Thursday, July 29, 2010


EA has acknowledged the issues with progression in NCAA 10. From the EA NCAA 11 Blog  (excerpted):
I'm happy to report that a title update is coming soon. Look for this in about two-to-three weeks or so (currently estimating mid-August)...


Some of you may wonder, and rightfully so, "how did they miss that bug?!!" The same thing goes on here at the studio, "HOW DID WE MISS THAT BUG!!" usually with some colorful expletives thrown in for good measure.

But why does this happen? To start with, software development is a complex science and this is why nearly every game and software company on the planet is continually challenged and often frustrated in the pursuit of software perfection...

Now let's consider video games. Sports games are some of the most complex video games in existence today, and I'd argue that the logic and sophistication of football rivals them all. The real-world game of college football is complicated enough with its massive and constantly evolving rulebook, schedules, and even conference realignments. Now try to imagine the complexity of a video game in full HD running at 60 frames-per-second while attempting to mimic not only visual photorealism in 5.1 stereo but believable simulated behavior of 22 individual players, refs, coaching staff, broadcasters, and fans. And now connect that same experience to hundreds of thousands of players through a broad array of servers and databases across the country all in real-time over a far-less-than-perfect Internet...To give you some perspective, the NCAA Football 11 codebase contains more than 10 million lines of source code and script combined with over 350 gigabytes of graphics, sound, and data files.

Over the past year we logged tens-of-thousands of hours of QA on the game in addition to tens-of-thousands of hours more in scripted game testing through networks of automated game consoles here at the studio...

This isn't an excuse for not getting things right the first time, but I did want to provide some context...

Now, before I have an absolute and complete meltdown here, let me mention the positives. NCAA is vastly improved this year, it's clearly going in the right direction, and it appears that the progression problem is going to be fixed. I like this game--a lot--and if the problems are fixed (and they appear to be eminently fixable), then this could be the best NCAA game the franchise has ever produced.

Also, before the meltdown, let me just mention that the person who made the post I excerpted is probably a nice guy. Please note that this is in no way directed at him.

Having said that, let me be clear: this is complete bullshit.

If it was a game from one-man development "team", and it cost $10, then "games are hard" is an excuse which can garner a significant amount of sympathy. But you can't charge $60 for a game, gross $25 million in the first week after release, and then trot someone out there to be Skippie the paper boy.

This isn't the neighborhood kid who peed his pants at the talent contest and you feel sorry for him. This is a mega-corporation that had net revenue of almost four billion dollars last year. "Games are hard" not only isn't an excuse, it's an insult to our intelligence.

Anyone with a pulse who was also conscious would have seen that Dynasty progression issue if they simmed more than even a few seasons. So there are only three possibilities here: either no one on the development/QA team ever simmed multiple seasons (incredible, with the 10K+ man hours they spent on QA), they did sim multiple seasons and (more incredibly) didn't notice, or they did notice and shipped the product anyway (is there a bigger version of incredible to use here?).

None of those three possibilities are flattering.

Seriously, EA, just fix the damn game. We're not going to feel sorry for you.

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