WNBA teams and players are coming to a major video game for the first time ever


EA Sports might not own the top basketball video game franchise on the market at the moment, but it took a big step ahead of its main competitor in one area on Thursday when it announced that it is “putting up a W in NBA Live 18.”

That’s right, the WNBA is coming to “NBA Live 18,” which launches this fall. It’s the first time that the league’s teams and players will be featured in a video game in full.

According to EA’s press release, “The WNBA will be available in WNBA Play Now, and teams and player skills have been specifically balanced to reflect the unique playstyle of the league and skills of its players.”

Users will be able to play with the WNBA teams in both online and offline head-to-head modes. According to Polygon, they will be available from a WNBA Play Now menu, but can’t be matched up with NBA teams, and can’t be taken into career mode.

Here’s a brief look at WNBA gameplay:

EA made a point to note that WNBA teams and players will only be available in “NBA Live 18,” meaning they won’t also feature in 2K Sports’ “NBA 2K18,” the more popular of the two major basketball video game franchises.

EA Sports also recently brought women’s teams to its soccer franchise, including the world’s top female national teams for the first time in “FIFA 16.” They were also available in “FIFA 17.” Like with the WNBA teams in NBA Live, users have not been able to pit male teams against female teams.

NBA Live senior producer Mike Mahar also told Polygon that WNBA All-Star rosters will be available for use in head-to-head games.

Here’s more behind-the-scenes info from EA on the incorporation of WNBA players:

In order to incorporate the league’s teams and players, the NBA LIVE 18 team conducted head scans of star athletes like Maya Moore, Brittney Griner, Diana Taurasi, Tina Charles, Sylvia Fowles, Alisha Gray, Chelsea Gray, Jonquel Jones, and Alyssa Thomas, and held motion capture sessions with 2017 WNBA Draft first overall pick, Kelsey Plum, among others. Additionally, game creators fine-tuned player ratings and skill moves in order to present the league and its stars in the most authentic way possible.

In EA’s press release, NBA Live executive producer Sean O’Brien said that “the WNBA is home to some of the most incredible athletes on the planet, and we’ve been working hard to integrate them into our game in an authentic and meaningful way. This is only a taste of what we have in store, and look forward to working with the league on more great integrations in the franchise in the future.”