Tuesday, June 20, 2006

EA Makes a Good Decision

Okay, I give EA all kinds of grief for the mistakes they make with their sports franchises, mostly because it's painfully obvious what they're doing wrong. So I will give them credit when they correct a mistake.

At E3, they announced that the 360 version of Madden this year would not have Superstar mode.

So what, right? I mean, Superstar mode was the single biggest piece of crap in a sports game last year. So why should we care?

Well, two reasons. The first is that there was absolutely no excuse for EA to release a 360 version this year that was missing a major feature, particularly after the crippleware they released last year at launch. It was another clear example of how they are totally brain dead at the top of the sports division.

The second reason we should care is that they actually used some common sense this year. Playing in Superstar mode was actually going to involve just controlling your player at his position. That's how it's supposed to work, and it means that the mode could actually be interesting this year. And fun.

So here's the good news: EA announced that Superstar mode WILL be in the 360 version this year. And here's a description from IGN:
The goal of the 07 mode is to create your own player, then only play as that player from his position-specific camera angles throughout his career (you can play any position except kicker or punter in next-gen), eventually trying to earn enough stats and influence in the league to be named to the Hall of Fame. So if you create a wide receiver, you actually only play as the receiver, complete with a different camera angle showcasing your player, with special moves tied to the right analog stick for every position. That means you don't call the play (you're not the coach). You don't throw the ball (you're not the QB). And you don't play defense (you simply watch the game and cheer for the D to play strong). For those gamers who don't want to watch the defense, you do have the option to take over the D and play that side of the ball like a normal game, but if you decide to watch, the gameplay is sped up so you don't have to sit and wait too long.

You know what? That's EXACTLY how it should be designed. If you want to just watch when your player isn't in the game, you can, but you don't have to. I can be a wide receiver or an offensive tackle or a middle linebacker. I've said this until I'm blue in the face: don't tell us how to experience the game. Give us the options to do it the way we prefer. And to their credit, that's what EA appears to be doing.

Even better, the 360 version of Superstar mode isn't going to have the idiotic movie scripts. Hey, it almost sounds like they're trying to create a new mode of play for a football game that actually revolves around football. What were the odds of that happening?

No, Owner mode isn't going to be in the 360 version. I'm going to count that as a blessing, though, because owner mode is crap. Setting the price of hot dogs is never going to be as interesting as anything that's happening on the field, and the focus of the game should be on the field.

Here's a link to the IGN article: 360 Madden.

It should give you an idea of how internally disconnected EA was from reality if you realize that until now, BOTH Owner mode and Superstar mode were going to be missing from the 360 version. It was basically going to be Crippleware Part II. So this is at least a step in the right direction.

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