kotaku. "We are listening. We are
reaching out. We've had guys on the team send [direct messages] to
people asking 'Hey, can you tell me what you saw there.' We want to know
of all these problems and make sure this is not something that
tarnishes our game."
The problems arose out of changes to the online infrastructure, a relic system the studio has used going all the way back to NFL 2K1, the first sports title to offer online multiplayer. "Going into NBA 2K12 the code was still the same code from the modem days of the Dreamcast," Thomas admitted.
For NBA 2K12, they completely rewrote the codebase. Because of this dramatic undertaking, Thomas said the team had no choice but to shelve My Crew for the year. Given the short development cycle of sports games, Visual Concepts didn't have the luxury of a public beta to stress test the new infrastructure and find the other problems.
Thomas says more patches are coming in the a few weeks to address the issues.
"This is our future," he said. "We know that gaming is going in that
direction. You want to be able to get things right out of the box, but
we didn't. We've had some problems, but what you want in that case is to
be able to solve the problems and they're gone forever."
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