The only real wrinkle in the control, especially if you have history with Jam, is that you do have to move the Wii Remote to shoot the ball -- but only as a quick jerk, and not as anything halfway realistic. It did take me a try or two to get used to -- not so much because of it being a "Wii thing," but more because it's not what I expected right off the bat; my indelible memories of Jam had me feeling around for a button that wasn't there, but by the next turnover, it was well understood. I'm just thankful there's no overhead free-throw motion like in Wii Sports Resort.
So, shake the Remote to shoot the ball. In the classic games, you would hold down the shot button to do a jump shot, and let go of the button to release the ball. I wonder how that will work with a simple waggle. Perhaps there's a separate button for jumping?
Either way, I'm guessing the controls weren't created with Motion Plus in mind.
EDIT: Clearly an NDA expired recently. Here are a ton of more impressions and articles. I'll sum up:
According to Kotaku, the game first started off as "NBA Kids." Later, it was redeveloped as a game called "Bounce." (Here's a screenshot from an early prototype.) The developers decided that the game would be compared to NBA Jam anyway, so they decided to make it so, and set out to obtain the Jam license.
MTV Multiplayer revealed that Larry Bird and Magic Johnson are in the game, and will be used as bosses. Along that line, creative director Trey Smith explains the new "Remix Tour" as what NBA Jam would be like "if Nintendo designed it." (Further impressions from Multiplayer.)
Destructoid mentions that online multiplayer is not confirmed, but not ruled out, either.
According to Joystiq, the you flick the Remote up to initiate a shot, flick it back down to let it go.
Here's an interesting article from MTV Multiplayer explaining how digitized player heads is better than in-game polygonal models.
While ridiculous, the 2-D head technique also offers something that no sports game has ever managed to offer: Every one of the players in the game will be instantly recognizable. No matter how much game publishers claim ultra realistic-looking players, they'll never be perfect. The task of creating hundreds of recognizable, 3-D faces is simply too much to ask, so developers often place most of the design focus the all-stars, leaving players like Beno Udrih out in the cold:
With the new "NBA Jam" though, this will never happen. A photo of someone's face is always going to look like that person. Incredibly the developers at EA Sports have managed to defeat the uncanny valley by taking the path of least resistance, and the end result is pitch perfect for the franchise.
. . . In recent years there's been a throwback trend in the gaming industry (8-bit reboots of "Mega Man" and indie games like "Star Guard" are an example of this), but I don't think anyone ever expected throwback graphics to offer more recognizable characters than their ultra-modern 3-D cousins. I suppose everything old is new again.
Also, here is a GamePro video interview with Trey Smith. It's interesting, because in a lot of developer interviews, I get a sense of false enthusiasm. Not that they aren't excited about their own game, but they seem to be putting up a front to seem more excited than they are. In this interview, however, I feel that Smith is genuinely excited to be working on an NBA Jam game.
What's the rumor we hear about NBA Jam being haunted? We had already finished making NBA Jam when Drazen Petrovic died. The game had already shipped and he was on the Nets. So we had all of these coin-op machines around, and one night we were playing Mortal Kombat and there was a Jam machine next to it, and all of a sudden the game started calling out "Petrovic!" "Petrovic!" And this only happened after Petrovic had died. Everyone started freaking out. Something weird was going on with the software, and to this day, if you have an original NBA Jam machine every once in a while it will just yell out "Petrovic!" It's wild.
- It will have a ton of "cheats", just like the old games, with a lot of stuff being unlocked by completing "Jam Challenges."
- The Remix Tour took one play tester 35 hours to play thru.
- Trey Smith on the new boss battles:
They're developing into something that's bigger than we ever thought [they would be]. I can't go into specifics but I think we're really going to surprise people with some big moments. It does hark back to the old classic videogame boss battle where you play 'em and they just seem like titans and unbeatable, and then the more you start to recognise patterns, you find that weakness - that Achilles heel - and you exploit that weakness to beat them and there's that 'aha! That's how I do it!' [moment].
I think the closest thing, in a sports game, that comes close to what we're playing with is really a Punch-Out!! kind of scenario, and in an arcade basketball game that's something we're pretty excited about. It was something we threw out early on as an idea, and the more and more it's developed and the more and more depth that we've got in the experience, I think it's going to be a really compelling thing.
- Getting celebrities, etc, in the game is difficult because of the legalities.
- It sounds like many classic NBA players from the old NBA Jam will be back.
- Mark Turmell pushed them to make the game run at 60 frames/sec.
- It may be ported to other consoles later, but they're focusing on the Wii version for now.
- They may yet still add online play, but only if they're able to do it right. (Trey Smith: "We're not going to put something out there that's half-ass.")