It’s no secret that since 2005, Madden NFL has been the juggernaut of the football video game universe.

The developers at Tiburon have constantly made sure that Madden is head-and-shoulders above the competition each year. But, that happens when you have the exclusive license to the biggest football league in the world, the National Football League (NFL).

Although it’s the largest name out there when it comes to football offerings, Madden NFL isn’t the only one to play. There are plenty of other games either out now or soon to be released that could be the alternative to the Madden franchise than fans crave.

But what are they? Take a look.

Joe Montana Football

Let’s start with a game that’s still a bit shrouded in mystery. Joe Montana Football was announced nearly two years ago, and while many expected to see it sometime in 2016, it still has yet to be released.

This game was set to be a mobile title, but it appears to have shifted towards virtual reality during development. Montana 17 will launch initially for Google Daydream and Samsung Gear.

Though the game doesn’t have an official NFL license, it is the first VR title to be licensed by the NFLPA, meaning players like Tom Brady and Antonio Brown will make an appearance in the game, along with many others.

As far as for the Unreal Engine-built game, that appears to be halted in favor of this newer version of the game. In terms of gameplay, it’s been revealed that Montana 17 will feature only passing plays in seven-on-seven action. More details as well as a release date are expected in the near future.

Canadian Football 2017

Canadian Football comes to Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC this June, and will, as the title suggests, feature the full Canadian football rule book.

The game won’t feature an official Canadian Football League license, but will come with nine generically created teams to utilize. For fans that would want to create the real teams of the CFL, only the PC version of the game will offer that option. Those on PS4 and Xbox One will find themselves out of luck.

The game will feature mechanics such as bullet and lob passes being thrown by how long you press the designated receiver button. Jukes, jumps and dives will be a key aspect of gameplay; there will be a fatigue meter will drain the more exhausted a player becomes, resulting in slower running speed and fumbles.

Football History

Football History is a game that will feature custom leagues that follow the rules of the NFL, CFL and Indoor Football.

Developer Cal Anderson’s goal is to let players enjoy a football experience in any way they prefer. From player-created teams and players to a variety of in-game leagues, Football History aims to leave no stone unturned for fans. They even recently announced a licensing deal with the classic teams from the Southwestern Athletic Conference including Alcorn State, Grambling State, and Southern University, among others.

The game is being developed — much like the rest of these titles — by a small independent team that is passionate about what they’re creating. The player models look good, and can be put on par with the models of any other offering in this list. However, there hasn’t been any gameplay recently since the rebuild of the game began in 2016.

The reason for the rebuild was because of the reaction of fans when Anderson released the first look of gameplay nearly two years ago. He told Sports Gamers Online that they rushed out gameplay the first time around, and learned from the feedback to not release more until they’re happy with what’s been developed. After all, titles like these don’t have the million-dollar budgets and the benefit of motion capture.

Right now, the most we have are some player models as well as a look at what some of the stadiums and arenas look like in game. However, new gameplay is expected to come in the very near future

The aim is for a late 2017/early 2018 release on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Axis Football 17

The team at Axis Games has seen their Axis Football series become more and more popular over the last couple of years, and they know that the time has come to really make a move towards being a true option for hardcore football fans everywhere in the gaming market.

Axis Football 17 includes brand new player models, improved audio featuring the voice of the NFL 2k series, and a brand new fully-featured team editor.

Speaking of new player models, the team at Axis Games utilized outside help to design a player model that everyone working on the game could be proud of. From the look of the uniforms on the body to how the fingers move with the ball, the final design wasn’t decided on until everything felt right for the team.

The game has grown from a small flash game played in browsers to becoming a full football game that fans can play any way they want.

“At the heart of Axis Games, there is a team that genuinely wants to create the greatest football game ever,” Assistant Producer James Richards explained. “I want a game that’s so deep, so real and so close structurally to the real thing that you fall in love with it.

Want to create a college game? Axis Football 17 will allow it. What about a custom league with your own cities and logos? Axis Football 17 will allow it.

Axis Football 17 launches on Steam this summer.

Mutant Football League

If you’re looking for a simulation experience, then you may want to look elsewhere. However, if you are looking for a fun, fast-paced football game then Mutant Football League may be exactly what you need.

Mutant Football League will feature over a dozen teams, multiple stadiums, a 13-game season, a playoff mode, a half-time mini game, online multiplayer and more. With teams like the Nuked London Hatriots and the Deadlanta Vultures, the MFL parodies the NFL in a way that feels fresh and fun.

With legendary voice Tim Kitzrow calling the action, fans can play as great MFL legends like The Shermanator, Hambonio Crown and Wham Neutron, among others. The game makes no bones about being a fun arcade experience on the field with the various traps, dirty tricks and the death of players on the field.

Even the game’s developers warn of what can happen on the field at any time.

“Watch out for lightning strikes, acid rain, blizzards, and the occasional meteor shower,” the game’s website reads. “No two fields are the same, and they’re all deadly!”

That being said, there’s enough aspects of “real football” in MFL that should have sim fans coming back for more as well. But watch out for 15-yard penalties for selling bootleg Phish albums!

The game is expected to launch in October for PC via Steam with a console launch coming around Super Bowl 52 in 2018.


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Michael Straw
Michael Straw is a gamer who just happens to be an experienced journalist. In his near decade-long career, Mike has traveled across the United States to cover some of the biggest events in gaming and sports, including E3, PAX, as well as the NFL and NHL Drafts. His work covering gaming and sports led his content being featured on Fox Sports 1, SI.com and others. He was once the second-ranked player in the world in NHL 09 on Xbox Live, and is a huge pro wrestling junkie.