Originally, NBA Ballers was expected to come out last year shortly after it was showcased at E3 2003. What areas were addressed and refined during that time?
John Vignocchi: We spent a lot of time polishing the presentation of the game - From the end round sequences to the Rags 2 Riches cut scenes, even going as far as totally overhauling the entire UI with six months left in the project, we changed a lot to really polish the sucker. Everyone could feel that the game was "getting there" but it just needed that extra coat of polish to really make it stand out from the crowd and be a great game.
Do you consider NBA Ballers to be one of Midway’s most ambitious titles released this year, and is it safe to assume a sequel might be developed in the near future?
John Vignocchi: NBA Ballers is simply one of the many ambitious titles that Midway has released lately. Games like Psi-Ops, Area 51 and Mortal Kombat: Deception are all ambitious titles that raise the bar in their own respective genres. Midway has turned the corner and has committed to only publishing quality, triple A+ titles - If that means incurring additional costs for more development time or throwing in more man power to finish up a project then they’ll do it, and games like NBA Ballers and Psi-Ops are testaments to this new regime.
Midway is aiming for the top and if you ask me, that’s where we’re headed!
A sequel? To NBA Ballers? Hmm...I’ll give you one of those vague chick answers and say "well, err, uh, umm, maybe?"
Look at what we’ve sold and do the math.
Looking back on the game, if there’s one thing you could change -- what would that be?
John Vignocchi: I think I speak for the entire team when I say that if there was one thing we all wish could have changed it would have been the inclusion of Dogs as selectable sideline buddies. :)
We imagine after hours, you spend some time playing the game. Who’s your favorite player(s)?
John Vignocchi: I play NBA Ballers online all the time after hours. Vince Carter is by far my favorite Baller to use. He is a well rounded player and has most of the special abilities that I consider essential for making my opponent look like an idiot on the court.
Any plans to develop for Nintendo DS or Sony PSP?
John Vignocchi: I got kicked out of the Nintendo booth at E3 for drawing naughty pictures on the I-Pix demo kiosk (Who knew there were big screen TVs above our heads?) so I’m not 100% sure about that one. The Sony PSP sounds like an interesting idea... That is IF SONY EVER SENDS US DEV KITS!!!
Last question. Can gridiron fans expect to see something similar in the near future with NFL athletes?
John Vignocchi: Hmm...I’m not so sure about the NFL. You know they have been pretty tight assed after all those bored writers scrapping for content wrote that series of nasty articles on the "violence" (HA!) in NFL Blitz. NFL Blitz was about as violent as Looney Tunes if you ask me.
I think the boys over on the Blitz team might have a different card up their sleeve so why don’t you ask them? I’d hate to say something and have ‘em unleash on my ass!