Breanna Stewart can now compete against other WNBA players in a video game.
NBA Live 18 is adding women’s basketball players to the popular game this fall. It’s the first time players on all 12 WNBA teams will be featured.
“It really is cool. For me, I played video games when I was younger, whether it was the NCAA basketball game or 2K,” Stewart said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. “To be in a video game, it’s humbling. You see men’s players all the time, but it’s good for women’s basketball to have us in there.”
Head scans of WNBA players were conducted over the past year. The developers held motion capture sessions with No. 1 draft pick Kelsey Plum of the San Antonio Stars and others. Veterans Candace Parker and Tina Charles are featured, along with stars Maya Moore, Brittney Griner and Elena Delle Donne.
The game’s creators fine-tuned player ratings and skill moves. There’s a WNBA play mode where video gamers can pit two WNBA teams against each other with authentic jerseys, rosters and courts.
Stewart hopes that her younger brother, who plays video games a lot, will pick her when he plays the game.
“I’m going to have to talk to him about this,” she said, laughing. “It’s the first question I’m going to ask him.”
The second might be her ranking. Always a bone of contention in other sports games, Stewart is confident EA Sports will get the rankings right.
“My rating is going to be important, I’m curious to see what it will be,” she said. “EA Sports will do me right.”
San Antonio guard Kayla McBride also hopes her rating is high. She considers herself a gamer, having played NBA Live and Madden Football against her brothers and cousins since she was young. She was pumped to be featured in a game now .
“My brother called me so excited this morning saying ‘you’re in a video game!'” McBride said. “We had so many battles when we were younger playing against each other and now we can take it to a whole new level.”
McBride said it will be fun to play as other teams in the league since “a true gamer can take anyone to the title.”
It’s not the first time EA Sports has added females to its games. FIFA2016 highlighted 12 women’s soccer national teams, including the U.S., to the game in 2015.
“It should have happened a while ago,” Stewart said. “They should have given video gamers the option.”
South Carolina star A’ja Wilson admits she isn’t really into video games. But she was glad to hear that WNBA players are included, and she may someday be featured the video game.
“That’s great, that’s something that’s very positive,” she said at USA Basketball Under-23 training camp in Colorado Springs, Colorado. “I definitely will be playing video games now. It’s great news and a good step.”
Wilson, a senior, will have to wait a year until she makes a WNBA roster. There isn’t a franchise option yet to create players.
“We are delighted to collaborate and make history with EA as NBA LIVE 18 becomes the first video game to feature the WNBA’s full roster of teams and players,” said WNBA president Lisa Borders. “With EA’s expertise and ingenuity, the game will provide a terrific platform to showcase the players and the league, enabling fans to experience the WNBA in a new, exciting way.”
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