EA Sports’ NCAA Football franchise ended after the release of NCAA Football 14, but it wasn’t supposed to end there. Game design documents from EA were recently sent to Polygon, who outlined the company’s plans for a new game in the wake of the lawsuit against the NCAA and EA. Here’s everything we now know about the would-be successor to NCAA Football 14.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL 15
A person familiar with the NCAA Football series sent a design document to Polygon detailing the plans for future college football games. Since EA’s licensing model was falling apart thanks to the Ed O’Bannon case, Electronic Arts refocused the series around more user customization and content.
The game, which was set to be titled EA Sports College Football 15, was set to expand on the popular web-based TeamBuilder application, giving users more control than ever before when customizing their teams. Per Polygon, “It proposes a suite of player and coach customizations deeper than any seen in an EA Sports title, and it resembles the kind of user-generated content model that has distinguished the WWE 2K and Pro Evolution Soccer franchises. It also sets forth a live-service vision that is today common to the sports video game genre.”
With how quickly the NCAA Football series was derailed, most logical fans of the game knew it would take quite a while to rebuild the licensing agreements necessary to bring gamers a title they could fully enjoy. After the NCAA ruled earlier this week that they would begin allowing student-athletes to profit off their name and likeness, sports gamers began desperately hoping a new NCAA Football title will arrive soon.
EA’s plans for College Football 15 seem eerily similar to new features that were incorporated into Madden 20. For example, when customizing players in College Football 15, users would pick from all standard football positions, including an extra “iron man” position that allowed players to play both offense and defense.
Next, players would need to progress through different specialties based on their position. This is not unlike player archetypes in Madden 20 (e.g., elusive running back, blocking tight end, hybrid safety). Progressing a player through their specialty ‘tree’ could eventually earn them special animations and skills, similar to abilities in Madden.
“Depending on what position the player is, he will be able to unlock better versions of the abilities he can already do on the field, and new ones,” the document says. “Each Ability will have multiple levels, and each new level has a better animation than the previous skill level.”
One of the biggest sticking points of the lawsuit against EA and the NCAA was roster sharing. In NCAA Football 14, users were able to customize and share complete roster files that were able to be used online. EA’s stock rosters were already too similar to real life players, and roster sharing removed all doubt that players’ likenesses were being used illegally. In College Football 15, complete roster files were nowhere to be found. Instead, players would need to be downloaded individually to fill a team.
So, how would EA continue to earn millions from microtransactions? According to Polygon, “A virtual Uniform Store was planned, where players could search for other user creations or buy ones created by EA staff. These would have been categorized by featured, sponsored, top-rated, and the like, all surfacing the content users needed to rebuild a college football game for themselves.”
With endless customization comes a massive revenue stream for EA. With a marketplace similar to the ones seen today in FIFA and Madden, players would certainly have shelled out big money for exclusive jerseys and other customizations for their teams.
While fans never had the chance to play College Football 15, it is encouraging to see that EA wanted to continue the series after they ran into trouble and lost their agreement with the NCAA. Only time will tell how long EA will take to produce a new college football game.
You can read Polygon’s article in its entirety here.
What do you think of this news? Was NCAA Football on the right path? Do you want the same features in a new NCAA Football game, or should developers start from scratch? Let us know in the comment section below, and don’t forget to subscribe to SGO.
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