Tuesday, April 17, 2007

All-Pro Football 2K8

I've seen the full All-Pro Football 2K8 interview (thanks Steve).

If you haven't heard about this, there's a four page article in the May issue of Game Informer magazine with Jeff (VP of sports development) and Greg Thomas (president) of Visual Concepts.

To begin with, lower your expectations. The amount of useful information in four pages is incredibly minute. Here's an example of the information-packed quotes:
"It's all about the game of football."

Thanks for clearing that up.

Here are a few more excerpts:
2K8 aims to take the ultimate team sport and turn its focus onto the individual players. This is done by highlighting the skill among players and translating that onto the field.

Oh wait, that's just marketing gobbledygook, really. Let's try another one:
Gamers will build their team from a pool of players.

Um, okay. So it sounds like a fantasy draft is part of the initial setup.

Here's another good one:
By making the player aware of the prowess of individual football players and the strategies behind utilizing them, the game actually makes its teams stronger than they might have been if they had been ruled by the NFL license. Because the team isn't bound by trying to recreate how the Patriots play (which games rarely do right) or whether the third-string linebacker has an acceleration rating of 75 or 70, it lets you create and exploit the differences among teams.

What the hell does that paragraph mean? I was laughing so hard by the end of it that I thought I was reading OXM.

Here's where it starts to get ugly.
Although the developer wouldn't go into detail about the game's league structure, we know that there won't be a franchise mode.

Oh, well done. Here's when not having an NFL license hurts a football game the most: in the first season. After that, whether you have a license or not, created players start entering the league. After fifteen years in a Franchise, having or not having a license is totally meaningless. So what a great design decision to focus on that first season only.

Good grief. That is crap design. What a horrible, totally illogical decision.

There's also sort of a fuzzy comment about customization:
...although the game will feature a number of customization features for your team, including options beyond the standard package for online play, you won't be able to recreate NFL teams or players.

The obvious question is does that mean you won't be able to edit player names and ratings, but of course that question isn't asked. Here's what Jeff had to say about that:
There's going to be a backlash, I know that. And you know what? Play the game and shut up."

Uh-oh. Looks like somebody forgot the cardinal rule of being interviewed: don't be a dickhead.

So are there any advantages to NOT having an NFL license?
In tandem with the game's refined animation system, injuries will now occur in real-time...This included major concussions produced after particularly jarring blows, and being able to throw a late hit."

"Throw" a late hit? Is that like throwing a discus?

The article specifically says "this is not NFL Blitz," but "major" concussions and late hits aren't really features that make me want to spend $59.95. Neither does this:
Another area the game can expand on is the actual on-field speech that goes on during a game, whether that's trash talking between players or dialogue between a coach and a QB.

So there you go. Pretty damned disappointing, at least for now.

I haven't given up hope, certainly, and the fictional stadiums look very cool in the screenshots that accompany the article, but it's hard to have faith in a game where people were apparently high when they decided the feature set.

I just want to know if either of the Thomas brothers designed the menu system used in the NBA and College Hoops series.

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